Roll up, roll up! Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s my astute honour that today we’re inviting you into our fine tent to show you a menagerie of mind-boggling clowns and jesters, all for your entertainment. Some of these are naughty, some are nice, but if you’ve got Coulrophobia then this might not be the Top 10 for you.
Without further adieu, it’s time to pull back the curtains and give our fine entertainers a round of applause – Oh and perhaps a little pinch of fear helps you along the way with some of these, too. This is our list of our personal Top 10 Clowns and Jesters.
#10 Zeds (During Halloween Event) – Killing Floor
In 2012, we saw the arrival of a new event over on Killing Floor. During the Halloween period, we were introduced to the Summer Sideshow, a really fun and twisted view on the world of carnivals and zombies. I mean hey, we’re geeks, we love games and we love zombies, so why not have some zombie clowns whilst we’re at it?!
There’s not too much to say about this, these are simply reskins of the existing Zeds, but the visual effect is simply staggeringly well done. I’m always reminded of Pukey the Clown as shown above, because whenever I think of an enemy clown in a game, my mind generally goes back to Pukey now, before I remember a few ot the other clowns below. It didn’t change how the game was played, but hey, if you’ve got a phobia of clowns, this game certainly wasn’t going to help cure that for you!
#9 Shaco – League of Legends
Demon Jesters are quite a nasty mix in general… And usually they’re not on your side. They’re out there to get you, after all! Not in this particular case, as you get to control the jester itself, which gave it an extra point in our eyes. It’s not very often that you get to play as the jester or clown, so it’s always nice to see a bit of pandering to this side of things. So let’s now talk a little bit about Shaco himself and about how the Demon Jester theme suits him.
Shaco is an assassin in League of Legends, meaning that he’s all about being subtle and doing big damage. Part of the joy of Shaco is that he revels in the pain and misery he causes, which seems like a weird thing to find joy in that he enjoys that so much! Shacos name is an anagram of chaos, which suits him to a tee, as he’s effective League of Legends very own version of The Joker, or of Kefka. Intriguingly, it’s as if they went “Hmm, now what is the most chaotic thing we can think about for a villain? Oh, let’s think about those two specific characters and make one out of it.”
Shaco is nasty!
#8 Puddles Pity Party
He stands silently behind the microphone, the audience in rapt silence in the face of his blank gaze as he waits for his cue, lantern at his side, suitcase in hand, greasepaint on face. A vision in white, a leviathan in tears, the music his only companion, and then he sings.
Puddles shot to fame after a few guest appearances with Postmodern Jukebox, but the man deserved his spotlight long before then. The sad clown with a golden voice is one of the greatest performers of the age, and while he may not be all that funny, he has tragedy at his very core, and he pours it into the hearts of his listeners like it filled a bucket, and he fell calamitously to the ground sending it spilling over the audience.
#7 The Black Clown – Soul Eater
Clowns in Soul Eater aren’t exactly the same as we know of them in the real world. No, instead they’re usually creations that harbour pure fear itself. They’re terrifying creatures that know no bounds to their terrifying ways. They’re usually a form of bodyguard, or a husk for someone with some powerful magics. So why have I singled out a specific clown from the anime?
The Black Clown resembles that of a humanoid, yet it doesn’t have a fully humanoid appearance. The most striking feature is its face, which only seems to have a mouth. Other than that, this is a hunched over, highly magical husk of a being, that is able to move about by a process of liquefying and evaporating. These things aren’t powerful by themselves, but because they’re made by magics, they also have their own magics – So still could potentially pose a threat! Plus, they just look cool.
#6 Eldar Harlequins – Warhammer 40,000
Live forever in fear of a Laughing God. When the Eldar accidentally created Slaanesh there was a schism in their ranks creating two factions with very distinct attitudes, dark and vanilla Eldar. Many still lurk on the fringes of such categorisations, but none skip the line like a rope with such style as the Harlequins.
Dancing troupes of terrifying warriors and assassins who truly believe that warfare is an artform in which the greatest performers earn victory. Nomads of the webway who travel amongst their divided brethren to act out for them the legends of their past, before vanishing again into ether to wage their war against chaos. Librarians of the secrets that would bring the galaxy to its trembling knees. Masked murderers, perhaps insane, perhaps more sane than anyone, only a vanishing mystery in psychadelic armour.
