I think it’s finally time that I express my opinion about the clown situation happening across North America. A lot of people know that I once worked as a clown and have studied the art of clowning for almost 30 years. A lot of people might just think that it’s a hobby, however it’s far more than that. I’ve worked as an entertainer since I was 13, I have performed thousands of shows in that time, entertained for people dying, people getting married and centenarians in nursing homes. The past few years (since my weight loss) I haven’t clowned as much but I still hold the art close to my heart and have taught and presented at international lectures throughout the past few year. My goal is to further the education making better clowns with new ideas and programs worldwide.
Now my opinion on what’s happening.
The current clown “thing” started with some people (mostly teenagers) dressed as clowns going up on to people’s porches and smashing pumpkins. After watching the story, at the very end the newscaster mentioned that most likely the people doing that knew the people they were messing with.
This year pranksters bumped it up a notch and the public copycats grabbed it and ran with it.
However a LOT of the reports have been proven to be either unsubstantiated for lack of evidence or outright hoaxes perpetrated by teenagers or young adults wanting attention.
This current escalation and media attention is troubling to me. As media attention grows, many legitimate professional entertainers are being harassed or outright threatened by the “dog whistle” alarms in these media reports. It frightens me that people I know and respect are now potentially being placed in danger because people are concerned for their safety against pranksters.
To a lot of people this is not a problem at all and possibly even a celebration. This is a problem, because first it’s the clowns next what?
Yesterday, a leader in the clown industry sent an email to his organization to suspend wearing makeup to any performances until further notice because of their safety. He also mentioned that any form of bullying is wrong and encourages other forms of bullying.
Clowns have been bullied for a long time. Almost every time I go out, I have somebody tell me to my face that they “hate clowns”. Now I understand that there are jobs in this world that people do that I don’t care for, however I don’t specifically walk up to them and tell them that I hate them. I keep my opinion to myself.
But honestly folks, this is pretty simple
1. If a clown approaches you with a hostile demeanor, protect yourself as you would against anybody with a hostile demeanor. Most clown training progams train clowns NOT to approach someone, however be open, friendly and approachable.
2. If you ARE a clown, consider temporarily lightening your look – use less makeup and be more “human.” I have been suspecting the days of heavy make up are ending in this country as the public is wanting less. It’s time to stop fighting that and embrace it.
3. Clowns need to learn to act as professional adults; the “clowns lives matter” is an absolute embarrassment. Clowns are not being oppressed and shot in our cars like the African-American community has been dealing with for centuries. Clowns cannot equate a few months of negative press to that experience therefore cannot and should not even try!
4. Please understand that anyone can put on a halloween mask, crappy makeup and a wig; however that really makes them a person in a costume. If someone dressed as a policeman and did this, the media and public wouldn’t say policemen were committing the acts. They would say imposters were. There’s a difference between a professional and the people now roaming the streets. They’re just sad individuals. They want people to be terrified, and unfortunately, it’s working. People that advertise as professionals are highly unlikely to be the troublemakers allegedly lurking in the woods.
5. Clowns are real people. We love people and we love kids. Most of us want to provide happy memories, and it saddens me that people running in the streets would stain the idea of what a clown should be. Professional clowns are not only trained, but the government requires them to do background checks before jobs, particularly those involving direct contact with children.
6. If you hate clowns or they scare you, that’s perfectly okay but clowns really don’t want to hear that. It doesn’t give any pleasure to somebody to hear another person tell them that they are hated and honestly it gets old FAST. Please keep your opinion to yourself and announcing it loudly to the public is kind of a douchey thing if it’s at a public event where it’s known entertainers are going to be. If your fears are affecting your ability to perform activities of daily living, perhaps you should get them checked out by professional help too, being afraid of a person wearing makeup and a costume, which essentially is their work uniform is NOT healthy or a normal psychological response…