The truth is, clowns are rarely happy people under the greasepaint and the manic grin. An underlying feature of every funnyman is a background of hardship, suffering, and sadness. There is a reason why Robin Williams committed suicide and Lenny Bruce died of a drug overdose. If you listen to the comedy of George Carlin in his last few years, he became a horribly bitter and cynical man.
The reason for all this wearing of clown masks and underlying sadness is really based on a very simple equation. Living a hard life, but dealing with it with the power a sense of humor gives you, yields wisdom. And how do you best deliver wisdom to all the people out there? A sugar-coated candy shell is just the thing. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine to go down, to plagiarize Mary Poppins. Say your wise words like a wise guy and say it with a smile.
So why am I so clown-happy and therefore clown-posty today? Well, I have used clowns in a very metaphorical way in the novel I am now finishing, Sing Sad Songs. Clowns are definitely on my mind. And I have a sneaking suspicion creeping up on me that maybe… just maybe… I am myself a clown.
3 responses to “The Secret Life of Clowns”
i have always feared clowns!
They do have their scary aspect. But there are lots of funny people who fit the definition who also don’t wear makeup. And who looks at Red Skelton and quakes with fear?
This is true)