As ‘the greatest show on earth’ closes, many a Harlequin or Auguste will be returning to their natural habitat – a pie factory, the fevered imagination of Stephen King or ‘a career in frontline politics’. After 146 years Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus plans to launch their captive clowns in a vehicle, where the doors fall off and the engine explodes (- but not be mistaken for Theresa May’s manifesto launch).
Until recently, ‘wild clowns’ had been hunted to extinction for their garish pelts and distinctive ‘Brad Pitt’ noses – with only the occasional rare sighting of a ‘Big Feet’. While the domesticated clown have been around for decades – be they managing NHS reform or organising Sunderland AFC’s back four.
Many clowns are sadly malnourished with only a ‘squirty flower’ or rubber chicken to gnaw on. Animal Rights campaigners have highlighted the cruelty of clown captivity, with disturbing images of Robbie Williams gurning and hurling faeces during a Take That reunion – although friends say this is ‘normal’.
One of the most celebrated clowns of the modern era is ‘BoJo – the Foreign Office klutz’, whose immigration policy has been described as a classic ‘whiteface’ routine. Likewise staff at the Pentagon insist on keeping an orange-faced clown nearby – just for ‘sh$ts and giggles’.