(Editor’s note: an answer to a question posted at Quora)
Why is Mickey Mouse not popular to everyone? Why do some people prefer Batman v. Superman to The Avengers movie franchise?
Because individuals have different tastes.
But, part of the problem is that the poster of the question does define what he means by “clown”. I’d argue that ‘clown’ is much broader than the circus clowns (although I find them hilarious).(more…)
W.C. Fields Quotes – W. C. Fields, in addition to a legacy of legendary films (such as The Bank Dick, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, and You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man), had a legendary sense of humor. On and off set, he remained in character, and was famous for his many quips and retorts .
What Witchery but a Clowns? by Charles Dickens, from the introduction to Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, edited by Dickens in 1838.
It is some years now, since we first conceived a strong veneration for Clowns, and an intense anxiety to know what they did with themselves out of pantomime time, and off the stage. As a child, we were accustomed to pester our relations and friends with questions out of number concerning these gentry;—whether their appetite for sausages and such like wares was always the same, and if so, at whose expense they were maintained; whether they were ever taken up for pilfering other people’s goods, or were forgiven by everybody because it was only done in fun; how it was they got such beautiful complexions, and where they lived; and whether they were born Clowns, or gradually turned into Clowns as they grew up. On these and a thousand other points our curiosity was insatiable. Nor were our speculations confined to Clowns alone: they extended to Harlequins, Pantaloons, and Columbines, all of whom we believed to be real and veritable personages, existing in the same forms and characters all the year round. How often have we wished that the Pantaloon were our god-father! and how often thought that to marry a Columbine would be to attain the highest pitch of all human felicity! (more…)
Mark Twain on Being a Clown, by Robert Edmund Sherwood, from Here We Are Again
I have ridden in Venetian gondolas to the music of tinkling mandolins; shaken the hands of Queen Victoria and John L. Sullivan; and slept under the stars in the Grand Canyon and the Valley of the Yosemite. I would willingly forego the memory of them all, could I once again site outside a circus tent, with the stars twinkling overhead, and listen to Mark Twain tell of his experiences as a pilot on the Mississippi River steamboat. (more…)
Only One Real Life, by Dexter Fellows – an excerpt from This Way to the Big Show, 1936
The laugh-clown-laugh theme is as old as the story of the melancholic jester and his doctor. It has been told of George L. Fox, one of America’s greatest clowns and pantomimists — how he went to a physician to be cured of persistent depression; how the physician, after failing to find a physical cause, recommended amusement of one kind or another, suggesting that his patient “Go and see George Fox”; and how the patient lugubriously answered: “I am Fox.” Fifty years before, the same story was told of the renowned English clown Joseph Grimaldi and Dr. John Abernethy, and doubtless it was told a hundred years before about some other unhappy Pagliacci. (more…)
Eternal Drollery, by Francis Beverly Kelley
(from “The Land of Stardust and Spangles,” The National Geographic Magazine, October 1931)
Byron once wrote, “He who joy would win must share it; happiness was born a twin.”
Circus people know this, and no one puts it into more consistent practice than does the clown, or “Joey,” as he is dubbed, after the famous English buffoon, Joseph Grimaldi. It would be difficult to estimate how many children and grown-ups annually rock with laughter at the antics of these mimers, and almost any day you can expect to find them loaded into automobiles, on their way to a children’s hospital for a charity performance. (more…)