How The Dude Who Played Barney The Dinosaur Handled Bathroom Breaks

barney the dinosaur

One of the most unforgettable children's TV shows of all time has to be Barney and Friends, if only because the theme song will get stuck in the head of any who has ever heard it. Barney was a pivotal TV figure in many kids' childhoods, and a lot of his success can be attributed to the man who wore the suit. After all, what would Barney have been without his lumbering dino dance moves? David Joyner wore the big purple suit for more than a decade, and he has now revealed the answer to an immortal Barney and Friends question: how did bathroom breaks work? Joyner had this to say:

It was pretty easy to get out. There were a few times when getting out to use the restroom was not an option. There was one occasion during the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans when I was on the float and I need to go really bad. The costume wrangler pushed a Gatorade bottle up the crouch (sic) opening of the costume and I had to aim, use, put on the lid, hand it back to her, all while waving and dancing on the float. That was a pretty cool thing to do. Very impressive I must say. LOL

David Joyner answered the immortal bathroom break question as part of a Reddit AMA, and I have to say... well, ew. I probably could have gone my entire life not knowing that a costume wrangler had to handle a Gatorade bottle of bodily fluids in the middle of a happy parade. Still, kudos to both Joyner and the unnamed costume wrangler for thinking on their feet. It's not like they could have taken a time out from the parade to hit up a bathroom.

It's good to know that there's a crotch opening in the Barney costume. I shudder to think what they might have had to do during that parade if there wasn't a handy opening at the right level. Evidently, the costume was pretty easy to get in and out of, and it had a crotch opening. Who knew?

As it happens, David Joyner also played the title character in the series Hip Hop Harry, and he has shared the real difficulties with acting while wearing giant animal suits:

It takes about 10 mins to get into the Barney suit. It takes about 30 mins to get into Hip Hop Harry. Once in, I can stay in for about 4 hrs or more. Depending on the situations. Sight is the biggest complication. I see out of the mouth and when the mouth is closed, I see nothing. When I am moving the mouth, it's like having a strob light. So I would practice being blind. To feel the energy around me.

Looking back, all those lumbering dance moves and games seem all the more impressive knowing that the man beneath the suit couldn't actually see what was going on around him all the time. I definitely have to give him more credit than I would have before. I don't think I would have had it in me to play happy games with singing children if I was dealing with either total darkness or strobe lights. Who would have guessed that one of the hardest parts of playing Barney was simply not being able to see?

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, costume-related and otherwise. For a look at all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule and our summer TV premiere guide. If you're more in the mood for streaming, we have a handy list of 2017 Netflix premiere dates. For a look at all the TV renewals and cancellations, take a look at our rundown of all that have happened so far.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).