It’s been quite the time for clowns in the media, most prominently in American Horror Story: Freak Show. It isn’t like the creepy clown is anything new, it just seems to have a new spotlight shined on it thanks to the show and all those recent sightings in California and the UK.
The problem is how it is making real clowns look bad and throwing them on the offensive. We covered how the Clowns of America International were upset with AHS for their depiction, but now another is speaking out to try and clear the name of clowns everywhere.
Randy Christensen, also known as Oxford P. Nuts, is the president of the World Clown Association and a keeper of the idea that clowns are just good family fun. He chatted with Vulture’s David Marchese recently about the troubles with being a clown in today’s landscape and where he thinks we went wrong with our view of clown culture. From Vulture:
What do people need to understand about the problem with scary clowns?
Technically, I don’t even refer to horror clowns as clowns. They’re horror characters. American Horror Show [sic] — I think for the first season, they had Santa Claus with an ax. Is that what Santa’s really like? No. People use their imaginations different ways, but we’re proponents of good, clean, wholesome, family-friendly, cheerful comedy.
So scary clowns aren’t real clowns? Is that right?
People need to realize that there are different entertainment venues. We understand there’s a horror genre and some people really love being scared, but our goal is not to bring screams. Our goal is to bring laughs and smiles. Comic relief is something that encourages people, edifies people, helps relieve stress. The horror genre doesn’t relieve stress — it brings stress. So to be compared to Stephen King’s It is a false comparison. It’s like comparing apples and hamburgers.
IT seems to get a lot of the criticism from the WCA president, but I have to disagree. Clowns were scary long before Stephen King used one to terrorize children from the sewers. He notes this and claims that the association is attempting to combat the issues presented by clowns to children:
Forget Halloween. There is something innately scary about clowns, right?
Ninety-five percent of people I’ve talked to that said they were afraid of clowns had something happen negatively when they were children. They felt like they were cornered by this character they didn’t understand. I think we all understand that when you can’t read somebody’s face, you don’t know how to connect with them. So we have the same situation with clowning as we do with Mickey Mouse at Disney World. Every kid loves Mickey Mouse — until he’s six feet tall and they’re supposed to give him a hug. They don’t know who’s behind the mask.
I suppose that these are the kind of interactions he’s referring to, right? I’m a big fan of hamburgers.