In February of 2014, I reported on an alarming trend: America was running out of clowns. We were down to one clown for every 125,000 Americans.
It reminded folks of the severe humor shortage of the 1950’s, when anyone wearing a red nose was accused of being a Communist. Pundits worried (mostly on Fox News) that this new shortage could be the start of a great depression, and warned that soon depressed Americans would be seen waiting on long lines just to get their faces painted.
Conservatives blamed the President. “We must repeal ObamaCar,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “America cannot afford to get all its clowns into one vehicle.”
Liberals blamed George Bush. “He led us into a war with pies,” Vice President Biden said. “There never was seltzer of mass destruction. America must decrease her dependence on foreign balloon animals.”
Well, I’ve got good news, America. We’ve bounced back like a clown on a trampoline! As has been painfully apparent from the beginning of this election cycle, the U.S. has regained its slapstick supremacy! Now there are plenty of clowns to go around.
There’s just one problem.
Our new clowns aren’t funny.
They have eschewed circuses and birthday parties for the dark passages of our suburbs and the shadowy alleys of our cities. Instead of brightening our days, they are creeping through our nights, causing children and even adults to run for their lives.
Stop laughing–I’m serious.
These so-called “nocturnal clowns” have been spotted in Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
In Aiken County, South Carolina, a radio scanner picked up this bizarre police dispatch:
“Subject dressed in a red and yellow suit with a clown mask through the woods.”
A middle school in Georgia was put in “soft lock down” due to clown sightings. I looked up what a “soft lock down” is:
That means all the classroom doors and exterior building doors are locked. Visitors are asked to state who they are and the nature of their business when they are buzzed into a building.
I’m guessing that, during a soft lock-down, clowns are not automatically buzzed into the building as they would be under non-lock-down conditions.
In Sullivan County, Tennessee, a Pagliaccian perpetrator was spotted outside an apartment complex. “He had blue makeup around his lips, white face paint, couldn’t really see his eyes,” said a witness. “And I barely got a glimpse of his hair. It was different colors.”
A man in Dublin, GA reported that he had to swerve to avoid hitting a clown who was standing in the middle of the road, although it’s possible this was only a deer dressed as a clown. In other towns, men in clown costumes have been seen “standing in a sinister manner beneath streetlights.” The police in LaGrange, GA. posted this on Facebook:
“This behavior is not cute or funny… if applicable, you may face charges.”
It has yet to be determined how much jail time someone can get for standing in a sinister manner or, for that matter, what constitutes a “sinister manner.” I’m thinking just being a clown leaning against a lamppost is pretty sinister, even if you’re slouching.
- Beat Cop: Everyone in the bank was tied up, sir.
- Detective: The perpetrators brought ropes?
- Beat Cop: No, sir. They just pulled long ribbons out of their mouths.
- CSI Guy: Look, a footprint!
- Detective: What would you say that is, Max? A size 48?
Not everyone thinks this creepy clown kookiness is a bad thing. The New Jersey State Police, for instance, posted a warning on Facebook to be on the lookout for malevolent merrymakers, but ended their post with “”If all of the bad people out there stuck out as much as a person dressed as a clown, we wouldn’t have to write posts like this.”
That’s a good point, especially coming from a state with Chris Christie as its governor.
Of course, if this creepy clown thing continues, it’s going to give regular clowns a bad reputation, which, in turn, will discourage people from becoming clowns, which may cause a shortage like we haven’t seen since the great clown drought of 2014.
There’s one sure way to end a drought, though. Just come a little closer to the flower on my lapel.
See you soon.