The Class Clown
"Please, Mr Friedland. Are they a really expensive circus performer?
Yes, very funny Mr. Henley
. Now, can anyone tell me why this trope is so popular? I presume you have something to add this time
"Is it because it alliterates
That's it, Robert Bernard Henley!
See me after class!
This is about that one kid in the class who has to be the center of attention.
They're often a Keet
or Genki Girl
. Depending on how they're played they might be genuinely entertaining and popular, an Attention Whore
or Bratty Half-Pint
who everyone looks down upon or an annoying Jerk Jock
. For added irony
they might well become a teacher
after a Time Skip
. Sometimes you have pairs of class clowns who are Those Two Guys
, school aged Fat and Skinny
are most prone to this.
They're frequently The Nicknamer
and Plucky Comic Relief
. In more serious works they're almost certainly a Sad Clown
or Stepford Smiler
. Sometimes they can be a little rough with their humour, skirting the line with The Bully
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Anime and Manga
- The titular character of Naruto and his brother figure Iruka were both class clowns. Both acted this way out of a desperate need to not be alone any longer.
- Akira Sengoku of Cage of Eden. Which is why pretty much everyone is shocked when they find out he's the one leading the most successful group of survivors.
- Tomo from Azumanga Daioh. Almost always the one to act out and make a scene in class.
Film: Live Action
- Lucas Cott in Johanna Hurwitz's Class Clown. Eventually he grows out of this role and his Foe Yay Slap-Slap-Kiss Toy Ship relationship with Cricket Kaufman becomes friendly as he demonstrates how smart he really is.
- Louis Sachar's Dogs Don't Tell Jokes is about Gary "Goon" Boone, a class clown who learns to take comedy more seriously, paradoxical as that sounds. Gary started out as the Plucky Comic Relief of Sachar's less humorous preceding novel Someday Angeline before receiving a Spin-Off.
- The Weasley twins (and their friend Lee Jordan) in Harry Potter. The twins actually make a profitable career out of this by manufacturing magic sweets, joke items and fireworks. After Harry gave them his Triwizard winnings as a "start-up loan", the twins only stayed on at school for another year so they could field-test their products, many of which helped make life miserable for Umbridge.
- Leo in The Heroes of Olympus admits to being this. Something of a Stepford Smiler, as he only acts likes a goof to protect himself and hide his dark past.
- Pippi Longstocking was this for the one day she gave school a shot.
- Almost everyone on the Sedleigh fire brigade in Mike and Psmith; they have nothing to do during meetings since there's never been any actual fire worth speaking of, and most members joined for the mere joy of bothering the headmaster.
- Homer Yannos is described as having been one in The Tomorrow Series.
- Marco in Animorphs is very much the Sad Clown variety.
- Zane, in Dinoverse, takes this role but abandons it after returning from the Cretaceous - it never really fit him anyway, and he's much smarter than he'd wanted to let on before.
Live Action Television
- An episode of CSI had a much darker take; the class clown was also the school bully who largely got away with being a jerk to everyone by being this. He's shot by the school's counselor, who was caught up in a school shooting once and wanted to stop him before one of his victims stopped seeing the funny side of it and snapped.
- Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He hoped to be named official class clown at graduation but it went to another student who Xander dismissed as a mere 'prop comic'.
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide had an episode about this, with the plot being that the up-to-this-point-unseen class clown character is leaving. As a Class Clown is needed to avoid the students falling into depression, they seek someone to replace them. Gordy reveals he was once a class clown when he was younger, and tries to help Ned take on this role (As Ned was just unable to be funny by himself). Eventually a Deadpan Snarker is picked to take their place, who was unwilling as he didn't want to get in trouble.
- Willie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie was in the corner so often for goofing off, that when he and Laura both got sent to the corner in an episode, he told Laura to get out of "his" corner.
- Bulk and Skull from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were officially bullies but were never shown actually bullying anyone (except in the unaired pilot) and behaved much more like class clowns, trying to show off and ending up slapstick Butt Monkeys of the show and their zany antics would often land them in detention. However, in season three they join the junior police force and go through various jobs all the way into Lost Galaxy.
- Friends: Chandler mentioned he was voted class clown in high school. In present day he's the reigning Deadpan Snarker of the gang, sometimes lapsing into Sad Clown / Stepford Snarker territory.
Stand Up Comedy
- One of George Carlin's earlier routines is all about this. Namely, Carlin himself was a class clown, and in a Catholic school, no less. Which he says made it twice as fun, as "there was always the chance of being struck dead by an angry God." He also noted that laughing in places you aren't supposed to laugh makes the laughter that much better.
- His 1972 album, Class Clown, won the Grammy for best comedy album. He demonstrated that the class clown was the first to discover "the artificial fart under the arm." (or as they call it in New York, "the ahtfificial faht unduh de ahm!!")
- Jon Stewart has said that in high school, he considered it a very important distinction that he was voted funniest, not class clown, in the yearbook.
- A joke that had made the rounds awhile back dealt with a boy at school who made bad grades because he couldn't answer any questions right. One day, he brought a bag of marbles and emptied them all over the floor. The teacher sternly intoned, "Okay, who's the comedian with the colored balls?" The boy piped up "Flip Wilson!"
- In Max Overacts the main character Max thinks the whole world is a stage, and sees his 3rd grade class as his audience. Results are predictable.
- Subverted by The Nostalgia Critic. He acted like a monkey in eighth grade and was pitied highly for it, as well as bullied for that and other things.
- Deconstructed by Cracked.com's John Cheese in his articles  and . In them he explains what happens when you try to keep on being the class clown in the workplace or in college.
- The Simpsons
- In "The Front", Homer and Marge go back to their old high school reunion. The former class clown was the one handing out awards.
- Bart is sometimes portrayed this way. Milhouse once told him that the world needs a clown. In one episode, he even expresses disdain about this role:
"So the substitute teacher comes in and says her name is Mrs. Doody, and everyone's looking at me like "Take it, Bart, run with it!". And it hits me. I've become a clown...a class clown...and it sickens me."
- Ralph Wiggum is the unintentional class clown of Miss Hoover's class.
- Buster from Arthur.
- Carlos on The Magic School Bus.
- Similarly to the comic example, Nightcrawler and Iceman (and by extension, most of the new recruits) fall under this in X-Men: Evolution.
- T.J. Detweiler from Recess, though he has a lot of respect from most of the students, and Miss Grotke finds most of his antics charming.
- Buster Bunny in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures where he is sent to the principal's office for disrupting class. Subverted in that the class was Class Clowning 101 and Buster was sent to the principal's office because his class clowning antics weren't funny enough for him to pass.