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Monster Clown / Live-Action TV

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  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
    • Zeebo the Clown, the ghost of a criminal who haunted a haunted house (go figure); and the Crimson Clown, something of a cross between a Monster Clown and a Demonic Dummy.
    • The Ghastly Grinner. He's a jester but he still fits the mark.
  • The Clown in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Thaw" was created as virtual-reality entertainment for a race in suspended animation. The Clown became self-aware and sadistically scared to death anyone who opposed it.
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  • The Avengers episode "Look (Stop Me if You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellas..." has a pair of killer clowns whose boss is a Punch and Judy puppet.
  • CSI: NY's episode "To What End?" had a guy dressed as a clown who walked into a bakery and shot the owner point blank as the man was decorating the place for his son's 6th birthday party. Turns out, the owner wasn't who he seemed and had hired a hitman to off the other guy, who was just trying to survive.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Within the Matrix, this is one of the forms the Fourth Doctor's mysterious opponent takes in "The Deadly Assassin", though only to taunt him.
    • The murderous robot clowns in "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". The Chief Clown, the only actually human one, is a servant of Eldritch Abominations who has come to enjoy any spectacle of brutality or murder. He also taunts one of his former colleagues on supposedly not being able to stop the Big Bads. The Novelization also implies him to be a greedy Pagliaccio.
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    • "The God Complex" inevitably features a clown as one of the apparitions created by an evil hotel which torments people with their greatest fear.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode "Nightmares", everyone was menaced by their worst dreams, including public nudity, death, and...
    Xander: (runs into Willow while fleeing, panicked) Remember my sixth birthday party?
    Willow: Oh yeah! When the clown chased you, and you got so scared you went... oh.
  • A special fear of Sam's on Supernatural
    • The show had a demon (a rakshasa, to be precise) that took the shape of a clown so children would trust it. (Yeah, 'cause nothing inspires trust like... oh, never mind.)
    • Demonic clowns also served as enforcers for a Suck E. Cheese's where "bad" parents were being knocked off.
    • A Season 14 episode features the ghost of John Wayne Gacy (see the Real Life section). Dean notes that this is both the best and worst thing that could happen to Sam (seeing as he loves serial killers but has the aforementioned fear of clowns).
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  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will, Carlton, and Uncle Phil are taken hostage by a mentally unstable clown named Chuckles and he forces them to take him to the courthouse to perform in his act or else he'll blow them up with a bomb he keeps strapped to himself. It turns out that the bomb was never real, just a gag prop he used in his grand finale, which wasn't funny. Fortunately, the clown is arrested in the end.
  • In "Sylvia," a bizarre two-part episode from the seventh season of Little House on the Prairie a man disguised as a clown rapes and impregnates Albert's girlfriend. The clown, his victim, and the unborn child all die in the end.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Send in the Clowns", Midsomer is terrorized by sightings of a scary looking clown roaming the streets carrying a bunch of balloons (or a lollipop) in one hand, and a machete in the other.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: In "No Clowning Around," the Yellow Ranger's cousin is harassed by an evil clown that turns out to be Rita's Pineoctopus monster.
    • Power Rangers generally has at least one clown-based monster per season.
    • One notable example was Puppet Man, who started out as an honest clown (or more accurately, a Robot Buddy who was a clown's sidekick) but whom was corrupted and turned evil by King Mondo's magic. Fortunately, after the Rangers defeated him, Alpha 5 managed to rebuild him (installing new software to prevent it from happening again).
  • The David Bowie-esque Pierrot in Ashes to Ashes (2008) which evokes the one from the song of the same name's Music Video. Which turns out to be representative of Alex's father, who killed himself and his wife.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • Mentioned half-jokingly by Colonel Sheppard when one of the natives asks him if he's afraid of the Wraith. He says no, what he's really afraid of is clowns, eventually adding he's at war with them too. They try to fight them off, he says, but there's hundreds of them, pouring out of Volkswagons.
    • And brought out for real when Rodney McKay and Sheppard are being attacked by an entity that feeds on their worst nightmares: rowing a boat through a stormy whale-infested sea... with a clown sitting behind them.
  • As the title suggests, The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Day of the Clown". "Odd Bob" is really the Pied Piper and some sort of Anthropomorphic Personification of childhood fear.
  • Hysterically funny subversion from 80s Sitcom The Hogan Family: David is dragooned into playing a clown at a birthday party, and the girl he's been chasing walks in on him, stares and says "David?" He stares at her in shock, then pulls the clown suit up to cover his head and says in a squeaky voice "No, it's just me, Bobo the headless clown!" Cue the children screaming in fear and the audience howling with laughter for about a solid minute.
