Thursday, February 25, 2016

Send OUT the clowns. Now.

I tend to like Cole Porter tunes. Hummable, sing-a-long-able, witty lyrics. But I part company with ol’ Cole when it comes to “Be A Clown.” Because, let’s face it, all the world most decidedly does NOT love a clown. In fact, I can’t think of a single person I know who is anything but creeped out by them. Starting with my sisters who, with me, share an industrial strength case of fear and loathing on the clown trail. Not that we’re actually ever on the clown trail. We, in fact, have an advanced warning system in place. If one of us sees an article on clowns, it’s immediately passed on so that we’ll know who and what to avoid, and where and how to avoid them.

Thus, the topic of clown-dom is not unknown to Pink Slip. My most recent variation on a clown theme was posted just last August. (Fear and loathing? I am nothing if not consistent in my feelings towards clowns.)

Anyway, what my sister Kath shared the other day was an article she’d seen in the NY Times that addressed the sad/creepy/mean/scary clown phenomenon.

Quite sadly, quite scarily, there are more clowns out there to fear and loathe than I had realized.

The one that seemed to draw the ‘een sisters in was Puddles:

…the bearish, nearly seven ­foot­ tall character played by Michael Geier whose cover songs have gone viral. …It wasn’t until I saw a rare New York appearance in January that I appreciated how much he riffed on the idea of the terrifying clown. Puddles, who when not singing is silent, embraces the creepy clown stereotype, invading the space of audience members, sometimes even kissing or, be warned, licking them.

You’ve heard about suicide by cop? How about suicide by clown? Because if I were ever to consider suicide, being licked by a seven foot tall clown would pretty much do it for me.

Geier actually sounds like a not bad person. And I’ve listened to – it’s okay to listen: just don’t watch – a couple of his YouTube videos, and he has a not half-bad voice. And I absolutely get that wanting to be an entertainer (or a writer) means that you’re in for a tough go, career-wise. But does the world need yet another terrifying clown? Is it not enough that we have one who may well end up with President of the United States?

Anyway, on the web site for the Puddles Pity Party – Geier’s business – it’s written:

“Puddles gives an emotive performance that resonates with all kinds of folks,” says Geier. “The crowd really responds to him. There’s something about a giant sad singing clown that comforts us, let’s us know it’s ok to feel, to show our feelings. It’s a sad and beautiful world, and we’re all in it together, even when we’re totally alone.”

Hey, I always realized that “it’s a sad and beautiful world.” And having grown up in a half-Irish/half-German family, it took me the longest while to “know it’s ok to feel, to show our feelings.” Now I’m all for it – within reason, of course. But, really, there is not now, nor ever will there be, any way, shape or form in which “a giant sad singing clown” will provide me with any comfort. Guess I’m just not the kind of folk that something like this resonates with. I really don’t want a complete stranger, especially one kitted out as a clown, to lick me.

Still, I do have to say I have some non-trivial admiration for someone who has found his niche and forged a career in what I’m quite sure is a dog-eat-dog (clown-bash-clown?) profession. It’s just that I’m the type who needs to protect myself, and those I love, from any sort of close encounter with a clown. So, girls, I just did us all a favor, and Puddles doesn’t have any performances scheduled for Boston. We’re safe for now…



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