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For the Love of Clowns

Hollywood has subverted the Clown Genre; they're actually very funny and great acts. Don't let Hollywood put you off!

By Rebecca SmithPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
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For the Love of Clowns
Photo by Sammy Xu on Unsplash

Clowns: the misunderstood performers of the Circus world. Clowns have been a staple of entertainment for centuries, bringing joy and laughter to audiences of all ages. With their colourful costumes, exaggerated makeup, and silly antics, clowns are often seen as the epitome of comedic performance.

But, let’s face it, Clowns have a tough gig. They spend hours perfecting their slapstick routines and honing their balloon animal skills, only to be met with screams of terror from young children and suspicious glares from adults. They’ve become the subject of fear and phobias for many people. The concept of the creepy clown has become a popular trope in horror movies and urban legends, with characters like Pennywise from Stephen King's "It" or Twisty from "American Horror Story" perpetuating the idea that clowns are something that is a source of entertainment.

But where did this fear of clowns come from? Some psychologists believe it stems from the uncanny valley effect, where something that is almost human but not quite triggers feelings of unease in us. Clowns with their exaggerated features and painted-on smiles can fall into this category, making them unsettling to some people. But fear not, for I am here to set the record straight on clowns. Yes, they may have a penchant for creeping up behind you in dark alleyways or hiding under your bed at night, but deep down, clowns are just misunderstood artists trying to make a living in a cruel world. Their sole purpose is to entertain and bring joy to others. They have a rich history dating back to humble beginnings in ancient civilizations like the Greeks and Romans who had jesters and fools as part of their entertainment traditions. In more recent times, clowns like Bozo, Ronald McDonald, and Krusty the Clown have become iconic figures in popular culture.

In their early days, clowns were revered as sacred figures who brought joy and laughter to the masses through their comedic performances. Dressed in elaborate costumes and masks, these early clowns would perform skits and dances that entertained crowds for hours on end. As time went on, clowns evolved into more recognizable forms in medieval Europe. Jesters became popular entertainers at royal courts, using wit and humour to mock nobility and entertain common folk alike. These jesters wore brightly coloured clothing adorned with bells and performed acrobatic feats that left audiences gasping in awe. Fast forward to the 20th century, and clowns had become synonymous with circuses thanks to pioneers such as Emmett Kelly and Bozo the Clown. These larger-than-life characters captivated audiences with their outrageous antics and slapstick humour, paving the way for future generations of clowns to follow in their footsteps.

Like most things, because they had popularity in mainstream culture, people decided to subvert the comedy genre that clowns had, and turn it dark. From Stephen King's iconic novel "It" to John Wayne Gacy's chilling alter ego as Pogo the Clown, pop culture has not been kind to these lovable jesters. And let's not forget about coulrophobia – the irrational fear of clowns that plagues millions of people around the world. Whether it's due to their garish makeup or unpredictable behaviours, many individuals find themselves breaking out in cold sweats at the mere sight of a clown.

By Jack O'Rourke on Unsplash

But fear not, not all clowns are out to get you. In fact, most clowns are harmless entertainers who just want to put smiles on faces (and maybe squirt you with a flower or two). Clowning is actually a skilled art form. It requires physical comedy - from mastering complex juggling routines to perfecting their balloon twisting skills, improvisation skills, and audience interaction. Many professional clowns undergo training at clown schools or workshops to hone their craft and develop their own unique style. They have to constantly push themselves beyond their own limits to bring joy to people. And let's not forget about the sacrifices they make for our entertainment – enduring endless hours of makeup application, braving sweltering heat under hot stage lights, and contorting their bodies into impossible positions all in the name of making us laugh.

Thankfully, despite the negative connotations associated with clowns in modern media, there are still plenty of people who find joy in watching a clown perform. Whether it's at a circus, birthday party, or street performance, clowns continue to make us laugh and remind us of the simple pleasures in life.

Let’s not forget a few funny moments in Clown History:

1) The time Bozo slipped on a banana peel during his grand entrance at Madison Square Garden – talk about bad timing!

2) When Emmett Kelly accidentally set fire to his oversized pants while juggling flaming torches – luckily, he had a spare pair backstage!

3) How Ronald McDonald once got stuck inside a giant hamburger costume during a promotional event – now that's what I call fast food!

4) The day Pennywise tried his hand at stand-up comedy but ended up scaring off half the audience – looks like he should stick to haunting sewers instead!

5) And who could forget when Krusty the Clown accidentally locked himself inside his own dressing room before a live TV broadcast – oops!

Okay, so whilst these may not be true to real life (well, not completely, anyway), they just go to show the hilarity of clowns and how they are not something to be feared.

I grew up going to Blackpool Tower Circus every year (I still go now!), and I absolutely love Mooky the Clown. He is my favourite clown. Even my Mum, who was petrified of clowns, loved Mooky. He mixes comedy and skill perfectly. I actually think that he’s a great clown to see first, to try and over-come your fear. He’ll turn those palpitations into belly laughter in no time at all!

Mooky the Clown at Blackpool Tower Circus

So really, what I’m trying to say, is that Clowns are great. They are hard workers, talented beyond belief and pretty nice people. So, next time you see a clown walking down the street or performing at a birthday party, give them a chance – you might just find yourself laughing along with them.

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About the Creator

Rebecca Smith

She/Her

Just be f*cking nice 🙌

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