'Retiring has never entered my mind.' Robert Bruce, 81 is one of the world's oldest circus clowns.
'Retiring has never entered my mind.' Robert Bruce, 81 is one of the world's oldest circus clowns. Jann Houley

PODCAST: AT 81, Robert is one of the world's oldest clowns

AT 16, Robert Bruce jumped out of his bedroom window to join the circus.

He must've loved it because at 81, he is still entertaining families as one of the world's oldest circus clowns.

Just to add to his unique life, no one was more surprised than him when he found out he was going to be a father again at 73.

But like everything he does in life, Robert took on fatherhood in his seventies with positivity, fun and a youthful exuberance.

A Hollywood film is now being made about Robert's remarkable life.

LISTEN: Get the full Coffee Chat with Robert Bruce below.

Matt Collins:

81-years-of-age. You look about 51, can I say.

 

Robert Bruce:

Well that's a nice compliment. Yeah, still going good.

 

MC:

The oldest performing clown in Australia and quite possibly the world. But take me right back, when did you first get involved in the circus?

 

RB:

Oh god, now we are going back. The circus was in town, and I was out the window and gone. That was it.

 

MC:

You literally jumped out the window to join the circus?

 

RB:

Yeah, but I didn't have to. We had a good home and good security. We had a sea-side resort, but I don't know, something just kicked in and I couldn't see myself punching a clock for the rest of my life working nine-to-five.

 

MC:

When you first started as a 16-year-old in the circus did you see yourself doing it for the next 65 years?

 

RB:

Back then I did juggling, high perch, slack-wire, trapeze. In fact I only just retired from the trapeze about eight years ago. We just did all the acts.

 

MC:

At what age did you think, 'I'm never going to stop doing this clowning thing?'

 

RB:

That doesn't even come into it. While I'm still working out, I'm in good shape. I run, I run around the ring. Retiring has never entered my mind.

 

MC:

Have people come to you and said, 'hey have you thought about slowing down'?

 

RB:

No, not yet. A lot of people have come to me and said, 'hey, aren't you too old to have a son?' I had a son at 73.

 

MC:

Lets talk about that, having a child at 73. Did that make you the oldest father in Australia?

 

RB:

I think there is one guy older. I think by about a year. He's in Tasmania.

 

MC:

Was that a planned thing?

 

RB:

No, it was by accident. All my wife's friends said to her, 'wow, you're eating a lot of food, maybe you're pregnant,' and my wife said, 'no way.' They said, 'you'd better go and check.' Anyway, she called me from the doctor's office and said, 'we've got a baby on the way.' I just said, 'go for it.'

 

MC:

How did that change your life, being told you were going to become a father at 73?

 

RB:

I love it. He is great. He's a great kid, he's smart. He comes to the circus.

 

MC:

Does it help keep you young, do you think? Having an eight-year-old son?

 

RB:

Oh god yeah, and doing his homework. Sometimes I look at his homework and I can't even work it out. It blows my mind. Everything now is all about reading. I go to all the school meetings, and the major thing they tell the kids is learn to read. Maths comes after but they say teach the kids to read. Sit and read and tell stories to them.

 

MC:

What sort of goals do you have for your boy? Would you like him to following in your footsteps and join the circus?

 

RB:

No, I watch him very closely. He's only eight, so I look at him very seriously and I take an interest in what direction he is going to go in.

 

MC:

A 20-year-old father versus an 80-year-old father, what is the biggest difference between those two people?

 

RB:

I think as you get older you are much more wiser of the world and how the world is changing. I take much more interest now than I did with my other two boys, because I was always working.

 

MC:

A script has been written about your life. Who would you like to play you in the movie?

 

RB:

We are looking at Sir Anthony Hopkins.

LISTEN: Get the full Coffee Chat with Robert Bruce below.

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