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Encyclopedia > Clown
Jennifer Miller's Circus Amok

Clowns are comic performers, stereotypically characterized by their colored wigs, stylistic makeup, outlandish costumes, and unusually large footwear. Krumping is a relatively new form of dance within the urban and street dance movements, and is characterized by free, expressive and highly energetic moves. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1667x1293, 682 KB) Summary The author of this image is me, David Shankbone. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1667x1293, 682 KB) Summary The author of this image is me, David Shankbone. ... Jennifer Miller (1961-) is a US lesbian bearded woman, juggler, and fire-eater, and a professor for UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures. ... Circus Amok is a New York City-based circus and theater troupe that has produced a season of free outdoor performances every year since 1994. ... Make-up redirects here. ... Yarkand ladies summer fashions. ... High-heeled shoe Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet. ...

Clowning, in its most basic form, can be described as one form of drama without a fourth wall; however, there are other types of drama that are lacking the element of a fourth wall as well. In other words, a clown acknowledges his audience. The clown's humor today is often visual and includes many elements of physical comedy or slapstick humor. The fourth wall is the imaginary invisible wall at the front of the stage in a proscenium theater, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. ... Physical comedy is comedic performance relying mostly on the use of the body to convey humor. ... For other uses, see Slapstick (disambiguation). ...

Clowns spread in cultures of any time and place, because they meet some deeply rooted needs in humanity: violation of taboos, the mockery of sacred and profane authorities and symbols, reversal of language and action, and a ubiquitous obscenity.[1] An interesting example can be found in the Native American clown societies. This article is about cultural prohibitions in general, for other uses, see Taboo (disambiguation). ... SACRED SACRED was a Cubesat built by the Student Satellite Program of the University of Arizona. ... Profanity is a word choice or usage which many consider to be offensive. ... Obscenity in Latin obscenus, meaning foul, repulsive, detestable, (possibly derived from ob caenum, literally from filth). The term is most often used in a legal context to describe expressions (words, images, actions) that offend the prevalent sexual morality of the time. ... For other uses, see Native Americans (disambiguation). ...



A clown participating in a 2004 Memorial Day parade.
A clown participating in a 2004 Memorial Day parade.

Clowning is a form of entertainment that has appeared in some manner in virtually every culture, including the bushmen in Africa. In most cultures the clown is a ritual character associated with festival or rites of passage and is often very different from the most popular western form. In Europe, up until as late as the 19th century the clown was a typical everyday character, and often appeared in carnivals. The performance is symbolic of liminality - being outside the rules of regular society the clown is able to subvert the normal order, and this basic premise is contemporarily used by many activists to point out social absurdity. A clown participating in a Memorial Day parade, 2004, by Rick Dikeman File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A clown participating in a Memorial Day parade, 2004, by Rick Dikeman File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed this year on 2007-05-28). ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... For other uses, see Festival (disambiguation). ... A rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a persons social or sexual status. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... This article describes the festival season. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...

During the 16th century the Commedia dell'arte also became a huge influence on perceptions of the clown in Europe, an influence which passed through pantomime, into vaudeville and on to the touring circuses of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Commedia took influences from the grotesque masked clowns of carnivals and mystery plays, and began in market places as a way to sell vegetables. It became incredibly popular throughout Europe amongst both the general public and the courts. The stock characters of the commedia originally included the Zanni - peasant clowns, Pantalone, the old Miser, Il Dottore - The Banal Doctor, and then grew from there to incorporate the Lovers, Arlecchino, Pedrolino, and Brighella, who have survived into the twentieth century in one form or another. Commedia redirects here. ... For other uses, see Pantomime (disambiguation). ... This article is about the musical variety theatre. ... Mystery plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. ...

Clown types

Main article: Circus clown

An Avalanche of Absurdities! A Tidal Wave of Tip-Top Tomfoolery! A Hurricane of Howlingly Hilarious High-Jinx and Non-Stop Nutty Nonsense from our Big Bungling Battalion of Boisterous Buffoons! Weve Amassed a Magnificent Myriad of Magical Marvelous Mirth Makers, those Matchless Motley-Mugged Merry Masters of Mad...


