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[[quoteright:350:[[UsefulNotes/McDonalds http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ronald_mcdonald_4969.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:It's almost ironic, since he's the LastOfHisKind.[[note]]But not enough.[[/note]]]]-]
->''"When you want to scream, put away that frown\\
And never be scared of a clown!\\
Laugh on, laugh on, laugh on and on and on,\\
You'll never laugh alone!"''
-->--'''Birthday Clown''', {{WesternAnimation/Animaniacs}}, "Clown and Out"

The past 20 years or so have seen a surge in the popularity of evil, [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker Joker]]-style {{Monster Clown}}s who deliberately and very effectively invert everything clowns were traditionally assumed to represent - that is, making people laugh, especially children. However, there ''was'' a time when clowns were treated in the popular media as sympathetic figures of whimsy and silly fun. Outside of their early habitats like rodeos and circuses, pretty much the only clown left in the public eye who is still permitted to act at all clown-like is [[UsefulNotes/McDonalds Ronald McDonald]]. (And now he's allegedly being phased out of the advertising.) But in days past...

For clarification, it should be noted that a degree of ''irony'' is intrinsic to most clown performances, and indeed to humor in general. The traditional "tears" painted on a clown's cheeks are there to show that he is laughing on the outside but may be [[SadClown crying on the inside]], an acknowledgment by the performer that most humor contains at least some element of laughing at another's pain. This is most played up in old-school, down-on-their-luck "hobo" clowns like Emmett Kelly Jr., though the ultimate artistic expression of the tragic clown concept is probably the title aria in the opera ''{{Pagliacci}}''. The "Non-Ironic" in the trope's name simply refers to the clowns listed here ''not'' being evil or deliberately frightening. The fact that a clown even has to be identified as "non-ironic" is pretty telling.

See TheJester for a more common type.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* McDonalds mascot Ronald [=McDonald=]. In recent years he's very much subject to AlternateCharacterInterpretation, especially since he's become the defacto symbol for PeaceAndLoveIncorporated.
* Jack Box is an unusual variant, since his head resembles a simplistic Jack-in-the-Box toy. His personality in newer ads isn't clownish at all, but rather that of a [[BunnyEarsLawyer slightly unorthodox yet very effective businessman.]]
* Krinkles the Clown from the long-discontinued Sugar Krinkles cereal. [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/60585948@N00/121359461/ That look on his face may give some people the willies]], but he's ''supposed'' to be a happy and cheerful clown.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3094hyz-K9Y The television commercial]] attempts this trope as well, but doesn't fare much better with today's audiences.
* In the mid-80's, Circus Fun breakfast cereal's mascot was a clay animation clown and his animals.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' #528 has yet another tragic, "life's loser" clown that works at a barely-surviving circus. He manages to disrupt the MexicanStandoff between Batman, Two-Face, and the circus' corrupt owner by releasing a lion from its cage, and later informs Batman that he had seen said owner murder his uncle, the circus's previous owner, by loosing a tiger on him. His reason for not revealing this to the cops? He feared that the circus would be shut down, and since he has no savings and few job skills... After reflecting on this for the better part of a few years, however, and getting a chewing-out from the Dark Knight, he decides to go and testify to the cops after all. (For extra irony points, the case was one of the many "ghost files" that Two-Face possessed back when he was still District Attorney - he knew who was responsible, but couldn't prosecute as he had no evidence).
** The clown at Haley's Circus is a recurring character in the {{New 52}} ''{{Nightwing}}''. He's a bit cynical, especially about working in Gotham; Gothamites tend not to be fond of clowns.
* Jack-in-the-Box, a clown-themed superhero in Creator/KurtBusiek's comic ''Comicbook/AstroCity''.
** Jack-in-the-Box is an interesting case in that, depending on the story, he falls under both this trope ''and'' MonsterClown. While Jack-in-the-Box is a fundamentally good person, he's not above using the clown gimmick to scare criminals. Further, his [[BadFuture successors]] Jack and Box are [[MonsterClown genuinely freaky]].
* The heroic White Clown of Borovia from one ''[[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel G.I. Joe]]'' story arc.
* In ''[[ComicBook/MyLittlePonyMicroSeries the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic micro series]]'' Pinkie Pie is a big fan of Ponyacci, an old clown who's on the brink of retirement. Sad to see him go, she goes out of her way to convince him to keep clowning, including singing a ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX2yFKElXoA&feature=player_embedded song]]'' in typical Pinkie Pie fashion.
