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Class Clown

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The Class Clown is...yes, Bobby?

"Please, Miss 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 Bobby?

"Is it because it alliterates, miss?"

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, and may end up as a Non-Ironic Clown. In more serious works they're almost certainly a Sad Clown or Stepford Smiler, and may be the Teacher's Unfavorite Student. Sometimes some of them can be a little rough with their humour, skirting the line with The Bully at times.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Raimu "Rairi" Kouno of Kaiju Girl Caramelise was this in middle school, being very good-humored about her gorilla-like appearance and having a general interest in comedy theater, where a lot of her humor came from making fun of her own appearance. This stopped when her crush making fun of her appearance behind her back traumatized her and made her very insecure about her looks.
  • 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 is almost always the one to act out and make a scene in class.
  • Sousuke of Full Metal Panic! doesn't try to be one. In fact, he takes his class duties very seriously and strives to be as helpful and productive as possible, even joining the student council as the Head of Security. It's just that he has no idea how to act like a good student instead of the Crazy Survivalist Child Soldier he grew up as, so he winds up disrupting class in absolutely absurd ways such as releasing smoke bombs in class (obstinately to calm the class down) or systematically dismantling his teacher's brand new Mini Cooper (suspecting the unfamiliar vehicle might be a Car Bomb). Ms. Kagurazaka has taken to addressing him separately from the rest of the class just to remind him how done she is with his "assistance".

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Becoming Lífþrasir: According to Camicazi, there is always a student in a dragon-taming class that thinks that they have a better method that Hiccup/Cattongue's and generally causes trouble. Hiccup/Cattongue has a method for dealing with every one of them, whether its Snotlout who he singles out to tame the Monstrous Nightmare (Snotlout forced to go through with it lest he looks like a coward) or Gustav forced to carry three heavy buckets of fish for picking on younger students.
  • In The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H., Liv Krustofsky serves as this to Mrs. Gunderson's second-grade class. Justified, as not only is she a New Transfer Student who had never attended a public school before second grade (thus, respect for her teachers was never instilled into her), she's also a child actress who stars alongside an actual clown on The Krusty The Clown Show.
  • The Victors Project:
    • Dido Castameri, victor of the 39th Hunger Games was pulling pranks and cracking jokes at the expense of her instructors throughout most of her career training, and even the three days of Tribute Training. Just some of the things she was reprimanded for over the years include drawing rude stick figures in the boys' dormitory, spitting on the nice carpets, pulling a Laxative Prank on a special guest speaker, doing a victory jig on the lunch table after being selected as tribute, painting a penis on the camouflage instructors forehead (and another one on the floor when he left to clean up), calling the fire and shelter trainer Davy Crockett and the archery instructor Pocahontas, playing King of the Mountain on the official climbing wall and starting a food fight.
    • Before winning the 55th Hunger Games Mitt Compton was one, always disrupting class with jokes back in District 6, painting mustaches on the training dummies and treating his interview with Caesar like a "comedy club."

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Clueless: Travis isn't exactly a serious person in class, even giving a thank you speech after being told he has the worst attendance record in the class. Given how he's The Stoner some of it might be unintentional spaciness though,
  • Dance of the Dead: Jimmy, the main character. During biology class, he's seen playing with the frogs.
  • The Emperor's Club: Sedgewick Bell is a rebellious troublemaker who, when asked to name Roman emperors, says he only knows seven and then names the seven dwarves. Another time, he gets the whole class to slam their books shut at the same time to startle their teacher.
  • Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a goof-off whose teacher says he has wasted eight hours of class time over the past year.
  • Hackers: Emmanuel/Cereal Killer comes across as one. He shows up for the wrong classes (possibly on purpose) and writes down an Ozzie Osborne quote referencing drugs when asked to quote a great thinker.
  • Hello Mary-Lou: Prom Night II does this interestingly, having Kelly, the class clown character, also be the Alpha Bitch (or Lovable Alpha Bitch depending on which fans you ask). Kelly is self-aggrandizing in a playful, deliberately scene stealing way, such as doing a flamenco impression while talking about prom and playing keep away with the volleyball in gym class.

  • Lucas Cott in Johanna Hurwitz's Class Clown. Eventually, he grows out of this role and his Slap-Slap-Kiss Puppy Love 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 like 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.
  • Everworld: Christopher's clowning borders on the obnoxious and offensive, because he is very sad. Like, on-the-path to juvenile alcoholism sad.
  • 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.
  • Razz in Don't Call Me Ishmael!. He’s very loud and prefers having fun to paying attention in class. He also likes to make fun of his teachers sometimes, such as when Mr Barker uses him as an example of how not to wear the school uniform and Razz pretends to be on a catwalk.
  • The Winnie Years: Alex Plotkin is an annoying boy who's always goofing around.
  • Jacky Ha Ha tends to pull pranks and make jokes during class, which contributed to her nickname.
  • Herbert Weisenheimer, or "Wing-Ding", was this in the National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 the 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 the present day, he's the reigning Deadpan Snarker of the gang, sometimes lapsing into Sad Clown / Stepford Snarker territory.
  • Rory in Little Lunch. He spends so much time in the principal's office that the spot where naughty kids have to sit is known as 'Rory's Spot'. Of course, he has other behavioural issues as well.
  • Benjamin from Kindergarten is a goofy kid who is always making trouble and annoying his classmates.
  • Hank is this in Hank Zipzer. It's a deliberate ploy on his part to use humour to divert attention away from his learning difficulties: figuring that it is better to have the class laughing with him rather than at him.

  • Eminem self-describes as one on multiple songs. He developed this personality trait in school as a way of compensating for his shyness and has been a goofy wind-up comedian ever since, often lapsing into silly accents and cracking ridiculous puns.

    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 ahtificial 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 a while 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!"

    Video Games 
  • Hidehiko "Brown" Uesugi from Persona fancies himself a comedian in order to impress his peers. While this means he mostly just spouts off So Unfunny, It's Funny outdated jokes and puns, Persona 2 shows he later became a real comedian with his own talk show.

    Visual Novels 

  • 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.
  • NEXT!! Sound Of The Future: When she was in idol training, Shine would goof off in class and not take things seriously, doing things such as purposely messing up her singing and dancing, which earned her the ire of her teacher and more dedicated classmates even though her friends would often laugh at her antics. This ends up backfiring on her later when she becomes physically unable to sing, and the entire class ostracizes her for it because they think she's just joking around and making excuses for being lazy.

    Web Original 
  • 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's John Cheese in his articles [1] and [2]. In them, he explains what happens when you try to keep on being the class clown in the workplace or in college.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 is the resident jokester of his class.
  • 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.
  • Gravity Falls episode "A Tale of Two Stans" implies that Stan was one in his youth, supported by clips of him fooling around at school during the growing-up montage. However, this trope is deconstructed- Stan spent more time clowning around than studying, his future plans summed up as "Let my smarter twin brother do the heavy thinking", and when his family got fed up with this attitude and cut him off, found himself without any serious skills to get by in the world.
  • Sid the Invisible Man expy in Gravedale High describes himself as the class clown, as a side effect of being invisible (and thus often ignored).
  • The Joker was supposed to be this in the aborted animated series Gotham High.
  • In the Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Fozzie's Last Laugh", Fozzie is this when the babies play school, and his antics result in Piggy, who plays the teacher, giving him an F.



Being anti-authority, Eda defaults to this.

How well does it match the trope?

4.53 (17 votes)

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