Fear The Clown

Al Cunard, founder of the Cunard Family of Clowns in New Jersey has taken his Final Taxi.

The clown with the funny little pompadour, whose antics had brought smiles to the faces of thousands had been doing it for more than 40 years. Cunard pressed many people into clownship at one time or another and some liked it enough that their enthusiasm for the greasepaint rubbed off on friends. The clowns visited hospitals, raised money for charities and performed in parades all thanks to Al Cunard.

Of all the good these clowns do, there are people who don’t think clowns are funny, in fact there is a fear of clowns called coulrophobia. My older child has this problem. Even as a teenager he gets chills thinking about the paste- white skin.

Coulrophobia is an abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns. It is not uncommon among children, but is also sometimes found in teenagers and adults as well. Sufferers sometimes acquire a fear of clowns after having a bad experience with one personally, or seeing a sinister portrayal of one in the media.

You see this fear in several TV shows. On The Simpsons, one episode has Bart scared of clowns and chants the phase. “Can’t sleep, clown will eat me.” (This was later used as the basis for an Alice Cooper song.)  On an episode of Family Guy, Chris Griffin is cowering in his bed and says “I wish that scary clown at the end of my bed would go away!” The scene cuts to the end of his bed where Ronald McDonald is casually sitting in a chair and draws a pair of golden arches in mid-air.

The No. 1 reason many people are scared of clowns is the movie “It,” that came out in 1990, the station reported.

Granted, the killer clown, played by Tim Curry, in “It” is scary, but the fear of clowns has been around forever.

Another horror film with evil clowns is called “Killer Klowns From Outer Space.”

“You can’t tell what’s going on behind the clown face,” said Dr. Linda Welsh, a psychologist. Welsh said that the expressive nature of body language is all hidden behind a clown’s makeup and costume.  “So you often get uncomfortable and don’t know how to act – even anxious and frightened,”

But clown organizations know about their scary image, and some individual clowns are trying to do something about it.

“I’m a mommy clown,” said Judy Tudy, who from the new age of friendly clowns.

“We, as clowns, have conventions all over the United States and we are working very, very hard at making the clown population better all the time. We have a clown code of ethics. We have certain ways we’re supposed to dress. Not smoke tobacco,” Rudy Tudy said.

Clowns work hard in trying not to appear scary and for some people it is working.

Then you have the news that Ronald E. Schroeder, who performs as Silly the Clown, a professional clown is standing trial on sexual assault and domestic violence charges and will also will face a child pornography charge.

This makes it one step forward and two steps back for clowns.

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