Are clowns scary or funny?

Lately I’ve been feeling kind of down, so for this post I decided that I wanted to write about something different to cheer myself up; and hopefully it will make a good read.

In this post, I want to talk about clowns.

First off, I have to say that the research I did for this post is very surface level and so it might be wrong, but like I said before I’m writing something silly, so don’t take it seriously.

According to this Wikipedia article titled, “Clown”, clowns have varied tradition and have all kinds of costumes. The clown character originated from ye olden time theatres and were used to denote the characters that were foolish. They were meant to be entertaining and funny. The word clown itself is used to describe anyone who acts foolish, stupid, dumb, etc.

The common modern day clowns are the Auguste or the “red clown” type. Red clowns are known for their outlandish costumes, exaggerated footwear, colourful wigs and distinctive make-up. They became popular thanks to the circus.

Even these clowns, like their theatre counterparts, are meant to be entertaining and funny. But somewhere down the line, some people started to see clowns as being generally scary. In fact, some children are terrified of clowns. There’s even a word for it, Coulrophobia.

Now I don’t find clowns to be scary, so when I first heard about how some people are scared of them it baffled me. The only clowns I find scary are the ones that are intentionally so, like The Joker from Batman and Pennywise from IT.

But why do some people find clowns scary when they were originally meant to be comical?

I think part of the reason is that some people, especially kids, might find clowns scary because of their exaggerated costumes. They’re odd looking and depending on the setting, their exaggerated limbs and smile can look sinister.

Also in Smithsonian.com’s article titled, “The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary”, they mention how clowns would take a lot of their humour from the darker side of society. In that same article, David Kiser, the director of talent for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, said that in a way, a clown has always been an impish spirit and that their fun will often have some mischief in it. So you could argue that there is some darkness behind those smiles.

The article goes into more detail about how some of the most famous clowns, like Grimaldi, Deburau and John Wayne Gacy, have a dark and depressing past/aspect behind them. And although clowns themselves are not meant to be dark, these aspects that they get associated with causes us to see/project a sinister aura on them. It goes on to talk about how the media has also popularised dark clowns, like the aforementioned Joker and Pennywise, and how it has had a negative impact on clowning, which is meant to be a fun and wholesome profession.

The article goes on to talk about how, despite this negative notion some people have about clowns, there are people who genuinely like them and that some studies show that therapeutic clowns actually helped children to deal with anxiety.

So are clowns scary or are they funny?

In the end, I feel that just how ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,’ the fear or hilarity of clowns is subject to person watching them.

That’s it for this post, I hope you liked it and I hope you have a good day ahead.

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