It is important to note that a whiteface character doesn't always wear the classic whiteface makeup. Additionally, a character can wear traditional whiteface makeup and be an auguste.

Classic appearance

Traditionally, the whiteface clown uses "clown white" makeup to cover his or her entire face and neck with none of the underlying flesh color showing. In the European whiteface makeup, the ears are painted red. Features, in red and black, are delicate. He or she is traditionally costumed far more extravagantly than the other two clown types, sometimes wearing the ruffled collar and pointed hat which typify the stereotypical "clown suit".


The whiteface character-type is often serious, all-knowing (even if not particularly smart), bossy, and cocky. He is the ultimate authority figure. He serves the role of "straight-man" and sets up situations that can be turned funny.

Some circus examples include Pipo Sossman, François Fratellini (the Fratellini family), Felix Adler, Paul Jung, Harry Dann, Chuck Burnes, Albert White, Ernie Burch, Bobby Kaye, Jack and Jackie LeClaire, Joe and Chester Sherman, Keith Crary, Charlie Bell, Tim Tegge, Kenny Dodd, Frankie Saluto, Tammy Parrish, Pennywise,David Konyot (Circus Barum and The Toni Alexis trio) and Prince Paul Albert. François Fratellini was a famous circus clown. ... Frank Bartlet Adler (better known by his stage name Felix Adler) (June 17, 1895 - February 1, 1960) was a circus performer and entertainer known as The King of Clowns who performed for Ringling Bros. ...



The auguste character-type is often an anarchist, a joker, or a fool. He is clever and has much lower status than the whiteface. Classically the whiteface character instructs the auguste character to perform his bidding. The auguste has a hard time performing the task given which leads to funny situations. Sometimes the auguste plays the role of an anarchist and purposefully has trouble following the whiteface's directions. Sometimes the auguste is confused or is foolish and is screwing up less deliberately.

The contra-auguste

The contra-auguste plays the role of the mediator between the whiteface character and the auguste character. He has a lower status than the whiteface but a higher status than the auguste. He aspires to be more like the whiteface and often mimics everything the whiteface does to try to gain approval. If there is a contra-auguste character, he often is instructed by the whiteface to correct the auguste when he is doing something wrong.

"Character clown"

The character clown adopts an eccentric character of some type, such as a butcher, a baker, a policeman, a housewife or hobo. Prime examples of this type of clown are the circus tramps Otto Griebling and Emmett Kelly. Red Skelton, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin would all fit the definition of a character clown. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Emmett Kelly (December 9, 1898 – March 28, 1979), a native of Sedan, Kansas, was an American circus performer, who created the memorable clown figure Weary Willie, based on the hobos of the Depression era. ... Richard Bernard Red Skelton (July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997) was an American comedian whose greatest impact — in a career which began as a teen circus clown and graduated to vaudeville, Broadway, MGM films, and radio — began when he reached television stardom with The Red Skelton Show (NBC, 1951–1952... Harold Clayton Lloyd (April 20, 1893 – March 8, 1971) was an American film actor and director, most famous for his silent comedies. ... Joseph Francis Kieran Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an Academy Award-winning American silent film comic actor and filmmaker. ... Charles Chaplin redirects here. ...

The character clown makeup is a comic slant on the standard human face. Their makeup starts with a flesh tone base and may make use of anything from glasses, mustaches and beards to freckles, warts, big ears or strange haircuts.

American character clown types

The most prevalent character clown in the American circus is the tramp, hobo, or bum clown. There are subtle differences in the American character clown types. According to American circus expert Hovey Burgess, they are (in order of class):

  • The Tramp Migratory and finds work where he travels to.
  • The Hobo Migratory and does not work where he travels to.
  • The Bum Non-migratory and non-working.

Some circus examples include Barry Lubin, Tom Dougherty, Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Geoff Hoyle, John Gilkey, Peter Shub, Poodles Hanneford, Bluch Landolf, Larry Pisoni, John Lepiarz, Bobo Barnett, Happy Kellams, Fumagalli, Charlie Cairoli, Bebe, Jojo Lewis, Abe Goldstein, Rhum, David Larible, Kenny Raskin, Oleg Popov, Rik Gern and Bello Nock. Bello Nock is a clown performed by Demetrius Nock born in 1968 in Sarasota, Florida ,Whose real full name is Demetrius Alexandro Claudio Amadeus Bello Nock. ...

