Quotes / Sad Clown

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    Anime and Manga 

Wolfwood: Well, I'll be. I'm actually surprised that you can smile like that.
Vash: Huh? What do you mean?
Wolfwood: Ya had me kind of worried. I noticed that you always smile and seem really friendly. But the way you smiled was so empty, it hurt to watch you. You're hurting like crazy on the inside, yet you grin and bear it.

     Comic Books 
Rocket: Listen... I got good ears, okay. I hear stuff. Little pauses. Tremors, inflections, stuff like that. And... well, I guess... Aw, flark. Are you okay, buddy?
Deadpool: [narrating] And I really want to make a joke. Make a funny. Be the funny joke, so nobody knows, so nobody can see... But that's the rule, isn't it? No funny in the gutter.

I lose a lot, guys. No matter what I do, I always seem to lose. But I refuse to be beaten. So I make jokes. I get up right in life's face and mock it into oblivion. Because when I do that, I show life that it won't beat me. Ever. [...] Also, my jokes are amazing and it would be a crime against the universe not to utter them. Wolverine thought I was hilarious. He's dead now, so you can't ask him, but he said it all the time.
Spider-Man, Inhuman Special

I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed, life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world. Doctor says, "Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. "But doctor," he says, "I am Pagliacci."
Good joke. Everybody laughs. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
Rorschach, Watchmen

     Fan Works 

Cloud: Come on, let's head into the arena and ask if anyone's seen aaaanythinnnnng...
Cait Sith: Well geez, don't all speak up at once! Hahahaha! I am sorry, sometimes you just gotta laugh at death.
Mog: And cry at life.

Yes, it's all true. You can see behind Mitsuzane's smile are stained with a clown's tears.

Kirito: You, uh, you okay, buddy?
Corvatz: Do not fear, my friends... Corvatz... can never... d- (shatters to one last guitar strum)
Kirito: H-huh, wow, I guess you could say... he went out on a high note?
Klein: Really, man?! A pun?!
Kirito: What, what's- what's wrong, I'm, I'm a funny guy, it's what I do...
ALF Red Shirt: Someone help me! Please!
Kirito: I-I mean, what do you expect from me? It's not like I care about any of this.
ALF Red Shirt: Please, I don't wanna die!
Kirito: I mean why would I care, I shouldn't care, I DON'T CARE!
ALF Red Shirt: Noooooooo!

    Film — Live-Action 

Mr. Silky String: And just who is this "Phantom Lady"?
Patrick "Kitten" Braden: Well, it's my mother really. I call her that... to pretend it's a story. That's happening to someone else, you see.
String: Why do you pretend that?
Kitten:: Because otherwise I might cry and never stop.

Deadpool: Ripley! From Alien≥!
Negasonic Teenage Warhead: Fuck, you're old.
Deadpool: Ha ha! Fake laugh... hiding real pain.


I've taken a good, long look at the world, and I've concluded that if I didn't laugh I'd probably break down crying.
Silk, The Mallorean

If you can't keep the bad thoughts out, at least you can make fun of them while they're there.

For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon — laughter. Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution — these can lift at a colossal humbug, — push it a little — crowd it a little — weaken it a little, century by century: but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand.
Mark Twain, "The Chronicle of Young Satan," Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts

In a cruel land, you either learned to laugh at cruelty or spent your life weeping.

    Live-Action TV 

What do I "think"? I think I'm tired. I think I'm sick and tired of wearing bells on my toes and making like everything's gonna be O.K. I think it's pathetic that lately I'm too scared and sad to tell people the truth so I just say what they wanna hear instead. Most of all, I think the term 'Happy Hour' should be banned from the English language. There's nothing happy about this hour or any other. What I know is I started drinking the moment that I found out that a girl I loved was gonna die. Every time I get to the bottom of the glass, I hope that that last drop is gonna take me the distance. A simple plan that failed utterly, which is why I'm gonna heave my tuchus off this stool, strap the bells on, and with a smile and a quip, go back into the belly of a very ugly beast and pretend like I can help. 'Cause that's what the green guy does.
Lorne, Angel, "Underneath"

You're quite the funny man — and yet, I think, laughing on purpose at the darkness.
Mrs Finnegan, Doctor Who, "Smith and Jones"

Chandler: Oh thatís great, with my luck, thatís gonna be him.
Phoebe: Him? Him, Ross?
Chandler: Nope, hymn 253, His Eyes Are On The Sparrow! (off their looks) When my parents got divorced is when I started using humour as a defence mechanism.

