The Truth About The Man Who Played Barney's Other Jobs

"I love you, you love me / we love tantric energy ..." 

No, this isn't a dubiously reputable remix of Barney the Dinosaur's Theme Song from a non-G-rated website. But if we look at the man inside the Barney costume, well ... these lyrics may in fact prove a lot more accurate than the original '90s song. While voice actor Bob West lent his vocal chords to the beloved, toothless t-rex who definitely hugged a lot of kids, the cosplayer inside the foam was none other than David Joyner, a man with a list of credentials that either makes him the worst's most interesting man, or the world's best cautionary tale about overly diversified resumes.

A quick hop over to IMDB reveals that Joyner has been popping up like an unwhacked whack-a-mole mole on TV show after show. After his 10-year stint as the purple dinosaur from 1991-2001, he appeared somewhat recently on Veep, Shameless, and Southland, preceded by That 70's Show, 24, ER and House in the mid-2000s. There's even a Joyner-made compilation on YouTube showcasing his appearances. Before Barney, however, Joyner worked for 6 years, from 1984-1990, at Texas Instruments in Dallas, fixing military circuit boards after graduating from ITT Technical Institute with a degree in Electronic Engineering Technology, per TrainWreck'dSociety

This was only a side detour, however, from his true desire: to be an entertainer. 

Joyner the circuit-fixing, hip-hop dancing mannequin

Before working for Texas Instruments, Joyner worked as a human mannequin, paid to stand in store windows in 1982. He told Rolling Stone, "I would move mechanically. And people would literally bring their children, set them on the mall floor, and go shop." It was this job as "The Mannequin Man" that would presage his future career choices as an entertainer, especially for children, much like his decision to become a licensed massage therapist in his 20s. (Remember the whole tantra thing? We'll get back to that.)

Growing up, Joyner had a lot of artistic and musical interests, but his parents thought he was crazy for quitting his job at Texas Instruments after getting a fax from the casting director to play Barney, per Herald & Review. Joyner made it work, though, and he says he got the gig as Barney after having a dream the night before his audition where he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to his future, purple dinoself. 

Barney's suit was basically a 70-pound, 120-degree mobile sweat tent with a head that didn't swivel, and no visibility except through Barney's open mouth. So, it makes sense that Joyner's next job, when working on various TV shows, was the less-physically restricted, live-action kid's character Hip-Hop Harry, seen on YouTube doing dance circles. Joyner said, "Where Barney was happy and bouncy and jovial, Harry has more swagger to his walk; he actually has a little bit of street to him."

Joyner the mystical sexual energy healer

This brings us to Joyner's somewhat discomforting present. He was always into mystical stuff, and said of his time as Barney, "Children are more spiritually connected than adults, so I knew if I was going to be apart of this Special Purple Character, I knew I was going to have to connect with children on a higher spiritual level." He also claims that his time as the big purple kid-lover was ideal for his love life, saying on Pens and Patrons, "You'd be surprised how well that works ... not that I would use it as a pick-up line ... I think it's something that has to do with women and their nurturing instinct."

And so, Joyner has found a way to fuse his jobs and predilections, and morph into his final form: tantric energy healer. Per Vice, he started his business in 2004, which, it turns out, is a rather unorthodox version of tantric massage that incorporates unprotected intercourse between Joyner and his clients, whom he tends to find on Tinder and recommends meet him in hotels, as described on his Tantra Harmony website. As Joyner says, "When the door opens, gaze into my eyes as I greet you, knowing that the experience you are about to receive will bring you to new levels of spiritual, emotional and physical awakening. It will be an experience you will not forget."

Definitely adds new dimensions to Barney's original "I Love You, You Love Me" mantra.