Are clowns harmless jokers or evil people? While there is no straightforward answer to this (at least not from the never-ending debates), clowns have existed for centuries and continue to do so. From Joseph Grimaldi to Grock and Bozo the Clown, the world has had a plentiful supply of such characters. Whether you distaste them because of their makeup and costume or don’t mind them, this article highlights some random, fun facts about clowns that you probably didn’t know.

1. The Largest Gathering of Professional Clowns Consisted of 850 People

In 1991, 850 clowns gathered to set the record for the largest gathering of professional clowns. The record, recognized by the Guinness World Records, was set at Bognor Regis, UK. The gathering included 430 clowns from North America.

2. Fear of Clowns is One of the Most Common Phobias in Kids

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According to research, the fear of clowns is the most common among kids – those predisposed to anxiety are more susceptible. Some clowns’ costumes are also generally scary, further explaining the phobia. The fear of clowns is called coulrophobia.

3. There Was a “Clown Attack” Craze in 2016

While the fear of clowns is mainly associated with kids, the “clown attack” in 2016 caused absolute havoc even to adults. The clown hysteria took the United States by storm, fueling fascination and fear in equal measure. The frenzy started in South Carolina, where it was reported that clowns were spotted luring children into the woods. Soon, people from Alabama and Wisconsin reported scary clown sightings. While most of the reports were hoaxes, a few arrests were made.

4. There is an Annual Clowns Service to Honor Deceased Clowns

Usually held at the Holy Trinity Church in England, the annual clown’s service seeks to honor deceased clowns. The tradition has existed since 1946, when the father of clowning, Joseph Grimaldi, was first honored. Photography is prohibited at the event, and a press pass costs £10. The 2024 edition was held on 4 February.

5. There is a Clown Organization that Brings Relief to Communities in Crisis Through Laughter

There are Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that help communities in crisis overcome sadness by making them laugh. The leading ones include the United States and the United Kingdom’s Clowns Without Borders.

6. Clowns Red Noses Depict Alcoholics

man in blue red and white plaid button up shirt wearing brown hat

Back in the day, clowns were used to imitate lower-class characters in society, primarily alcoholics. The red nose was used to portray the ruddy complexion of drunkards. However, it’s more of a formality or part of the clown’s dress code today.

7. There is a Clown’s Commandments

Clowns have their own Code of Ethics called the Clown Commandments. The eight rules dictate their behavior, dress code, how they apply makeup, and the general art of being a clown. Anyone who identifies as a clown is required to adhere strictly to these commandments.

8. North Dakota Has the Highest Number of Clowns in the US

According to a poll conducted in 2014, North Dakota records the highest number of clowns available for hire. That’s quite counterintuitive, considering North Dakota is among the least scariest states.

9. The Clown Car is Not an Illusion

The clown car is a common circus clown routine where many clowns emerge from a seemingly small vehicle. People often think that the clown car is an illusion, but as it turns out, it’s not. Usually, the vehicle’s internal components are removed to create space for as many as 21 performers. Cole Bros. Circus was the first to perform the routine during the 1950s.

10. There was a Brawl Between Firefighters and Clowns in a Toronto-based Brothel

One of the biggest brawls in Toronto’s history occurred at a brothel in 1855 when a group of clowns traveling in a circus engaged the local volunteering firefighting group. While the cause of the conflict remains unknown, it resulted in a riot that saw many nearby homes looted. The clowns won the battle.

11. An Illiterate Clown was Elected to Congress in Brazil

During the 2010 elections, an illiterate clown called Francisco Oliveira, aka Tiririca, was elected into Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In his campaigns, Tiririca told people he wouldn’t work or do anything for the residents if elected. Instead, he would monitor what other elected leaders did in the congress – he garnered 1.3 million votes.

12. “Community” Actor Alison Brie Used to Be a Birthday Clown

Known for her unique role in the “Community” TV show, Alison Brie has admitted to working as a birthday clown during her teen years. In an interview, she said her clown name was Sunny and that she really enjoyed performing. She also did characters like Snow White and Cinderella.

13. A Clown assassinated the Head of the Tijuana Cartel

In 2013, Francisco Rafael, a former Mexican drug lord, was shot dead by a gunman who was dressed as a clown. The then head of the Tijuana Cartel was celebrating his birthday in Los Cabos.

14. A Killer Clown Ended the Lives of 33 Young Men

John Wayne Gacy, also known as Pogo, was a killer clown who ended the lives of 33 young men and boys. On the outside, he was a loving dad and staunch businessperson. However, beneath the mask and makeup, Pogo was a serial killer. Gacy was a victim of childhood abuse and also suffered from antisocial personality disorder.

15. There are Clown Schools

Even though clowning was more of a hobby in the past, some schools teach how to be a professional clown today. Here, students learn how to be creative and authentic while clowning. While the Clown School in Los Angeles is more popular, there are plenty of other clown schools all over the United States.

16. Fizbo was a Real Clown Before Modern Family

If you have watched the Modern Family TV show, you may remember the numerous times Cameron Tucker played the role of Fizbo the clown. Interestingly, Fizbo existed before Modern Family. Eric Stonestreet (who plays Cam’s character) once tweeted that Fizbo was a nickname his dad gave him, and his grandmother would make all his clown outfits.

17. Clowns Copyright Their Faces and Paint Them on Eggs

Clowns paint their faces on eggs in a special registry to maintain their identity and reserve copyrights. The Wookey Hole in England is a perfect example of this.

 

 

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Last Update: February 14, 2024