Clown duo Morro and Jasp look to stand up for ‘clowmnanity’ and put to bed the myth that all clowns are scary
Every day when we go out, we know we are going to encounter someone who is afraid of us, which is a gut-wrenching feeling. Coulrophobia comes from all the sensationalised horror around clowns in uncreative “entertainment” and from the occasional real-life psychopath – and we have to deal with the mess. It hurts to be thought of as “scary” and “evil” just because some clowns do horrible things.
Very few of us actually put knives in our balloons, for example. And people do horrible things too, but all people don’t get lumped into the same category. Yes, Pennywise the clown from It was scary, but you know who else was scary? Dick Cheney… squirty flower or not.
We’d love to get on a bus without someone changing seats, or apply for a job without being told that we are “insulting them by walking into their store with our so-called ‘giant’ feet” but we face these challenges with patience and love because we are not evil. We’re also not wholeheartedly good and perfect. We are flawed and complex beings just like you. And we have helped countless people overcome their phobias of clowns. And do you know how we’ve done it? By showing them our humanity – or clownmanity, rather.
One of those people who changed seats on the bus eventually gave us a hug. All we did to change her mind was talk to her. People come to our shows and say that we have helped them get over their fear of clowns because “we are different.” Maybe we are, but maybe these people aren’t spending enough time with all the clowns who are worlds away from the overzealous birthday party clown they encountered as a child who had a painted on smile and not enough sensitivity.
Someone told us she didn’t like clowns because we are “unpredictable” and she doesn’t know what’s behind our noses. Okay, maybe we are unpredictable, sometimes. But not popping-out-of-shadows-in-the-depth-of-your-nightmares unpredictable, more like making-you-laugh-and-challenging-your-preconceptions unpredictable. And since when is that a bad thing? Exciting is another way of thinking about it, and that is part of our positive contribution to society. And what’s behind your nose? Your nasal cavity. What’s behind ours? Love.
People should not be afraid of “clowns.” If there was one terrible clown who scared the bejeezus out of you, be afraid of that guy. Then celebrate the wonderful things the rest of us do and rejoice in the sense of play that we bring out in people when they open their hearts to us – because our hearts are huge.
It’s time for clowns to speak out. We will speak. We will yell. We won’t be silent – that’s for the mimes…
Morro and Jasp: Morro and Jasp Do Puberty, Gilded Balloon, 20:00, 5-31 Aug, £10 / listings