Jocycharacter, a comically self-serving clown who alternated between arrogant gloating and cringing cowardice. Hard economic times, as during the Great Depression, made popular the hobo clown, best exemplified by Emmett Kelly. By that time, however, motion pictures, especially the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton , began to supplant the live clown acts, relegating clowning to a circus sideshow entertainment.
See H. Sobol, Clowns (1982) C. Gaskin, A Day in the Life of a Circus Clown (1987).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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