Note there are specific kinds of clowns in the real world. People may fear the auguste
, the stereotypical clown who acts and dress the most flamboyantly. Whiteface
clowns are unsettling because they are unexpectedly intelligent, even scheming. Character clowns
- like Emmett Kelly's "Weary Willie"
- by contrast have very muted designs, and can be difficult to identify by the TV audience. You rarely see them anymore.
Real world clowns clown
: while clowning is intended to be funny, it can be received as ritualised (self) humiliation, and make modern audiences quite sick to the stomach.
That John Wayne Gacy
, one of the most famous serial killers in the United States, worked part-time as a clown doesn't really help their case. You don't want your
kids around the Monster Clown, but the character's parents seem oblivious to their kid's fears. The AP once used a stock photo of Gacy for National Clown day
A 2007 University of Sheffield study
found that both young and older children universally fear or dislike clown images. Now a lot of hospital wings for child patients will have to be repainted.
(Quote from the BBC article: Researcher Dr Penny Curtis said: "As adults we make assumptions about what works for children. We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.")