This is my latest clown picture, inspired by my newest fascination with Puddles’ Pity Party on YouTube. Like all my clown pictures, I am fairly sure that my number one son will tell me it’s a creepy clown. He has never liked clowns. When he was still small we took him to the pre-show at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus which at that time was Meet the Clowns. We met the men… and women… and dwarves… in the face paint with the loud personalities and huge red smiles. I was charmed, as always, but number one son spent most of the time behind my pantleg, peering around for sneak peaks at the clowns. He was actually shivering most of the time.
But me, I love clowns. Always have. Especially the sad clowns. The hobo clowns. Red Skelton playing Freddy the Freeloader, Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp, Marcel Marceau, the peerless mime, and Emmett Kelly Jr. as Weary Willie. There is something deeply poetic and resonant about a clown who makes you laugh by his outward actions but manifests deep feelings and an underlying sadness on the inside. It is a metaphor for the whole of life in the human world.
Puddles walked on to the stage of America’s Got Talent and engaged everyone first with his silent-clown mime routine, and then grabbed everyone right by the heart by singing a song about drinking and swinging on the chandelier with such emotion and operatic power that, by the end of the song everyone was standing, everyone loved him. Singing clowns with a sad song help us keep our own little boats afloat on a vast and stormy ocean of life. The song buoys us up and makes it bearable to tread water a little longer. I am at a time and place in my life where I really need that.
I love clowns. Especially sad clowns. Particularly when they sing.
I dare you to watch these videos and not fall in love with Puddles. That’s the point of sad clowns. They make you laugh at the sad and serious things that tear people apart. And by doing that, they put Scotch Tape on the tears and put you back together.