    Joey: Okay, ducks is heads, because ducks have heads!
    Chandler:...Kind of scary-ass clowns came to your birthday??
  • Subverted with the ghost Flabber in Beetleborgs. He's clownish but he's more friendly than monstrous.
  • Bones: Agent Seeley Booth has a problem with clowns. He shot one once. It was on top of an ice cream truck. He had to be psychoanalyzed. In a later Halloween episode Booth and Bones investigate a serial killer who terrifies victims to death. When Booth confronts the killer, said killer is dressed as a clown. Presumably because clowns terrify everyone.
  • The League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou, a demonic, polygamist blackface minstrel who runs a Circus of Fear. Season 3 reveals that he doesn't actually wear any makeup. That's his actual skin.
  • Saturday Night Live: Jack Handey had the right idea: "To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my Dad."
  • Seinfeld had a schizophrenic character at one point who was rather unstable, and was shown playing the role of Canio in Pagliaci, a clown. While wandering the city in his clown makeup, he encounters a gang of toughs who should know better than to hassle a clown.
  • An episode of Charmed had the girls being terrorized by their worst nightmares. Paige's was a scary clown.
  • The guys at MST3K had the clowns' number, riffing on the short "Here Comes The Circus" (aka "Here Comes The DEVIL!")
    • Joel can't turn off the holo-clown sequencer and after three weeks it gets really tense and scary. "Hey little girl, would you like a salted nut roll?"
  • In one episode of Married... with Children, Peg hired Sticky the Clown for Bud's birthday, even though Marcy had commented he had just been paroled. Exactly what he did to end up in prison wasn't known, but he spent the time waiting for Bud and Al to come home "torturing" a teddy bear with a knife and drinking whiskey. (He was gone when they did get home, but the knife was embedded in the wall; again, what happened was left to the imagination.)
  • One Step Beyond has an episode called "The Clown", where a clown haunts a man, appearing in reflections reaching for his throat. Averted Trope as the clown is the good guy, avenging the man's murdered wife.
  • Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City was scared of the clown Brady's grandmother hired for his 1st birthday: "Nothing is scarier than a clown."
  • This Romper Room opening. Pop goes the weasel, and the jack in the box comes out of his house...and he looks INSANE.
  • Kreegan, from Cleopatra 2525 is murderous, sadistic, and for no readily apparent reason, resembles a clown crossed with Gene Simmons of KISS. The Grand Finale reveals that his skin has become unnaturally pale as a result of him being a Human Popsicle, so he chose to wear clown makeup to hide it.
  • Googler from Ace Lightning. More of a Monster Jester really, but still close enough.
  • Subverted in the Criminal Minds episode "Damaged". The killer turned out to be a clown... who was severely mentally retarded, and committed the double homicide during a tantrum.
  • In the Halloween Episode of iCarly, when the iCarly trio is in a darkened apartment, they take cover in a closet and encounter a disembodied clown head, which leaves them terrified... but eventually we find out that it was just a phone that is hardly ever used anymore. Plus, Nathan Kress, the actor who plays Freddie, has stated that he is afraid of clowns himself.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "We All Scream For Icecream", the ghost of an ice cream-truck-driving clown who the main character and his Jerkass friend accidentally murdered when they were kids comes back for revenge with his disturbingly happy attitude. And because he drove an ice cream truck, everything around suddenly gets immeasurably cold (by the way, the Jerkass friend inexplicably and gruesomely melted. It was a really weird episode.)
  • In Living Color!: Although not evil per se, Homey D. Clown is still one big jerk. The reason for his Jerkassery? He's actually an ex-convict working as a clown, which is part of his prison release work program, and his lifelong enemy is The Man.
  • In episode "18-5-4" of The Mentalist, the victim's fear of clowns was used to give him a particularly traumatic death.
  • Played for laughs with Doctor Blake Downs in Childrens Hospital, a Patch Adams expy who believes he can cure anything with laughter despite being utterly unfunny, caustic and permanently soaked in blood.
  • Averted in The Haunting Hour episode "Afraid of Clowns." Clowns are apparently a race of creepy humanoid creatures but are relatively friendly and supportive of the coulrophobic main character, who is horrified when he becomes a clown himself at puberty.
  • Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy features a screeching purple clown named "The Audience" who lives on a cloud and produces mashed potato sculptures from his hollow abdomen. He shows no particular signs of being evil, but he's still terrifying and bizarre in the extreme.
