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Elect a Clown and expect a circus.
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Clowns are read as not so much a person as they are a grotesque parody of one. Exaggerated proportions in their noses and feet, skin colors unnatural to any specific human or animal, behavior that range from Ambiguous Disorder to full-on Blue and Orange Morality. The really bad ones are confirmed not to be human and something much, much worse. Because of this, clowns are feared by some and are made a fascinating archetype to others.

Since Coulrophobianote  is commonplace, these are almost Always Chaotic Evil inhuman monsters. Clowns are meant to appeal to children, so they lure them in to eat them. Clowns can perform magic tricks, so they must be magical in origin. Clowns come in droves from a suspiciously saucer-like tent, so it must be hiding a flying saucer, the clowns stealing our cows to bring back to their clown planet to use our milk for their clown cereal to be fed to their clown children's clown breakfast. Clowns perform logic defying tricks and behave beyond rational thought, so they must be some mysterious humanoid horror summoned by ill-informed teenagers.

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Sub-Trope to Planet of Hats. See Magical Clown and Robot Clown for other nonhuman examples of clowns.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Clowns in Soul Eater are living embodiments of fear and madness. The first Clown Maka and Soul encounter in the manga does resemble a monstrous circus clown, with a bulbous nose and permanent grin, but later clowns have different forms.
  • Implied with Vermoud from Dragon Ball Super, the God of Destruction from Universe 11. He's also a Monster Clown and it's not explained just what species he is supposed to be. The series suggests God of Destruction is a position given to powerful mortals, so it's not out of the question that an entire race of clowns exist like him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Klowns from Killer Klowns from Outer Space are a race of alien Monster Clowns that once visited Earth long ago, their appearance becoming assimilated into mankind's collective consciousness as clowns. Unlike their human copiers, the Klowns are anything but harmless, kidnapping humans to drain them of their blood, using tools normally associated with clowns with a lethal twist to kill or capture humans.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Big Comfy Couch features clowns as the main characters. They seem to be 1 to 1 exactly like humans apart from the big red clown noses, however, one episode states that instead of birthdays, they have "Mirthdays" as clowns are apparently born with a number of clowns all start laughing and all that laughter and mirth comes together to form a baby clown.
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    Literature 
  • Mentioned in Daniel Pinkwater's Borgel. The main character, who's stuck at a waystation on an interdimensional highway, encounters all sorts of alien races, including Clown-men from Norfo.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Pueblo Clowns are a type of character celebrated by the Kachina religion and the culture that practices them (Pueblo Tribes of North America). These clowns present themselves with black and white horizontal stripes painted on their bodies and faces, paint black circles around the mouth and eyes, and part their hair in the center and bind it in two bunches which stand upright on each side of the head and are trimmed with corn husks. Legends and customs surrounding them differ, but they are commonly seen as spirits of early man, being tricksters that have emerged from within the Earth and have yet to mature into humanity, their iconography meant for satire and fertility rites.

