Why are People Afraid of Clowns?
Coulrophobia, the irrational fear of clowns, needs to be addressed. Almost every time I’ve performed, I’ve met children and adults who tell me they are afraid of clowns. Certain cultures have long associated white-faced and/or colorfully made up and clothed characters from cultural lore or theatrical productions as representative of evil spirits, or spirits of those that have passed on. Many modern movies have featured characters represented by clowns that exhibit evil tendencies and actions.
As a 6′-plus tall clown, I realize that there are those that will be somewhere between slightly unsure about me, to some what apprehensive to absolutely scared spit-less. Well, if I were a 3′ tall child and along comes this twice-as-tall-a-me, quasi-human looking thing with a brightly colored face, a HUGE red nose, clothes that could stop a parade, and shoes that cover half an acre, I’d be little concerned about my own health and well-being, too, that’s for sure.
It is important to know that those fears are valid, that it is okay to be afraid of that which you do not understand. I have a long list of stories about children of all ages who were afraid of clowns before they met Ubi the Clown. I understand how to deal with frightened children and adults. I am able to handle uncomfortable situations graciously and in a professional manner. I strive to inspire laughter, smiles and joy, not cause fear, trepidation and tears.
To begin with, I always make sure that the birthday child him- or herself is not scared of clowns. While there may be young guests in attendance that seem afraid of me at the beginning of my show, usually by the time I have to leave, those that were afraid are clinging to me, and begging me to stay and have more fun. My standard reply to those that tell me that they fear clowns is, “That’s okay, I’m a little bit afraid of you, too!” That usually makes the scared one laugh, as it levels the field. “Here is this big clown and he says he’s ascared of me!” the child thinks. And if you have read this far, go on to read my clownosophy. For over twenty years, my audience has approved of my ability to dispel fears, irrational or otherwise, and to create mirth, merriment, and shenanigans.
I am just trying to change the world, one smiling face at a time…
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