As we face what is almost certainly a global clown pandemic, we present this guide to TV's most haunting clowns.
Jeremy Cassar

13 Oct 2016 - 12:22 PM  UPDATED 13 Oct 2016 - 12:27 PM

This week, citizens of the world stood together with one voice and asked: What the cracked-whiteface is going on with these clowns?

This too-nightmarish-to-be-true trend is freaking the fudge out of kids and adults alike the world over; making each and every one of us want to cling to/dust off our childhood pillows and embrace them for eternity

Incidentally, my childhood pillows were covered in clowns. Yes, I know, blah blah, who gives a clown’s ass, writer.

Clowns are known to go to every length to come across friendly and are a little *too fixated* on spreading cheer. All that effort to convince us they’re happy-go-lucky suggests a sinister truth lurking within - one that’s too horrendous to even imagine.

Or perhaps we’ve just seen too many creepy clowns on screen. Who knows, maybe Ronald McDonald is a really great guy? Let’s investigate.

Hungry Imaginary Clowns, The Simpsons

We doubt Bart Simpson has seen It, unless Nelson scored a copy in an episode where he and Bart aren’t enemies, but in ‘Lisa’s First Word’ from season 4, no reminder of loveable, yet surly, Krusty the Clown can save poor Bart from Homer’s redecorating disaster.  

 “Can’t sleep, clown will eat me”.

Canio (Crazy Joe Divola), Seinfeld.

Crazy Joe Divola enjoyed stalking Jerry almost as much as he dug the classic character of Canio from the classic Italian opera Pagliacci.

As Canio, Divola creeped the living sugar out of Jerry, Elaine, and even everyone’s buddy, Kramer, before going on to beat the living pulp out of a bunch of 90s hoodlums.

Twisty the Clown, American Horror Story

For some reason, Twisty is so deliriously over-the-top, and the writer’s went to such extents to try and make the clown horrifying, that I reckon he’s actually less creepy than your everyday children’s entertainer.

Twisty’s more on the grotesque side, having shot-gunned his jaw off in a botched suicide and replaced it with a huge, menacing prosthetic.

Unfortunately, Twisty still functions under the delusion that kids find him entertaining. That part is creepy.


Pennywise, IT.

Was it poor ol’ Tim Curry that ruined clowns for everyone? Stephen King may have written a grotesque book that puts the TV-movie to shame, but Curry’s interpretation of Pennywise the clown still gives 45-year-old’s night terrors/reasons to visit a cognitive behavioural therapist.

Sometimes when I pass a gutter, I still hear “they float, they all float”. I’m fine, right?

Fizbo, Modern Family.

Technically, anytime Uncle Cam (Eric Stonestreet) gets his clown on, Modern Family fans are meant to smile and embrace the oncoming hilarity.

To some, Fizbo gives the opposite impression—resembling and acting like a guy who might fill balloons with a sedative gas and drive around in an old, roomy van.

Ew, Fizbo. Surely you’ve seen It.


Clown, Adventure Island.

John Michael Howson, a mainstay in the Aussie entertainment industry for the past fifty years, but before becoming our pre-Richard Wilkins go-to Hollywood correspondent, the man created and headed up the late-60s children’s show Adventure Island.

Going by the name of ‘Clown’, Howson’s character usually spent each episode saving the day from ‘the baddies’ despite the fact that he was a little creepy himself.

I guess kids were just more resilient back then.


Robot Clowns, Doctor Who.

Depending on the mood you’re in, or perhaps what kind of individual you are, these colourful android clowns will either make you scoff at the ridiculousness, or retreat, unsettled. 

Such is the complexity of the clown.

The Joker, Batman: The Animated Series

Though the broader movie-going public still rain a torrent of praise on Heath Ledger’s virtuosic take on the classic DC villain, rabid Batman fans swear by Mark Hamill’s interpretation as closer to the comic’s original spirit.

It’s not difficult to see why—Hamill capitalises on the freedom of voice work, piercing viewers with his high-frequency laugh and unbridled theatricality.

Now say after me: "It's just a cartoon. It's just a cartoon. It's just a cartoon..."

* * * *

There you have it. Eight TV clowns that definitely won’t eat you. Definitely. Certainly. Probably not. 

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