Clowning Around [NOT 24/2/23]

I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh?

Detail from Five Clowns With One in Wheelbarrow / ca. 1890 / Calvert Litho Co. / source:

What’s Your Slapstick Tolerance?

I know that it’s pretty standard to mock clowns, or treat them as creepy, but I’ve never minded them. I think I first saw one when my elementary school went on a field trip to the circus, and I thought they were kind of funny.

Punch and Judy / L.M. Glackens / 1913 / source:

I think the Three Stooges are hilarious. When I was a kid, I watched plenty of their movies on TV. Mel Brooks’s broad humor and old silent movies make me laugh too.

But then other slapstick is unbearable to me. I can’t stand Jerry Lewis, and Rowan Atkinson’s endless mugging as Mr. Bean is unwatchable.

I think I find something smug and mannered about their performances which leaves me cold. They end up reminding me of someone like Jimmy Fallon.

Five Clowns With One in Wheelbarrow / ca. 1890 / Calvert Litho Co. / source:

So where do you fall, Deadplinterpratfallists? Do you love some, all, or none of this kind of broad, physical humor? And if you do, where does it fit in all of the rest of humor? Are you a bigger fan of clever fast-patter wordplay, along the lines of a Cary Grant – Katherine Hepburn screwball comedy? Do you lean toward absurdist humor like early Steve Martin movies? Observational bits?

Or are you definitely a pie in the face, seltzer down the pants, nose in pliers kind of person?



  1. I never found clowns particularly scary. Or funny either. I like slapstick, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy make me laugh.

  2. That Puck cover is interesting. It shows Wilson’s Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan doing something to his Public Duties, but I don’t know what, I’m guessing neglecting them so he could take to the summertime Chautauqua lecture circuit. Bryan loved nothing more than speaking before and whipping up a large crowd. He ran for President three times, after all. The Chautauqua lectures are still a thing: Salman Rushdie was delivering one last August when he was attacked by that lunatic.

      • I wrote code to a very antiquated plugin that no longer works to make it work (hopefully) so when a post doesn’t publish on its scheduled time, it will within 15 minutes all on its own. The plugin checks for missed publishing times in 15 minute intervals.

    • One of things that I don’t like about sitcoms is the pacing where there’s rarely any real back and forth because the actors are always directed to leave dead air for the laugh track.

      It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one exception that I can think of, where the characters are always talking on top of each other.

  3. I loved the three stooges growing up. in fact, i used to record them on the vcr every sunday, as they’d be on from 11-1 just before football, and i’d type – on an actual typewriter – the episodes that were on each cassette. i no longer have the vcr cassettes (however; every episode and movie are on my plex server) but i still have the lists i typed.

    i loved mr. bean in my mid teens. i thought he was hilarious but it was also nostalgic for me with his little cars and old school apartments with wallpaper and whatnot. generally, i think rowan atkinson is one of the best physical actors ever. as nostalgic as three’s company is for me, i doubt the late, great john ritter would have any issues with me saying so?

    i also like to think of the vast difference between the deadpan king, keaton, and the facial expression king, atkinson.

    …but kings and queens and our current various opinions…

    i’d equate lucille ball and audra lindley to atkinson.

    i’m having a hard time equating anyone to keaton on the deadpan front.

    but like all art, it’s really just a matter of taste. my taste has changed over the years but i’ll always appreciate the art/artists for what it/they is/were.


  4. I grew up loving the Three Stooges–whether it was Larry, Moe, & Shemp, Curly, or Curly Joe!

    I also liked Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, and I Love Lucy (especially the Vitavegemeatamin bit!😄😆🤣💖), and The Honeymooners as a kid.

    I also liked Mr. Bean as a teen & early 20-something, and wholly agree that Atkinson is currently the absolute BEST slapstick/physical actor alive…

    But I love him even more in the old Blackadder stuff😉😁🤗

    I honestly think I probably loved House for much longer than I ought to have, because the first times I saw Hugh Laurie were on that show, and I adored *his* range in House, becauseci was so used to “knowing” him as the near-literal incarnation of a “mindless fop!”😉😄🤣

    So seeing him play, “bitter, cynical, brliant, *American*” so flawlessly made me adore the ranges of basically everyone I’d seen in Blackadder💖

    Another British comedian I’ve adored is Eddie Izzard–her stand up stuff is hilarious, especially these old greats;

    Whenever I buy a baguette & use it for a meal with my roommates, “I have a French loaf!” usually gets said😆💖


      • when all of this first started, during the demise of the kinjaverse as we knew it, jake edited the very last post i wanted to share in the kinjaverse…for the sake of his ability to take my incoherent words and present them in a way that makes sense…and he, as he does, thought of a better clip to insert to make my point than my three stooges clip. i was so adamant that it be the three stooges clip that he eventually relented.

        as much as i appreciate his assistance, i regret that i was so adamant because it was way better with his preferred clip.

        …but i’m still kind of glad it was left as the three stooges.

  5. Today I learned that the new American Girl doll is a high schooler in 1999. If you don’t know that franchise, they began as historical dolls to help kids learn about history through toys, like Felicity whose story was set in 1776.

    1999 was a high school year for me. Might as wel order my coffin now.

    Anyways, while feeling really old, I took myself to CVS to feel better (wow yes because I am an old) and there I helped a nice man and his 13 yr old daughter with some acne skin care. He asked if I was in college and I was like wow thanks actually I’m 39. So anyways, thanks rando dude at CVS for making me feel better. Also thanks random dude for being really caring about your young teenage daughter and wanting her to feel better about her skin.

    • One of the funniest things I’ve read, in a droll, sly way, was the old Gawker review of the American Girl Doll restaurant in New York by Caity Weaver and Rich Juzwiak.

      They managed to capture the absurdity of non-doll owners eating there without turning it into mockery of the girls who ate there.

  6. Growing up, The Stooges were my three dads.  Larry is of course the Best Stooge because he was very musical and seemed the most comfortable in women’s clothing.

    I admit to liking Jerry Lewis but not so much because he’s funny but because he’s so incredibly weird.  Same with Benny Hill.

    In conclusion, I enjoy most humor as long as it’s done well.  I do not care for “cringe” comedy like Rehearsal, but I’m probably just too old to get it.


  7. I’m absolutely all about the early Steve Martin comedies. And his stand-up.

    I’m completely non-committal about clowns and the Three Stooges. Not my thing, but I don’t see anything sinister about them.

Leave a Reply