Joey, the Auguste and the ringmaster

In clown duos, Clowns often rely on the Joey & Auguste framework, or Manipulator/Victim. The Joey & Auguste Framework is often used widely in such comic works as Looney Toons. Simply put, the two clowns, who for whatever reason are competing for survival, desperately rely on each other; without each other, they live a meaningless, and perhaps even more perilous adventure. For example, when Sylvester finally catches Tweety Bird (or thinks he does) he becomes so ridden with guilt that he nearly commits suicide. Looney Tunes is a Warner Brothers cartoon series that preceded the Merrie Melodies series, and is both WBs first animated theatrical series and the second longest continuous animated series in any medium. ... For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ...

The Ringmaster relationship is the addition of an ur-manipulator, or ur-victim to this chemistry. This often takes the form of a mutual enemy or nemesis. An example of this situation might be as follows:

A husband comes home late, he's drunk, and has a collar covered in lipstick. His wife wants to know where he's been, and a manipulator-victim relationship occurs. Suddenly their child enters the scene, and the dynamic changes in an attempt to avoid traumatizing him/her. The child wants to know why there's a strange man in their bedroom, and the manipulator-victim dymnamic shifts during the next argument. Then it turns out that the child has constructed this elaborate ruse in order to steal cookies and watch late-night TV without notice, giving him ur-manipulator status.

This is an example of a ringmaster situation. Clowns in the ringmaster position are often character clowns, where Joey and Auguste duos are typically made up of a Whiteface Clown and an Auguste.

Other types

Native American clowning

Many Native Tribes have a history of Clowning. The Canadian Clowning method developed by Richard Pochinko and furthered by his former apprentice, Sue Morrison, combines European and Native American clowning techniques. The Canadian Clowning Technique is a mask-based style of performance created by Richard Pochinko. ... Richard Pochinko (1946-1989), was a notable Canadian clown trainer who developed his own style of performance training, known as the Pochinko method. He was raised in Lockport, Manitoba. ...

In this tradition, masks are made of clay while the creator's eyes are closed. A mask is made for each direction of the medicine wheel. During this process, the clown creates a personal mythology which explores his or her personal Experiences and Innocenses. A medicine wheel in Big Horn County, Wyoming, USA Medicine wheels are stone structures built by the natives of North America for various spiritual and ritual purposes. ...


A rodeo clown is a cowboy, or animal wrangler, dressed in wild costumes — almost always oversized and consisting of loose fitting layers of clothing to protect them from, and to distract, rodeo bulls, broncos, etc. The looseness of the layers allows a rodeo clown to shed portions of their attire in the event of its being snagged -- as on an enraged bull's horn. American cowboy circa 1887 A cowhand tends livestock, especially cattle. ... In North America a wrangler is someone employed to handle animals professionally, especially horses, but also others. ... Plunging bronco, Bar Diamond Bar range Bronc riding, either as saddle bronc or bareback bronc is a rodeo sport that involves a rider getting on an untamed horse or bronco, weighing between 800 and 1,500 pounds, which is held in a small pipe enclosure called a bucking chute. ...

Commedia dell'Arte

There are two distinct types of clown characters, which originated in Commedia dell'Arte but which still hold some favor today, Pierrot and Arlecchino. Commedia redirects here. ...


The Pierrot, or "French clown", derived from the commedia dell'arte character Pedrolino - the youngest actor of the troupe, deadpan and downtrodden. Although Pedrolino appeared without mask, Pierrot usually appears in whiteface, typically with very little other color on the face. Like Arlechinno, Pedrolino's character changed enormously with the rising popularity of pantomime in the late 19th century, becoming Pierrot. This clown character prefers black and white or other a simple primary color in his or her costume. (le Pierrot is often female, and has also been called "Pirouette" or "Pierrette". When Bernard Delfont was made a life peer, he chose "Pierrot and Pierrette" as the heraldic supporters of his coat of arms.). Harlequin and Pierrot, André Derain commedia dellarte c. ... Commedia redirects here. ... Bernard Delfont, Baron Delfont of Stepney Kt (5 September 1909-28 July 1994) was a leading Ukrainian-born theatrical impresario. ... In the United Kingdom, Life Peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles may not be inherited (those whose titles are inheritable are known as hereditary peers). ... A modern coat of arms is derived from the medi val practice of painting designs onto the shield and outer clothing of knights to enable them to be identified in battle, and later in tournaments. ...

