The Barest of things...
This weekend’s big entertainment news is the release of the film remake of a mini-series that was based on a book that was written more than 30 years ago. I hear you, Hollywood… Fresh ideas are hard and we would not want you to strain yourself trying to come up with them. Stick to what you know, which is everything that has already been done. Sigh. I digress…
In light of the release of the film version of It, people are acting all batty once again about scary clowns. Yes, I know the phobia is a real thing – I live with it in my own home as I hear The Wife gasp in fear every time Ronald McDonald shows up on our television screen. I just cannot seem to grasp what is so scary about a damn clown and why people are so passionate about their phobia. I do not care much for heights but I hardly squeal like a frightened school girl every time I see a ladder.
What is a clown, really? A grown man in makeup. I will run down the street in lady’s underwear before I find myself shaking in fear of a grown man in makeup. Does Ru Paul scare you? How about Caitlyn Jenner? What about every single actor or television news anchor that has ever stepped in front of a camera? There’s makeup on every single one of them but I never heard of anyone suffering from an intense Brad Pitt or Matt Lauer phobia.
As a plot device, yes, I agree that It villain Pennywise is an imposing, terrifying character both in print and on screen. You know who else was? Jason and Michael Myers. Nobody complained about their fear of hockey goalies or unfinished William Shatner masks, though, as somehow we understand “characters” as long as they do not resemble something as life threatening as circus entertainers.
I will admit that in the history of clowndom, there was one scary one. His name was John Wayne Gacy and if you were a young man in Chicago in the 1970’s, you are well within your rights to be a little standoffish to the trade. By day, he worked as Pogo the Clown and by night he raped and murdered innocent young men so, yes, they are not all fun loving citizens. Off the top of my head, though, I can think of some clowns that brought pure joy to our lives and it is a shame that some people demonize them out of their own illogical fear. To name a few, off the top of my head…
Homey D. Clown - If you are not a fan of In Living Color’s clown, well, Homey don’t play that.
Killer Clowns From Outer Space - For my money, this is arguably the best bad horror movie of all time and an important part of my formative years.
Krusty the Clown - Nothing about The Simpsons is scary, especially Krusty. His sidekick was a little shady though, I will admit.
Red Skelton - he played a clown, he painted them, and he aimed to entertain as one. A puppy is more terrifying than this classic comedian.
The Joker - Batman would not be Batman if we did not have the Joker and we never would have had the “Who was better, Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger?” debate without him either. (The correct answer is Jack Nicholson, by the way)
Bozo The Clown - Ok, he was a little creepy. Not “I’m afraid of him” creepy but, rather, “stay a safe distance from my kid, please” creepy.
Get off your clown kick, people. There are no scary clowns waiting to eat you in the woods and, even if there were, they would sooner hand you a balloon animal than come after you with a machete. Do you know why? Because clowns do not have machetes - they have rubber noses that honk and plastic flowers that squirt water. I think we are all going to be ok here.