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‘Clown’ to bring humor to space station

By The Associated Press Published: September 18, 2009
STAR CITY, Russia — The man who plans on being "the first clown in space” said Thursday he’s got some surprises planned for the crew of the international space station.

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte said he plans to tickle the professional astronauts while they’re sleeping, and he’s also bringing red clown noses to try to lighten things up on the orbiting station.

"I’m a person with a pretty high spirit, who’s there to crack jokes and make jokes to those guys, and while they’re sleeping, you know, I’ll be tickling them,” Laliberte said.

The 50-year-old Canadian creator of the famed circus troupe is paying $35 million to blast off Sept. 30 on a Russian spacecraft.

Laliberte hopes his 12-day stay aboard the station will help raise awareness of drinking water problems around the world when he hosts the first multimedia event from the station to highlight that crisis.

On a lighter note, he pulled out a handful of red clown noses from his pocket that he plans to give to the station crew.

"This is the symbol of my mission, but it will also remind me that I should never forget I was once a kid,” said Laliberte, a former tightrope walker and fire-eater.