Where in the U.S. are today's coolest clowns?
February 27, 2014 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Depending upon which news source you actually trust, we're in the middle of a nationwide clown shortage. But not so fast, bozo — evidently, there are still plenty of 'em to go around. So here's my question: where in the U.S. are today's coolest clowns? Not the sad kind, not the scary kind, but the innovative, interesting ones. I'm thinking Cirque du Soleil meets Pierrot: amazing makeup, costumes, and an overall awesome vibe. Help?
posted by Lillitatiana to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Avner the Eccentric

He occasionally performs with the Flying Karamazov Brothers, who don't use makeup but probably qualify as clowns anyway.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:34 PM on February 27, 2014


Clowns Ex Machina is a NYC based troupe of all women clowns.
posted by Sophont at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2014


A dude I went to high school with, Joel Jeske
posted by Ironmouth at 2:38 PM on February 27, 2014


Unfortunately, you missed your chance to see Barry Lubin perform with the Big Apple Circus; he left in 2012. But the Big Apple Circus always has a lot of clowns, and they put on a good show.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:40 PM on February 27, 2014


I think the Ballet Trocadero have to be considered clowns. It's a bunch of men who do ballet in drag.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:53 PM on February 27, 2014


(Sorry I keep adding things; they just keep occurring to me.)

Bill Irwin is a great clown; truly awesome. But part of his style is that he doesn't use makeup.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:57 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is Canada close enough to the US to count? We have several sarcastic clown troupes here in Toronto, a few come out of the Canadian Clowning School and/or appear at the Toronto Festival of Clowns. I thought Montreal also had a thriving clown scene (thanks in no part due to Cirque de Soleil) and I have seen several riffs off CdS from ex-members but I can't recommend specific names, sorry.
posted by saucysault at 2:57 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Circus Amok (NYC) performs about a wide variety of political and social justice issues.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:58 PM on February 27, 2014


I think NYC is the obvious place for clowning around, but there must be in smaller places in the US, too. Clown communities, so to speak. (Thanks for your help so far!)
posted by Lillitatiana at 3:39 PM on February 27, 2014


Sarasota was the last location of the Ringling Brothers Clown College, but it closed in 1997.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:01 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Depending how expansively you define "clowns", the Dell'Arte Company (and their School of Physical Theatre) are located in teeny tiny Blue Lake, CA. They are one of the only companies/institutions (maybe the only one?) in the country focusing on clown, mask, and commedia dell'arte performance. For 20 years, they've hosted the Mad River Festival, showcasing performers of comedy, music, clown, and puppetry.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:03 PM on February 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love Red Bastard and the Acrobuffos (warning, site has music), who were featured in the NYTimes Habitats column.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:35 PM on February 27, 2014


My friend Crimebo should be on that list.
posted by Scram at 4:41 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Circus Flora has pretty much the only clowns I can stand.
posted by limeonaire at 5:11 PM on February 27, 2014


But not so fast, bozo

umm..ok
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:51 PM on February 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


@ BozoBurgerBonanza it was part of the headline.
posted by Lillitatiana at 8:32 PM on February 27, 2014


I have no idea if you would consider this in any way innovative or interesting but I'll let you decide for yourself, Ouchy the Clown.

I can't imagine there will ever be another AskMe in which this link will be an appropriate answer.
posted by emilyw at 11:16 AM on February 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think the clowns that I've seen perform in Cirque Mechanics (twice) have been really good. No makeup or outfits to say, but the audience actually liked it when the clown hung out among them.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:35 PM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


No love for Puddles? (Bonus, great "Royals" cover.)
posted by xedrik at 10:27 PM on March 3, 2014


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