** Ponyacci, meanwhile, is actually something of a SadClown during his stories -- literally; he doesn't act a clown to hide how sad he is, he's a clown who loves being a clown and is sad that old age is forcing retirement on him. With Pinkie Pie's help, however, he's able to open a school for more non-ironic clowns and resume his former happiness.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Socrates dresses as one for a HalloweenEpisode in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* The clowns from Disney/''{{Dumbo}}'' were rather unsympathetic and mean-spirited when out of character, though this came from their stupidity, not their clownish nature. But during their performance, they were very enthusiastic about getting laughs from the audience. One of the clowns does seem to show at least some sympathy for Dumbo, though. However, the other clowns will have none of it:
-->'''Sympathetic clown:''' Be careful, you'll hurt the little guy.\\
'''Unsympathetic clown #1:''' Aw, go on! Elephants ain't got no feelings!\\
'''Unsympathetic clown #2:''' No, they're made of rubber!
* Stubbs the Clown in ''WereBackADinosaursStory'' is [[TokenGoodTeammate the only friendly character]] in the CircusOfFear.
* {{Pixar}} gives us Chuckles in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'', though he's more of a literal SadClown than a straight example [[spoiler:at least until the end]].
* Flip from ''Anime/LittleNemoAdventuresInSlumberland'' isn't evil, though he ''is'' a CigarChomper and a {{Trickster}}.
* Ulf, one of the pub thugs from ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', is into mime. He makes good use of it when he [[spoiler: [[WeNeedADistraction distracts the palace guards]] to help Flynn escape from prison.]]
* Zip from ''RockAndRule'' was a fan of the in-universe cartoon "Uncle Mikey's Cow-toon Show", starring a clown named Uncle Mikey. While Uncle Mikey was ugly-looking and his choppy animation could have made him rather disturbing to watch, he was actually a sweet character who tried to teach children the difference between good and bad.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* Phroso the clown in ''Film/{{Freaks}}'' is a textbook example -- works hard on new gags for his act, a friend to all the sideshow folk, kind to the pinheads, develops a truly sweet romance with an animal trainer -- really a heck of a guy.
* [[Creator/MarxBrothers Harpo Marx's]] persona had most of the characteristics of a clown, if not the face paint.
* Charlie Chaplin's ''TheCircus'', featuring Chaplin stock player Henry Bergman as an entirely non-ironic clown.
* Helmut, from Creator/JimJarmusch's ''Night on Earth'', the taxi driver used to be a circus clown in East Germany.
* Louison in ''Film/{{Delicatessen}}'' used to be a clown, but he quit when his chimpanzee partner was eaten.
* ''Film/{{Babe}}: Pig In The City'' has Fugly Floom, a kind elderly clown who does shows for children in hospitals despite his failing health.
* Helena's family's circus in ''Film/MirrorMask'' features several clowns, who are friendly and likeable both in and out of makeup.
* ''Film/CirqueDuSoleilWorldsAway'': Has several [[Theatre/{{O}} Le Vieux]], the Sad Clown, and another in the big top who mimes what the ringmaster's saying.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Clarabelle on ''HowdyDoody''.
* Bozo, the "World's Most Famous Clown," had the distinction of being portrayed both by a live actor and as a cartoon on his television program.
* Many personas of Red Skelton: Mean Wittle Kid, [[http://red-skelton.info/articles/clem-kadiddlehopper-red-skeltons-country-bumpkin/ Clem Kadiddlehopper]], [[http://red-skelton.info/articles/freddy-the-freeloader-red-skeltons-famous-hobo-clown/ Freddie the Freeloader]], Gertrude and Heathcliff, and on and on.
* The entire cast of ''Series/TheBigComfyCouch''.
* Fizbo on ''ModernFamily''.
** Cameron takes it into SeriousBusiness territory.
* Russian kids' green screen show ''Komedya Klowna'' (??????? K?????) (mostly) features these.
* JP Patches, who to this day, decades after his show was cancelled, he still performs as his clown character.
* Barnaby, an English sheepdog in a bowler hat and baggy pants who regularly performed on Disney's ''Dumbo's Circus''. He was shown to be friendly if kind of stupid, and he was actually more of a jack-of-all-trades than a clown, also performing magic and the like.
* Charlie Cairoli briefly had a TV show in Britain.
* TheTwoRonnies once did a TearJerker song "People Don't Want Clowns Any More" about how this trope is supposedly dying.
* Bassie from the Dutch childrens series ''Series/BassieEnAdriaan''.
* Pipo De Clown: another Dutch example.
* Baxter from ''Series/TheGreatSpaceCoaster'' is an alien clown, and a very nice guy, who ran away from the circus because the ringmaster was mean.
* On ''Series/TheBennyHillShow'' Benny sometimes played a circus clown of the Emmett Kelly style.
* Justin Fletcher's character Mr. Tumble on TheBBC's ''Something Special'' is an old-school physical clown.
