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Clown college

Tuition was free but entry was difficult. Buster Keaton and Bugs Bunny were on the curriculum. You graduated with a wig, giant shoes, and full makeup. Welcome to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

From 1968 until 1997 the college trained clowns in the act of professional buffoonery. Apparently the entry requirements were rigorous (including psychological tests), but once you got in you would be equipped with a range of essential circus skills: pantomine, juggling, stilt-walking, and more.

And they had some famous graduates too: Bill Irwin of Elmo’s World (I mentioned him in an earlier post); Steve-O from Jackass; Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame; and Steven Banks, who amongst other things was head writer of Spongebob Squarepants for six years.

The college closed in 1997. I wonder where aspirational clowns go now?

Categories: Arts Education & philosophy Film & television Theatre

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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