The tragic Robert Hunter song "Reuben and Cerise" mentions Pirouette twice, in symbolic colors:
...Cerise was dressing as Pirouette in white
when a fatal vision gripped her tight
Cerise beware tonight...
Cerise is Reuben's "true love", but Ruby Claire was a temptress:
...Sweet Ruby Claire at Reuben stared
At Reuben stared
She was dressed as Pirouette in red
and her hair hung gently down...
Both women have names which translate as "red", but Reuben's true love is dressed in pure white. The other, to whom he played his fateful song, is the "lady in red." This symbolism might imply that Reuben was Pierrot's companion, Arlecchino:

Robert C. Hunter (born June 23, 1941) is an American lyricist, singer songwriter, and poet, best known for his association with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. ...


Harlequin, or Arlecchino, a character originally from the Commedia dell'Arte, is a "motley" clown. In the Commedia, Arlecchino always carries a cane with which to strike the other performers, although this cane is normally taken from him by the other performers and used against him. This is believed to be the origin of the slapstick form of comedy. A slapstick (battacio in Italian), is a prop with two flat flexible wooden pieces mounted in parallel so that the two sticks slap together when the implement is struck, causing a slapping sound, exaggerating the effect of a comedic blow. Despite the slapstick, Arlecchino is not malicious, but mischievous, the slapstick being a classic example of carnivalesque phallic imagery (see also the commedia masks' noses). Like a cross between the characters of Puck and Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Arlecchino is nimble and adept at the same time as being clumsy and dim, and is normally the 'messenger' character in a comedy — the catalyst for mayhem. Arlecchino has a female counterpart, Arlecchina, or Rosetta, but more often he is in love with the character of Columbina, a straightforward and intelligent maid, who is usually given the prologue and epilogue. Arlecchino has other derivatives with slightly different features: Traccagnino, Bagattino, Tabarrino, Tortellino, Naccherino, Gradelino, Mezzettino, Polpettino, Nespolino, Bertoldino, Fagiuolino, Trappolino, Zaccagnino, Trivellino, Passerino, Bagolino, Temellino, Fagottino, Fritellino, Tabacchino, whose names could all be considered funny-sounding names, even to an Italian. Arlecchino's name is probably derived from "hellech" plus the diminutive suffix "-ino", meaning little devil. In the same way, "Trufflino" is "Little Truffler", Trivellino is (Arlecchino's) "Little Brother", and so on. The Harlequin often loses much of Arlecchino's character in pantomime, as he becomes more of a ballet character, to a large extent stripped of dialogue and subversive content. Arlecchino (also known as Harlequin in English, Arlequin in French) is the most popular of the zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dellArte. ... Commedia redirects here. ... For other uses, see Slapstick (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Puck (mythology). ... Nick Bottom is a character in Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream who provides comic relief throughout the play, and is famously known for getting his head transformed into that of a donkey by the elusive Puck within the play. ... For other uses, see A Midsummer Nights Dream (disambiguation). ... The belief that certain words are inherently funny, for reasons ranging from onomatopoeia to phonosemantics to sexual innuendo, is widespread among people who work in humor. ...


In the circus, a clown might perform another circus role:

  • Walk a tightrope, a highwire, a slack rope, or a piece of rope on the ground, though in the last case, the predictably unpredictable clown might be just as likely to wrestle around on the ground with it, as if it were a boa constrictor.
  • Ride a horse, a zebra, a donkey, an elephant, or even an ostrich.
  • Substitute himself in the role of "lion tamer".
  • Act as "emcee", from M.C. or Master of Ceremonies, the preferred term for a clown taking on the role of "Ringmaster".
  • "Sit in" with the orchestra, perhaps in a "pin spot" in the center ring, or from a seat in the audience.
  • Anything any other circus performer might do. It is not uncommon for an acrobat, a horse-back rider, or a lion tamer to secretly stand in for the clown, the "switch" taking place in a brief moment offstage.

Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ... For other uses, see Zebra (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 For other uses, see Donkey (disambiguation). ... Genera and Species Loxodonta Loxodonta cyclotis Loxodonta africana Elephas Elephas maximus Elephas antiquus † Elephas beyeri † Elephas celebensis † Elephas cypriotes † Elephas ekorensis † Elephas falconeri † Elephas iolensis † Elephas planifrons † Elephas platycephalus † Elephas recki † Stegodon † Mammuthus † Elephantidae (the elephants) is a family of pachyderm, and the only remaining family in the order Proboscidea... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 The present-day distribution of Ostriches. ... A Master of Ceremonies or MC (sometimes spelled emcee), sometimes called a compere or an MJ for microphone jockey, is the host of an official public or private staged event or other performance. ... For the song titled Orchestra, see The Servant (band). ... High wire act Acrobatics (from Greek Akros, high and bat, walking) is one of the performing arts, and is also practiced as a sport. ...

Clowning frameworks

Frameworks are the general outline of an act that clowns use to help them build out an act. Frameworks can be loose, including only a general beginning and ending to the act, leaving it up to the clown's creativity to fill in the rest, or at the other extreme a fully developed script that allows very little room for creativity.

Shows are the overall production that a clown is a part of, it may or may not include elements other than clowning, such as in a circus show. In a circus context, clown shows are typically made up of some combination of Entrées, Side dishes, Clown Stops, Track Gags, Gags and bits.

Gags, bits and business

"Business" is the individual motions the clown uses, often used to express the clown's character. A "gag" is a very short piece of clown comedy which when repeated within a bit or routine may become a "running gag". Gags may be loosely defined as "the jokes clowns play on each other". Bits are the clown's sketches or routines made up of one or more gags either worked out and timed before going on stage or impromptu bits composed of familiar improvisational material. A gag may have a beginning, a middle and an end to them, or they may not. Gags can also refer to the prop stunts/tricks or the stunts that clowns use, such as a squirting flower.


Entrées are feature clowning acts lasting 5-10 minutes. They are typically made up of various gags and bits, and usually use a clowning framework. Entrées almost always end with a blow-off. (The blow-off is the comedic ending of a show segment, bit, gag, stunt or routine.)

Side dishes are shorter feature acts. Side dishes are essentially shorter versions of the Entrée, typically lasting 1 - 3 minutes. Side dishes are typically made up of various gags and bits, and usually use a clowning framework. Side dishes almost always end with a blow-off.


Clown Stops or interludes are the brief appearance of clowns while the props and rigging are changed. These are typically made up of a few gags or several bits. Clown Stops almost always end with a blow-off. Clown stops will always have a beginning, a middle and an end to them.These are also called reprises or run-ins by many and in todays circus they are an art form in themselves, originally they were bits of "business" usually parodying the act that had preceded it, If for instance there had been a wire walker the reprise would involve two chairs with a piece of rope between and the clown trying to imitate the artiste by trying to walk between them with the resulting falls and cascades bringing laughter from the audience. Today they are far more complex and in many modern shows the clowning is a thread that links the whole show together .

Prop stunts

Among the more well-known clown stunts are: squirting flower; the "too-many-clowns-coming-out-of-a-tiny-car" stunt; doing just about anything with a rubber chicken, tripping over ones own feet (or an air pocket or imaginary blemish in the floor), or riding any number of ridiculous vehicles or "clown bikes". Individual prop stunts are generally considered to be individual bits. A prop comic holding a rubber chicken in sweatpants (as in the simile looser than a rubber chicken in sweatpants). The rubber chicken is a popular sight gag and slapstick comedy prop, sometimes used by comics to hit people. ... A clown bicycle or clown bike is designed for comedic effect or stunt riding. ...