  • Subversion in the whole-fish episode of Good Eats. At the beginning, Alton is at a support group for people who have a fear of cooking and eating whole fish (including, ironically, a fisherman), but he's there waiting for the coulrophobic support group. At the end of the episode, he is hosting a dinner party (serving the dishes he made in the episode) for a bunch of Non Ironic Clowns, in order to help him get over his fear of them.
  • One of the board games that Lily's father invents on How I Met Your Mother is titled "There's a Clown Demon Under the Bed". Not the best way to comfort your daughter after a nightmare.
  • On The Huntress, Dottie and Brandi go after a skip who's entertaining at a kid's birthday party—as a clown. Just so the children aren't traumatized after seeing bounty hunters wrestle him to the ground and drag him off into custody, Dottie tells them that it's okay because there are good clowns and bad clowns. The clown swears at her; Dottie says, "See? Bad clown!"
  • Totally subverted in the German action series Der Clown. The clown from the title isn't a villain but the protagonist secret identity: he is a vigilante wearing a clown mask to fight crime.
  • Leo Johnson of Twin Peaks — already a violent, unbalanced and abusive bastard — comes out of a vegetative state after a period of abuse by Shelly and Bobby, brain-damaged and vengeful. The cake and frosting smeared on his face, the party hat and his extremely wide smile give him this appearance.
  • An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit once featured a side plot where Rollins and Fin went around the neighborhood on Halloween to make sure registered sex offenders weren't opening the door to children. Most of the offenders are sullen and angry, but compliant. Naturally, there's one pedophile dressed up in full clown regalia who opens the door with a gleeful "Who wants a treat?"
  • On an episode of Night Court, Jack Riley (Mr. Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show) is arraigned as "Mr. Frou Frou":
    Clerk: The charges are gambling, disorderly conduct, inciting a riot, attempted assault, attacking an officer and resisting arrest.
    Judge: What, no lewd behavior?
    Clown: I was too drunk.
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show has Twisty the Clown. He is mute, wears what appears to be a skinned human mask with realistic teeth and a mouth spread in a constant horrible grin.
    • His tricks start out mundane enough. Producing flowers, making balloon animals, pulling out juggling pins, etc. If he happens to screw up a balloon animal, however, or just when he gets bored...Berserk Button and Monster Clown incoming.
    • Also what's under his mouth. He has no bottom jaw.
    • Despite all of this, when his backstory is revealed, he's actually the most tragic character in the season. And despite being a Monster Clown, he's not the main antagonist. Surprisingly, it's a spoiled heir.
  • GameCenter CX: In the beginning of the 18th Season, a pair of tuxedo-clad clowns transform the king into an elephant and turn his castle into a haunted circus. In each episode, they ask the King a trivia question at the beginning. At the end of the episode, the King answers; if he gets it wrong, they attack him.
  • Used in a third-season episode of Scare Tactics for a teenager set to babysit a little girl, only instead of a clown statue, it's the little girl's Not-So-Imaginary Friend.
  • Cannon: In "The Salinas Jackpot", two thieves disguised as rodeo clown rob the cashier's office at a rodeo. When one of them is recognised, they murder everybody in the office.
  • A Running Gag on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is John's belief that all clowns are monster clowns.
    Clowns are not for entertainment. Clowns are for murder threats, attempted murder, and actual murder.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Slightly referenced when Jessica sees that Trish has reinforced her apartment with bulletproof windows, a steel-reinforced door, and turned Jessica's old bedroom into a gym:
    Jessica Jones: Trish, what are you afraid of?
    Trish Walker: Not much anymore. Except clowns, but that’s just common sense.
  • Gotham has two monster clowns: Jerome Valeska and his identical twin brother, Jeremiah Valeska. That would be somewhat surprising, considering that there is only one famous monster clown in the Batman comics, and the series is made up of origin stories for many of the comic characters, including important villains. However, only one of the brothers survives long enough to become the future Joker.
  • Second Chance (2016): Clowns as Acceptable Targets invoked when Jimmy and Duvall visit an old amusement park.
    Jimmy: Did I ever take you here as a kid?
    Duvall: Once. You punched a clown.
    Jimmy: I punched a clown? (beat) Did he deserve it?
    Duvall: He was a clown.
  • The 4400: In "Fear Itself", Ray Heugen hallucinates that everyone around him is a killer clown after being exposed to Brandon Powell's ability to induce fear.
  • "Uncle Oswald. Book him if you hate children." (Comedy duo Hale and Pace take on the trope. It's the framing, technically the clown is no monster.)

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