* One of the titular "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" from ''TheTwilightZone'' is an interesting take on this trope. He's not scary in any sense of the word--but he is extremely cynical and borderline depressed, making darkly humorous comments about the group's situation and occasionally breaking down, revealing that he's just as frightened and confused as the rest of the four.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The Music/BillyJoel song "Lenningrad" tells the story of Viktor (an actual person whom Joel met while touring the Soviet Union in 1987), a former member of the Red Army who, after seeing the horrors of war, became a clown, and found happiness bringing joy to children.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* They appear on Creator/WilliamsElectronics' "rollercoaster" series of pinball tables:
** ''Pinball/{{Comet}}'' has a large clown above the entrance to the Fun House.
** ''Pinball/{{Cyclone}}'':
*** The Mystery Wheel on the backglass is operated by a clown.
*** A large clown face appears on the playfield, with the flippers formed by two of his fingers.
*** A clown can be seen on the sides of the cabinet, giving out balloons.
** ''Pinball/{{Hurricane}}'' takes this UpToEleven, with the game dominated by Non Ironic Clowns ''everywhere.'' The only non-Non-Ironic Clown in the game is the MonsterClown face painted on the rollecoaster cars.
--->'''Reviewer:''' "''Hurricane'' should be more appropriately named 'Clowns Go Crazy'."
* The clown on the "Show Time" table of ''VideoGame/SuperPinballIITheAmazingOdyssey'' is a classic example.
* Despite the [[NonIndicativeName edgy name]] of ''VideoGame/PsychoPinball'', there's a totally harmless clown prominently featured on the "Psycho" table.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* All Japan Wrestling's Piko, more commonly known as Command Bolshoi, is fun, not evil and no attempt made to make her look scary but she is among the most competent veterans on the roster and as such, not the butt of many common clown jokes.
* Originally, Doink the Clown was portrayed as a sadistic and tricky [[MonsterClown evil clown]]. He eventually [[HeelFaceTurn turned a new leaf]] and tweaked his pranks to be less cruel and more comedic.[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The tragic clown opera ''{{Pagliacci}}'' (although it must be said that, even if nobody in it is a modern "monster clown" psycho, ''none'' of them are nice people).
* Another tragic example (and a more sympathetic character) is Jack Point from the Creator/GilbertAndSullivan operetta ''Theatre/TheYeomenOfTheGuard'' (the pair's only non-comedic work).
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare's various jester characters, such as Feste from ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'' (and alas, [[Theatre/{{Hamlet}} Poor Yorick]], who never appears on stage from the neck down).
* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil, as noted under the RealLife listing, uses lots of these, but ''Theatre/{{Corteo}}'' is actually '''about''' them; most of the major characters are turn-of-the-20th-century circus clowns. A stated goal of this show was to present funny and lovable clowns to audiences, especially children, who may never have seen them as such.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* The {{LEGO}} Collectible Minifigs line includes a variety of clowns, all of them sincere performers of comedy. Even the Sad Clown.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Gauntlet}}: Dark Legacy'' has a Jester as one of the main classes. While a zany prankster who fights with slapstick, the Jester is portrayed as a well meaning hero who wants to undo the BigBad's [[FisherKing corruption]] of his realm into a CircusOfFear. One of the Jester titles is even Clown.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dropsy}}'' has a particularly sad example. The main character, Dropsy the Clown, is bloated, ugly and monstrous-looking, having all the visual features necessary to be a Monster Clown. But he clearly suffers from some sort of mental disability, has an innocent and child-like demeanor, and is always trying his hardest to make people happy, even when everyone thinks he's a demented freak.
* ''Phoenix Wright: VisualNovel/AceAttorney: [[ColonCancer Justice for All]]'' features Moe, a friendly clown who loves to laugh... and we don't mean [[EvilLaugh like]] [[LaughingMad that]]. Sadly, most of the fandom sees him as TheScrappy, mainly due to him being [[ThatOneLevel That One Witness]].
** The fact that he [[PungeonMaster tells horrible jokes]] doesn't help, although his determination to restore the circus, and [[spoiler:teach Regina the truth about death,]] restores his worth in a lot of fans eyes.
* ''VideoGame/TheSims'': The clown who hassles your Sims is a nuisance, but he's not particularly evil. He's just bad at his job.
* ''VideoGame/{{Hitman}}: Blood Money'' has a clown at a kid's birthday party whose clothes you can steal. The protagonist, 47, even once won a 'Clown of the Year' award. Of course, given the nature of the game, you may end up a MonsterClown instead.
* ''VideoGame/DarkCloud 2'' goes both ways. While you do spend the early portions of the game fighting an evil clown and his circus troupe... you can also unlock a clown outfit for the male protagonist, build clown themed parts for his [[MiniMecha Ridepod]], and be greeted by a perfectly friendly jester fond of hiding in dungeon treasure chests. He might even hook you up with above average loot!