Amateur clowning

An amateur clown
An amateur clown

There are lots of amateurs practicing clowning skills and appearance. Improvisation and imitations of famous clowns are common for amateur clowns. While it is usually poor (and could be considered even blasphemy), a piece of artistic sense can sometimes be found even in children animators. It is not too expensive for amateur clown to lease costume, and even home makeup (except for the white color) will do an attractive effect for the spectators. Juggling, which anybody can learn in only days, would make one almost a complete clown. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 451 × 599 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,144 × 2,848 pixels, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 451 × 599 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,144 × 2,848 pixels, file size: 1. ... For the 1994 film, see Amateur (film). ... Improvisation is the practice of acting and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of ones immediate environment. ... For the black metal band, see Blasphemy (band). ... An animator is an artist who creates multiple images called frames that form an illusion of movement called animation when rapidly displayed. ... Juggling is a form of skillful, often artful, object manipulation. ...

Private costume parties usually have at least one amateur clown present at the event and, even with a few cheap clown tricks, there are always plenty of joyful receptions for the character. Halloween costumes A costume party (chiefly in the U.S. and Canada) or a fancy dress party (chiefly in Britain and Australia), mainly in contemporary Western culture, is a type of party where guests dress up in a costume. ...

Cooperative bits and 'improv'

A clown duo might employ a number of cooperative "bits" to help them create an improvisational performance. Using this technique allows both clowns to participate in what looks like a well-rehearsed sketch, but might well be a mere placeholder/spacefiller for a missing act, or used to cover "prop failure" etc. Particularly in a Circus or Variety show, clowns are often relied on to perform "at the drop of a hat" and a well-prepared clown will not only have a large repertoire of bits, but will remain alert when off-stage. In accordance with the well-known "show biz" tradition that "The Show Must Go On", the best clowns will always be ready to save the day, even in the midst of a tragedy — such as an injured performer. Improvisational comedy (also called improv) is comedy that is performed with a little to no predetermination of subject matter and structure. ... Sketch Show redirects here. ... For other uses, see Circus (disambiguation). ... A variety show is a show with a variety of acts, often including music and comedy skits, especially on television. ... Show business is a vernacular term for the business of entertainment. ...

Pete and re-Pete

In "Pete and re-Pete", the first clown narrates the gag, the second "repeats" the main elements of the first clown's exposition:

"I see you bought yourself a new hat"
— "Yeah, a New Hat (big happy smile of contentment with his battered stovepipe hat)
— Yeah, you're not gonna get a Fine New Hat like this one down town" (taking the hat off again for another satisfied look at the hat, and rocking up on to the balls of his feet and back on his heels, proudly).
"You can say that again"
— "OK: Got it Up Town, yeah, not gonna get one of these downtown" (another proud look at the hat, picking an imagined piece of lint from the torn brim of the bedraggled Fine New Hat), yep, nothing like an Up Town Hat."
"Uhuh ... they pay you much?"

The first clown narrates the gag, the second repeats main elements of this exposition, and finally delivers the punch line.

"That's good/that's bad" routine

In the routine called "that's good/that's bad", the first clown narrates the gag, the second responds alternately with "that's good / that's bad":

"I found a dog."
"That's good" (noncommittally).
"It wasn't a hot dog though" (showing the dog).
"That's too bad" (looking at the dog, wistfully).
"He's really friendly ..."
"Oh, that's good" (agreeably).
"... with people's legs."
"Well that’s bad" (appalled).
"He doesn't eat much."
"That's good" (nodding agreeably).
"He sure poops a lot though."
"That's bad" (that stinks expression).
"He's housebroken."
"That’s good" (of course it is).
"No that's bad: he did some jail time for the last housebreak."
"Okay, then that's bad" (willing to be corrected).
"No that's good: it was his second offense. He's gone straight now."
"That's ... uhhh ... good?" (confused now).
"No that's bad, he's gone straight for your pastrami sandwich!"

This bit is also seen with other "good/bad" interjections: perhaps "that's fortunate/unfortunate" or even (with a pair of two "Surfer Dude" clowns) as "Dude that rocks!/Man, that bites".

Note that a clown would likely choose the word pastrami rather than corned beef, because pastrami is a funny word and corned beef is not. So clowns prefer: The belief that certain words are inherently funny, for reasons ranging from onomatopoeia to phonosemantics to sexual innuendo, is widespread among people who work in humor. ...

  • monkey wrenches to "spanners"
  • doohickeys to "gadgets"
  • kitchen gadgets to "small appliance"
  • monikers to "nicknames"

and a clown would much prefer to be A moniker (or monicker) is a pseudonym, or cognomen, which one gives to oneself. ...

