Here’s my theory. With the release of a new version of Stephen King’s It, I half suspect that the reason we’ve been seeing a lot of scary clowns in the news lately is that someone started dressing up as a form of viral promotion and things got out of hand. That’s just my theory, though. King himself had a very nice public statement recently about how most clowns out there aren’t of the scary variety, and are stand up and cheer decent people just trying to make a living. In that vein, here are clown books that AREN’T scary in the least, and celebrate those good-natured souls that have willingly taken on one of the trickiest of jobs.
And for the record, finding material about non-creepy clowns is much much harder than finding scary stuff.
Fred the Clown by Robert Langridge
A graphic novel indebted to such influences as Max Fleisher’s animated cartoons (e.g., Betty Boop), comic strips ( Peanuts, Garfield, etc.), underground cartoonists (Crumb, Deitch), and picture-book artists (Seuss, Gorey), Langridge gives us a hero that’s as funny as he is touching.
Cooks, Clowns, and Cowboys: 101 Skills and Experiences to Discover on Your Travels by Andrew Bain
If you want a book that encourages hands-on, immersive experiences around the world, this is the one to try. Clowning is just a small part of all the wonderful things you can do. If nothing else, this can also be a book for someone searching for a new hobby.
Funny: The Book: Everything You Wanted to Know About Comedy by David Misch
This book is has a far wider reach than mere clowning, but you’ll find that covered alongside speculations about sitcoms, religion, silent films, and more.
I’d no sooner put together a clown list and fail to mention Fellini than I would put on a clown costume and forget the red nose. Fellini’s childhood fascination with clowning began in his youth. In this, one of his lesser known film, he allows it his full adult attention.
Clown Paintings by Diane Keaton
I said this was just going to be a collection of non-creepy clowns and I stand by it, though I suspect some folks might find Keaton’s collection a bit on the odd side. Apparently Diane Keaton has been collecting clown paintings for years. Accompanying some of the paintings in her collection is commentary from such comics as (big breath now) Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Roseanne Barr, Candice Bergen, Sandra Berhard, Carol Burnett, Chevy Chase, Larry David, Ellen Degeneres, Danny Devito, Phyllis Diller, Carrie Fisher, Whoopi Goldberg, Bobcat Goldthwait, Goldie Hawn, Eric Idle, Don Knotts, Lisa Kudrow, Nathan Lane, Jay Leno, Jerry Lewis (naturally), Garry Marshall, Steve Martin, Harold Ramis, Paul Reubens, Michael Richards, Joan Rivers, Garry Shandling, Martin Short, Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, John Waters, and Robin Williams. Something for everyone then.
Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vicky Leon
Yep. Right there in the subtitle. “Funeral clown”. I’m out.