John Leguizamo says his one-man show "Ghetto Klown" takes its name from a comment Al Pacino (the "actor of all actors," Leguizamo calls him) made while the two were shooting "Carlito's Way" all those years ago.
"Take off the clown makeup and be yourself!" Pacino roared after a take. (Side note: Of all the Pacino imitations out there, Leguizamo's might be the best.)
Leguizamo's counter: He is a clown. That's his thing. And as Ol' Blue Eyes sang, they can't take that away, can they?
Leguizamo joined The Envelope for a live Web chat to talk about "Ghetto Klown," the celebrated autobiographical show that the 49-year-old actor has performed on Broadway, in theaters throughout the country and, most recently, as an HBO special.
"The goal was to create an opus magnum," Leguizamo says, "to go more raw, more honest, deeper and wilder than I'd ever done before. I tried to be as ruthless with myself in that as I could."
Leguizamo talked to us about catching Pacino during the great actor's brief less-is-more phase and shared what happens if you do a Web search for "Steven Seagal running like a girl."
He also spoke about the personal content of his one-man show, joking that there were a couple of different versions of "Ghetto Klown," the one his wife saw and the one everyone else knows. (We think he was joking, but he did get up to shut the door to his office during our chat, so perhaps there's a kernel of truth to what he's saying.)
And he shared one bonus fact: Kids and sloths do not mix. Listen in to find out why!