  • fidgety than "restless".

Each clown has his own gags or bits, these techniques are used to share gags with other clowns that are unfamiliar with the material, by using "Yes, and..." techniques ("Yes and" has become a technique commonly taught in "improv" classes) such as "Pete and re-Pete", and "That's good/that's bad", the clowns avoid conflicting gags, supporting each other in whatever they may say, and keeping the performance flowing. Improvisation is the practice of acting and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of ones immediate environment. ...

It is considered bad improvisational form to "deny the proposition" as in: Improvisation is the practice of acting and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of ones immediate environment. ...

"Hi Dewey, looks like you got yourself a new pair of shoes"
"No, Tiny, these are my regular shoes."

Contradiction tends to stop the show, "killing" the "comedic momentum" crucial to keeping the attention of the audience.

The "That's good/that's bad" act has also been used in the Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror III"

Fear of clowns

Main article: Coulrophobia

Coulrophobia is a mental condition concerning the fear of clowns. ...

Evil Clown

Some people find clowns disturbing rather than amusing. It is not uncommon for children to be afraid of disguised, exaggerated, or costumed figures — even Santa Claus. Ute myths feature a cannibalistic clown monster called the Siats.

Clown costumes tend to exaggerate the facial features and some body parts, such as hands and feet. This can be read as monstrous or deformed as easily as it can be read as comical.

The irrational fear of clowns is known as coulrophobia. Some have suggested that a fear of clowns may stem from early childhood experience, when infants begin to process and make sense of facial features. The significant aberrations in a clown's face may frighten a child so much that they carry this phobia throughout their adult life.[2] Coulrophobia is a mental condition concerning the fear of clowns. ...

It can also be said one's response to a clown might depend on where it's seen. At a circus or a party, a clown is normal and may easily be funny. The same clown knocking on one's front door at sunset is more likely to generate fear or distress than laughter or amusement. This effect is summed up in a quote often attributed to actor Lon Chaney, Sr.: "There is nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." In the Space To Care study aimed at improving hospital design for children, researchers from the University of Sheffield polled 250 children regarding their opinions on clowns; all 250 children in the study, whose ages ranged between four and sixteen, reported that they found clowns frightening and disliked clowns as part of hospital decor.[3] [4] The University of Sheffield is a research university, located in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. ... Coulrophobia is a mental condition concerning the fear of clowns. ...

The British arts and music festival Bestival discarded its 2006 clown theme because many adult ticketholders were afraid of clowns. [5] The Bestival is a music festival on the Isle of Wight. ... Coulrophobia is a mental condition concerning the fear of clowns. ...

Further reading

  • It by Stephen King
  • I'm In Love With A Clown Named Joe By Adam Clark
  • My Poor Clown Friend By Scottie Pinker
  • Poor Clown by Charlie Rivel
  • Don't Be Clowin' Around By Kayla Alberstett
  • Clowning... or Cloning? By Garrett Thomas
  • Behind My Greasepaint by Coco
  • Bert Williams - A Biography of the Pioneer Black Comedian by Eric Ledell Smith
  • The Book Of Clown by George Speaight
  • Bring On The Clowns by Beryl Hugil
  • Clown, My Life In Tatters and Smiles by Emmett Kelly and F. Beverly Kelly
  • The Clown In Times (Volumes 1-6) by Bruce Johnson
  • Clowns by Douglas Newton
  • Clowns by John Towsen
  • Clowns Of The Hope - Tradition Keepers and Delight Makers by Barton Wright
  • Felix Adler by Anne Aull Bowber
  • The Fool and His Scepter by William Willeford
  • Fools and Jesters At The English Court by John Southworth
  • Greasepaint Matadors - The Unsung Heroes of Rodeo by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor [1]
  • Grimaldi - King of Clowns by Richard Findlater
  • Grock - King of Clowns by Grock
  • Here Come The Clowns by Lowell Swortzell
  • Jest In Time: A Clown Chronology by Bruce Johnson
  • Life's A Lark by Grock
  • A Ring, A Horse And A Clown by John H. McConnell
  • Russian Clown by Oleg Popov
  • The Tramp Tradition by Bruce Johnson
  • Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma (book review)[6]
  • Handelman, D., Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events [7]
  • Little, K., Clown Performance in the European One-Ring Circus. Culture, 1981. 2(1):61-72.[8]
  • Rudlin, J., Commedia Dell'Arte; An Actors Handbook[2]
  • Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of the American horror-core group Insane Clown Posse (ICP).
  • sociological work on the fool: Anton Zijderveld Reality in a looking-glass
  • Barbara Swain Fools and Folly (New York, Columbia University Press, 1932)
  • Enid Welsford The fool: his social and literary history [1935] (1966)
  • William Willeford The fool and his scepter 1969
  • Ron Jenkins Subversive laughter *Maxwell Henrie the pantless cowboy/clown
  • In A Dark Place By Steven Shiverdecker. A book about a grotesque clown that terrorizes a small town.

