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Clown School

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"That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough! I'm going to clown college!"
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons, "Homie the Clown"note 

Do clowns need an education? Well, at least in fiction they do.

A Clown School is where people go to learn circus comedy roles and skills. They're usually staffed by Clowns — the jokey, non ironic variety. The classes there usually range from developing a character, makeup and costuming, using props, pie throwing to Puns to other forms of jokes (But never the practical mean-spirited ones). Sometimes used as a punishment for something or other (usually bad grades), or maybe the character thinks that it might happen for that reason.

Not to be confused with Class Clown, though they may get decent grades there. Also not to be confused with the Disney School of Acting and Mime. Also unrelated to Monster Clowns and Sad Clowns, thought they might be dropouts. Clown Colleges are related in name only.


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    Comic Books 
  • Pinkie Pie's issue of the My Little Pony Micro Series ends with her suggesting her idol Poniacci teaches one as his retirement from being a clown.

    Fan Works 
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: One of the (many) insults the Wolf throws at Euron is asking if he's naturally inept or needed to be taught.
    Were you born this clumsy or did you take lessons? Give me the name of your teacher in idiocy so I can congratulate him on the summits his pupil has reached in the art of being a clown!

  • Discworld has the Fool's Guild, where young men are apprenticed to become court jesters and the like. Depicted as a terrible place where comedy is Serious Business. A Running Gag is to compare the Fools' Guild to the Assassins' Guild, which it is directly next to, and make the Fools' Guild sound worse.
  • The Fools' Guild book series by Alan Gordon stars Theopholus aka Feste the Fool from Twelfth Night and his wife as fools cum secret agents. The Guild is also a training school for young fools to become Fools and agents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Baskets: Protagonist Chip attended The Académie de Clown Français, a serious and prestigious clown school in Paris to pursue his ambition in clowning but failed miserably upon returning to the States at the pilot.
  • On an episode of The West Wing, Penn Jillette makes an insightful defense of his flag burning trick. He's asked if he had gone to law school. He responds, "No, clown school."
  • The Suite Life on Deck: After Cody is blamed for turning the daughter of a strict college recruiter into a wild party girl, her father insults him by saying that not only will he not be going to his college, but that he'd be lucky if he got into clown college.
  • In an episode of Teachers (2016), Principal Pearson reveals that he spent a year at a French clown college.

    Video Games 


    Web Videos 
  • SuperMarioLogan: "Jeffy the Clown" has Jeffy going to clown college only for it to be run by the failed clown Screwball, who is too talentless and lazy to properly teach him, telling him not to bother trying to juggle because it's too hard and that the only balloon animals he needs to make are a snake and a worm, which just consists of inflating a green or pink balloon.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of American Dad!, Steve attends a clown class, but finds out that Roger is the teacher, which is no surprise.
    Steve: (to another clown student) The teacher here is supposed to be the most intense and demanding instructor in all of clowning, and — shit, it's Roger, isn't it? It's going to be Roger.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer Goes to College", when Homer announces that he has to go to college to keep his job, Bart asks "Barber or clown?".
    • In "Homie the Clown", Homer goes to clown school to become a Krusty impersonator. The episode was made possible because Homer and Krusty look alike with the exception of the green hair sported by Krusty, as seen in "Krusty Gets Busted". The clown is seen without white makeup in some scenes.
    • Subverted in this exchange between Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil in "Brother from Another Series":
      Bob: You wanted to be Krusty's sidekick since you were five! What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college.
      Cecil: I'll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.
    • Krusty founds another clown school in "Clown V. Board of Education", this one aimed at elementary-school-aged children. Besides performance, the Herschel Krustofsky School for the Clowning Arts teaches standard grade school subjects, though using unconventional methods (i.e., physics taught by calculating the trajectories of thrown pies), and proves far more effective at educating Bart and his Book Dumb friends than the Sucky School they typically attend, to the point that they handily beat the three highest-achieving students from said school in a Science Bowl.
  • Bobby from King of the Hill attends a clowing class at the local college. He's disappointed to learn that the class teaches Commedia dell'Arte-type clowning instead of circus clowning, and the teacher takes it very seriously. Hank has to save Bobby from going to a talent show with his new act because he knows that nobody will find that "jester crap" to be funny, just weird.
  • Acme Looniversity on Tiny Toon Adventures is essentially this. Along with normal high school courses, the students also study how to do Wild Takes and other Zany Cartoon tropes, taught by the original Looney Tunes cast.
  • There is an episode of CatDog where the titular duo go to clown school. It's played like a boot camp, with a drill instructor and parachute jumping.
  • A fighting variation appears in Yin Yang Yo!. Yin and Yang spend the episode learning Clown-Fu, a martial arts based on clowning around. Yo was a former practitioner and Yang excels at it. However, the techniques do not the work on humorless foes (here, the accountants) resulting in the kids using their Woo-Fu to defeat said accountants.
  • The Loud House has Clyde mentioning that Giggles is Luan's clown friend from clown school, which was mentioned and never seen.
  • The basic premise of JoJo's Circus is JoJo and her classmates all attending kiddie clown school. Their parents are graduates.

    Real Life 
  • Clown Schools actually exist, and some theater colleges have majors made with clowns in mind.
    • Dell'Arte International, in California.
    • Center for Movement Theatre, in Washington DC
    • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, which closed in 1997
  • Yoshimoto New Star Creation is a Japanese and non-college level example.