What’s particularly interesting about this Smithsonian article is the section beginning with Grimaldi, the father of modern clowns, and the deevolution of clowning from a comedic performance to the opposite, the projection of our deepest and darkest fears (the fear of the other) onto a person with makeup that is supposed to make us laugh.
Some parts of the article seem a little…dramatic, but if we’re talking about clowns, I’m not sure it’s inappropriate to have that tone.
Nonetheless, it’s a very interesting concept to think about: the modern clown and their place on stage today. Do they even have a place? Or, like the article suggests, they’re better off now just hanging out in hospitals, providing company to the sick akin to service dogs. Is that a performance in and of itself?