* Boomer, the air-humping clown from ''VideoGame/{{Ballz}}''.
* The title character in the classic arcade game MrDo.
* The title character in the ''Kid Klown'' series of games.[[note]]The first of which was a DolledUpInstallment of a Japanese MickeyMouse game.[[/note]]
* ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheMiracleMask'' features a whole circus of legitimate clowns, including Juggles, a philosopher clown who spends his free time pondering clown tropes. [[EstablishingCharacterMoment When you first find Juggles]], he's wondering why clowns spraying seltzer is funny when spraying water has the same effect.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall:'' Sick of the proliferation of MonsterClown characters, Linkara created Boffo the Clown to be a recurring character. [[spoiler: Unfortunately for him, he was created at the beginning of The Entity's arc and as such promptly was kidnapped by The Entity. (He returned at the end of the arc).]] He's also Linkara's accountant!
** And he has a Twitter.
*** [[TheVoiceless On which he only tweets emoticons]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' has Rainbow the Clown, who is this except for the one time he was temporarily turned into an EnemyMime. The girls still beat him up and toss him into jail after he turns back, but in a later episode he appears at the Powerpuff Girls' birthday party, so it seems he's back into freedom and as cheery as ever.
* [[DisneyChannel Disney's]] clay-animated series ''[[WesternAnimation/JoJosCircus JoJo's Circus]]''
* The 1980s SugarBowl series ''The Little Clowns of Happy Town''.
* Jester in ''JaneAndTheDragon''.
* The JerryLewis-esque clown in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' episode "Clown and Out." (A few of the characters view him as a MonsterClown, however, as they have "clownophobia."[[note]]The actual word for an irrational fear of clowns is "coulrophobia".[[/note]]) He's eventually tricked into entering a rocket ship and blasted to Mars, where he finds [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff he's much more popular among Martian children than Earthling children]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Krusty is a cynical parody of this (more specifically, Bozo), yet despite his being greedy and disinterested, his merchandise being low-quality and dangerous and his show's shrinking budget, he manages to bring joy to children and we occasionally see hints that even after everything, he still loves comedy. Even if he is a hack.
* ''GarfieldAndFriends'': Binky the Clown is another parody. Unlike Krusty, he's passionate about being a clown. And although he's not monstrous or evil, he's incredibly obnoxious and irritating to just about everybody. Played far straighter in the comics, where Garfield genuinely enjoys Binky's antics. That is, when he isn't the target of Binky's antics.
* Max Fleischer's [[OutOfTheInkwell Koko the Clown]], one of the earliest cartoon characters.
* Despite having been a JerkAss to everyone in the series (and even expressing unexplained hatred of clowns), [[RockosModernLife Ed Bighead]] inadvertently discovers his passion for [[IncrediblyLamePun clowning around]], and takes on a second job as a clown. He winds up being the most popular one in O-Town, even more so than his boss. Because he's afraid of what others will think, he tries to hide his second job as a clown in one of the most spectacular displays of DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything on television.
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' has a clown-based imaginary friend named Jokey as a one-shot character.
* Francois the clown flea in the Creator/TexAvery-[[TexAveryMGMCartoons directed MGM cartoon]], "The Flea Circus".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In the 19th Century, [[http://famousclowns.org/famous-clowns/joseph-grimaldi-father-of-modern-clowning/ Joe Grimaldi]] (Joey the Clown).
* Emmet Kelly, Jr.
* [[http://www.avnertheeccentric.com/ Avner the Eccentric]]
* ''Any'' traditional circus clowns, be they part of Ringling Bros., Creator/CirqueDuSoleil, or other troupes.
* While the mere fact that they are ball-jointed dolls might push them into CreepyDoll territory for most people, the Iplehouse [[http://iplehouse.com/home/shop/item.php?it_id=1320362820&nhn1=en Tania Pierrot]] is seemingly clown-themed and played for RuleOfCute.
* PatchAdams. Although he is still a doctor first, and clown second.
* Charlie Cairoli. His son Charlie Junior took over his dad's role after he (Charlie Senior) passed away. Junior is currently still working.
* Late Quebec performer [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Favreau Marc Favreau's]] most iconic character, Sol the clown, who was very much of the "sad hobo clown" variety. Notably, his shows were almost completely non-physical one-man-shows where the [[ThePollyanna naive but optimistic]] Sol would describe, with [[HurricaneOfPuns puns]] and {{malaproper}}s, [[CrapsaccharineWorld a world filled with seemingly happy and positive things that were actually anything but]]. The kicker? [[TomatoInTheMirror It was OUR world, with all its social injustices laid bare]]. A case where ''both'' the clown and his audience had to laugh so as not to cry.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavy_Gravy Wavy Gravy]] is an old-school hippie peace activist clown.
[[/folder]]

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