George Victor Speaight ( September 6, 1914 - December 22, 2005) was a theatre historian and the leading authority on 19th-century toy theatre. ... Insane Clown Posse (ICP) is a horrorcore rap group from suburban Detroit. ... Insane Clown Posse (ICP) is a horrorcore rap group from suburban Detroit. ... Insane Clown Posse (commonly known as ICP) is an American rap duo originally from Wayne, Michigan but formed in the neighborhood of Delray. ...


  1. ^ Peter Ludwig Berger Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience (1997) p.78
  2. ^ Don't send in the clowns - Reuters Oddly Enough
  3. ^ Don't send in the clowns - Reuters Oddly Enough
  4. ^ Clowns 'Too Scary' For Children's Wards In Hospitals - Sky News
  5. ^ Study Reveals Kids’ Fear of Clowns / findingDulcinea
  6. ^ Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma. Retrieved on 2006-05-20.
  7. ^ MODELS AND MIRRORS Towards an Anthropology of Public Events. Retrieved on 2006-05-20.
  8. ^ Public anthropology, "Culture 1981". Retrieved on 2006-05-20.

Peter Ludwig Berger (born March 17, 1929) is an American sociologist and Lutheran theologian well known for his work The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York, 1966), which he co-authored with Thomas Luckmann. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 140th day of the year (141st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 140th day of the year (141st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 140th day of the year (141st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... An Avalanche of Absurdities! A Tidal Wave of Tip-Top Tomfoolery! A Hurricane of Howlingly Hilarious High-Jinx and Non-Stop Nutty Nonsense from our Big Bungling Battalion of Boisterous Buffoons! Weve Amassed a Magnificent Myriad of Magical Marvelous Mirth Makers, those Matchless Motley-Mugged Merry Masters of Mad... CIRCA at Make Poverty History march in Scotland Clown Army promotional poster. ... James Robert (Jim Bob) Duggar (born 1963), of Tontitown, Arkansas, served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002. ... Clown society is a term used in anthropology and sociology for a organization of comedic entertainers who have a formalized role in a culture or society. ... The image of the evil clown is a recent development in American popular culture in which the playful trope of the clown is rendered as disturbing through the use of horror elements and dark humor. ... Look up mime in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Clown - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4438 words)
Though not every clown is readily identifiable by appearance alone, clowns frequently appear in makeup and costume, as well as typically unusually large footwear, oversized or otherwise outlandish clothing, big or otherwise unusual nose, and enacting humorous sketches, usually in the interludes between major presentations.
The clown of this era and eras previous to it were also associated with jugglers, who were seen as the pariahs of society alongside actors, prostitutes and lepers, and thus (at least in Europe) wore stripes, or motley - cloth associated with marginalised people such as the condemned, with strong associations of the devil.
The Pierrot, or "French clown", derived from the commedia dell'arte character Pedrolino - the youngest actor of the troupe, deadpan and downtrodden.
Clown Training (630 words)
Clown is an art form which has existed for thousands of years, and undergone a revolution in recent times, as it made the leap back from circus into theatre, giving birth to 'new clown' and physical theatre.
The Clown Retreat is timed to be held just before the world buskers Festival in Christchurch for those coming for the summer season in New Zealand.
This course is a fun way to approach clown because of the way we interface the studio work with exploration of the street as a learning environment, as we take some exercises from the studio and work with them based at street-cafe's in Newtown.
  More results at FactBites »



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