    Video Games 
  • Nightmarens from the NiGHTS into Dreams... franchise are a race of beings created by the God of Nightmare Wizeman the Wicked to serve him and gather ideya from dreamers unfortunate enough to stumble across them. Third-Level Nightmarens are the least humanoid, resembling monstrous parodies of animals and cartoonish little men. Second-Level Nightmarens are similar to Third-Level Nightmarens but are much larger, acting as Boss Battles, their appearance ranging from animal-like (Claws, Gillwing, Girania, Chamelan, Cerebrus and Queen Bella) to a more exaggerated toy and/or human-esq form (Jackle, Donbalon and Bomamba), all with a clown-like, Art Nouveau design to them. First-Level Nightmarens are both the most powerful as well as the most humanoid, their appearances the most unambiguously Jester-like (NiGHTS and Reala).
  • The Fools from Spyro the Dragon are an Invincible Minor Minion native within the Dream Weavers Worlds. While considerably harmless, they have the ability to affect the world around them. The Fools in Dream Weavers and Jacque's boss level is attacked become a timer that lower or tighten select platforms before the bell rings. The Fools in Dark Passage carry around lamps that, when lit, keep the Demon Dogs and Armored Turtles in their smaller, more docile state, becoming giant and much more of a threat when the lamp is extinguished.
  • Dropsy: Dropsy, the titular clown, initially seems like a very grotesque and weird human, but the ending shows that he actually comes from a race of whitefaced humanoid aliens that live in a spaceship resembling a circus tent.
  • Pokémon
    • Mr Mime from Pokémon Red and Blue is a Psychic/Fairy type Pokemon that is almost humanoid, with clownhair-like horns, elf shoes for feet, and bulbous fingertips with pads. As its name suggests, it likes to mime and is able to create invisible barriers by waving its hands.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduce a pre-evolution to Mr. Mime called Mime Jr., who resembles a small humanoid harlequin with a red nose. Mime Jr. mimics its opponents to confuse them, similar to Mr. Mime's miming. Interestingly enough, a 1997 Space World demo for Pokémon Gold and Silver actually has data for an earlier design for a Mr. Mime pre-evolution, which got scrapped. This one followed similar design principles to Mime Jr., but was egg-shaped instead of humanoid.
    • Blacephalon, one of the Ultra Beasts, resembles a clown mixed with a bomb. Specifically, it uses its own head as an explosive weapon after tricking the opponent through acting funny and harmless. While you can catch only two of them in the Ultra Sun, it's implied that, like other Ultra Beasts, the ones the player encounters is just two of a species.
  • Almost the entire purpleblood caste of trolls in Hiveswap and Hiveswap Friendsim follows an unnamed religion— they wear juggalo makeup, drink faygo, have honks in their theme music, and are otherwise very clown-adjacent. Apart from background characters, every one so far has been a member of the church.
  • A downplayed example in NieR: Automata involves a culture of Machine Lifeforms inhabiting the ruins of an ancient amusement park universally adopting clown-like attires, and despite the latter looking rather creepy, the amusement park machines are staunch pacifists and will stick to their nonviolent ways even when infected by the logic virus that makes every other machine form go berserk.

    Web Comics 
  • The Clowns of Bongo And Luna, such as title character Bongo, are a sub-species of humanity. Believed to be the result of some type of Clown God mating long ago with humans. They can also tap into a Reality Warper ability called the 'Clown Force'.
  • In Homestuck, prototyping the kernel with an item causes all of the denizens of the players' planets to take on the characteristics of that item. When John prototypes his kernel with a harlequin doll, this populates his planet with clown-themed monster mooks. These come in a shapes in sizes but share a clown-like appearance and a propensity for japery and visual gags.

    Web Original 
  • Tropers: The Series: The mimes in "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" are implied to be their own species. They all come from a "mime factory" in Tropesberg, they are never seen without their costumes or breaking character, and their mime is treated as a separate language (which Puma, being a Non-Ironic Clown, is fluent in as well.)

    Western Animation 
  • In the short-lived children's cartoon Little Clowns Of Happytown:
    • The titular Little Clowns may or may not be a species separate from humans. Despite looking like little kids in clown suits, they seem to be only ever referred to as "clowns", and they come from a Sugar Bowl land to spread happiness to other parts of the world.
    • A more straight example would be Clownimals, which at first look like just normal circus animals (an elephant, a seal, etc.) wearing clown facepaint and other accessories. However, the show's theme song informs us of their true nature:
    And Clownimals don't have clownface on like Little Clowns, THAT'S HOW THEY'RE BORN!
  • In the The Fairly OddParents! special "School's Out! The Musical", the film's antagonist Flappy Bob was originally the clown-baby of clown parents in a circus that was given up when they thought that they were about to die in a train-accident to carry on their "super hilarious (and kind of creepy) clown heritage"... that is if they had noticed that they were on the not destroyed train tracks.
  • In the remake of Danger Mouse, the Bozorians are aliens who look exactly like clowns, and whose technology and culture is based on clownishness (custard pies, balloon animals, etc). They aren't inherently evil, but they find being laughed at very offensive.


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