And the punchline was the Blackout. When the world went back to being one giant schoolyard, and the Billy Underwoodís are in charge and I am weak and afraid.
Aaron Pittman, Revolution, "No Quarter"

Yeah, I find I have to be the sad clown: laughing on the outside, crying on the inside.


Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask, I am wearing a frown
The Beatles, "I'm a Loser"

Five days a workweek
It's in my face
Pie in my face
It sucks to be a clown
Jonathan Coulton, "Bozo's Lament"

Ha! Marshall you're so funny man
You should be a comedian, God damn!'
Unfortunately I am
I just hide behind the tears of a clown
Eminem, "Beautiful"

Tomorrow comes tomorrow goes, but the cloud remains the same.
Wonder why heís feeling down? Tears of a clown.
Maybe itís all just for the best, lay his weary head to rest.
He was forever feeling drowned, Tears of a clown.
Iron Maiden, "Tears of a Clown"

The children love the show, but they fail to see the anguish in my eyes

Inside, my heart is breaking
My makeup may be flaking
But my smile still stays on...
Queen, "The Show Must Go On"

There's some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there's no one around.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "Tears of a Clown"


And if Harlequin shall steal your Columbine,
Laugh, Pagliaccio, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
Your pain and sobbing into a funny face - Ah!
Laugh, Pagliaccio,
At your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!
— English translation of Canio's "Vesti la giubba," from Ruggero Leoncavello's Pagliacci

There's always a funny man in the game,
But he's only funny by mistake.
But ev'ryone laughs at him just the same.
They don't see his painted heart break.
Cocky, The Roar of the Greasepaint—The Smell of the Crowd, "The Joker"

Though your wife ran away with a soldier that day,
And took with her your trifle of money;
Bless your heart, they don't mind ó
They're exceedingly kind ó
They don't blame you ó as long as you're funny!
Jack Point, The Yeomen of the Guard

    Video Games 

Warden: This is the part where you deflect questions with humour?
Alistair: I'd use my shield, but I think you'd actually see me hiding behind it.

I mean, when you look at me, you wouldn't think that I'm anything but a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky joker. But that isn't the real me. Behind all the quips and laughs, I'm a mess of hang-ups.
Prompto Argentum, Final Fantasy XV

    Web Original 

By now you know that Robin Williams has committed suicide, but I'm not here to talk about him. He's gone, and you're still here, and suicidal thoughts are so common among our readers and writers that our message board has a hidden section where moderators can coordinate responses to suicide threats [...] Now do you want me to tell you how many messages/comments/emails we get from fans telling a writer to 'kill yourself' because said writer wrote a joke they didn't like? When I ban them, they always act confused as to why.

It's terrifying to think that Williams could accomplish so much and yet find himself driven to suicide. He reached the pinnacle of both the comic profession and the acting profession. He was wealthy. He invented the blueprint for comic acting longevity (comic movies, then a gradual transition to serious fare) that many actors have followed since. He fulfilled every show business dream that you or I had as a child, and yet it wasn't enough. I am trained as an American to believe that career success and financial success are twin salves that can cure all wounds, but Williams's death is a harrowing reminder that it's all a lie. The idea that you can fall into a despair that trumps all that is scary as hell.

And frankly, I'd prefer not to think about it. I think I'd prefer to shut that all out and have a laugh instead...It's a fantastic distraction from pain and loss, and Robin Williams probably knew that better than anyone.

    Real Life 

Wanting to please people, to only tell them what they wanted to hear, became very deeply a part of me, as it probably did with most children who felt uncertain of the tactic needed to avoid a blow. [...] That's how it is with incomplete personalities.
Tom Baker, Who On Earth is Tom Baker?

As a great admirer of the late Benny Hill, I was looking forward to working with him and getting to know him. The first part was a pleasure but the second part was impossible. Benny was very pleasant to all of us — unfailingly courteous, kind and professional, but it was not possible to make any real contact with him. He was a truly solitary soul and never mixed with the cast socially, even when we were all staying together at the same hotel. Like a lot of comedians I have known, Benny seemed a sad person.
Michael Caine on the making of The Italian Job

Being funny is not the same as being happy.
Dana Gould

I adored Sammy, but he was wary of that kind of affection; He came with a lot of baggage. Onstage, he was a star. Offstage, he had to use a maintenance door to get into his hotel room at night.
Alan King on Sammy Davis, Jr., Name Dropping

With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.

Comedy is the blues for people who can't sing.

...look at the blood on the manís hands. 900 years, countless very selfish choices, and heís literally blown planets up. His own race, you know, thatís all on his hands. Which is why I think he has to make silly jokes and wear a fez. Because if he didn't, heíd hang himself.

The secret source of all humor is sorrow.