TODAY | March 20, 2014
>>> john leguizamo is known for taking on and creating all sorts of incredible characters.
>> for example, he's the voice behind the sloth in "ice age" and first big dramatic role in a movie about vietnam .
>> and now he's in a one-man role as character "ghetto clown."
>> "ghetto klown" is with a "k." why the "k"?
>> it goes back to not having money. i didn't even have real naek sneakers. i had to paint the lines on them so they looked like converse. i had to overcompensate by being the funny guy.
>> you had a math teacher who told you you ought to challenge those talents.
>> yeah, i owe everything to him. he'd say if they can make something out of moldy bread, they can make something out of you. and i went to this woman --
>> you called her tweety.
>> because she had three hairs on top of her head. "we're going to have to work on that horrible accent."
>> in the midst of the laughter last night, laughing in my home alone, you weave these emotional stor stories. you were talking about your dad when he came backstage to confront you and in the midst of the tears, you're laughing. is that what saved you?
>> when we moved into our neighborhood, we were the first latin family so we were like pioneers. i just had to be funny all the time. i had to make people laugh so i had enough time to run.
>> ray-ray became your best friend, the bully.
>> that was like my boy. he was like a pair for identification in -- he was like a paranoid in reverse. he always thought people were trying to do him good. he took me to the train and i did my first performance on the subway. i got arrested so my first bad review.
>> but you turned out okay.
>> you turned out quite all right.
>> great dad.
>> thank you.
>> a lot of people don't know this about you, don't remember this, but your first starring role in a film was actually a serious one, "casualties of war" with sean penn . i understand some of the scenes and he's a method actor , right?
>> he's the greatest actor of my generation. he is method. it was a vietnam movie and he really thought he was in vietnam . so he's got to slap me into submission and he was really pounding me, man. we had like 13 takes. i couldn't even talk. the lines are coming out like this. i'm like, serg. i can't do it. he's like do it, do it and i'm like cut, cut.
>> before we let you get away, natalie has been very excited about this. you guys are going to do a little dance, a little salsa?
>> this is your song.
>> okay. come on. here we go.
>> you guys join us.
>> no, no.
>> are we not doing a little salsa?
>> break it down.
>> you're doing this whole thing. it's like the chicken dance .
>> natalie, butt it out now.
>> oh, yeah, giddy-up, giddy-up. john leguizamo , thank you so much. "ghetto klown" on hbo.
>> what is that? all the news you need before you leave the house.
>> we'll be right back.
>> yeah! "stubborn love" by the lumineers did you get my email? i did. so what did you think of the