And yes, I did paint the Death Jester pictured, right down to the little juggling ball at his feet. It’s the only Eldar in my possession.
#5 Pennywise – It
It’s a clowns’ duty to offer a balloon to all the kids, and Pennywise is a good clown. He has balloons in all colours, they all float, and when you’re down there with him in the dark and the damp, you’ll float too.
Never was there a more evil clown, a friendly face with wicked teeth, an entity who may very well be older than time, who haunts the town of Derry and eats its children. He’s a master of magic tricks, like illusion, mind alteration (especially memory), shapechanging into the thing that you fear most, and replacing that fear with clowns. Tim Curry does not help matters by being a naturally very terrifying person, with or without the greasepaint and lamprey-maw, and indeed seemed a little too at home in a storm drain.
Stephen King’s horror masterpiece is one of the most terrifying films you may ever see, certainly as a child, but it may surprise some of you to know that it never saw a cinematic release despite it’s infamy, despite the all star cast (and some future stars too) it was a two-part straight to T.V adaption of the novel, and has since achieved international renown, and Pennywise has become the cause of nightmares for generations. Just google “scary clown”, you’ll see what I mean.
#4 Piedmon – Digimon
If you were a fan of the Digimon Adventure 01 series, there’s no doubt you’re going to remember this rather brash fellow. A Mega Levelled Virus type Digimon, Piedmon was not only one of the four Dark Masters, he was the leader of them! With the power of psychokinesis and other mental powers, Piedmon was a Digimon to be feared. He was able to turn friends on one another, as he was also able to take on other forms as he saw fit.
Although he was ultimately defeated, Piedmon’s reign of tyranny was one of the most memorable anime villains to me. He used to act as a puppet master, along with playing clown-like tricks on his enemies (and in some cases his own allies). But to defeat this guy, it took more than an Ultimate levelled Digimon – It took an Ultimate and two Mega levels to defeat him, making him pretty darn capable of not only holding his own, but taking down whoever he needed to. He loved nothing more than to bring his foes down, he found it funny.
#3 Slim, Heimlich, and Francis – A Bugs Life
Headliners of P.T. Flea’s Insect Circus (flea circus, y’geddit?) the comical efforts of the overly precious stick insect Slim, gluttonous caterpillar Heimlich, and brutish ladybird Francis couldn’t possibly have saved the ailing circus despite the success of Flaming Death, but they did save a colony of ants in incredible style.
They have complimentary properties, Heimlich being as chubby and over-enthusiastic makes him an excellent victim (and bird bait) to Francis’ comical antagonism, along with Slim, the prop – broom, hatstand, walking stick, slapstick, and sword, but not so great a thespian. They’re true heroes, and along with Tuck, Roll, Manny, Gypsy, Rosie and Dim, but they’re not so menacing as they are laughable. Right up until you call Francis a girl…
#1/2 – Kefka – Final Fantasy VI vs. The Joker – Batman
Gosh darn, we have two clowns/jesters duking it out for the top spot here on our Top 10 list, so why don’t you have a gander at what we’ve chosen and why? Let us know who wins in the comments and in the vote below!
Now naturally, when you are comparing these two, you might first cast your mind to The Killing Joke. Wait a minute, he doesn’t act much like a clown or a jester there… He’s actually a mobster throughout, who is bereft with tragedy. Hm, what a sob story. However, Kefka is an entirely different beast. This is the story of Final Fantasy’s greatest villain – an enigma wrapped in a mystery, shrouded in very colourful clothes and big clown shoes.
Kefka is really a court mage, hence he appears to look like a jester. He’s incredibly intelligent and cold, calculating – But he broke the tradition for silent, terrifying antagonists. Instead, he was so terrifying for his presence alone. With that ultimate final form of his which the players have to witness, he is one of the main reasons that Final Fantasy villains ended up getting absolutely ridiculous later in the franchise. Characterised simply by a whooping laugh, Kefka causes serious carnage – Especially if it means he gets a good laugh out of it.
No one can put a smile on your face quite like The Joker.
Now my good friend has painted the Clown Prince as little more than a brightly coloured mobster, but between the many authors, artists and actors that have taken made him their own there’s an underlying core that is the Joker, and for many that’s always going to be Mark Hamill. Slapstick meets terrorism, punchline with a real punch, face-melting buttonholes, gags, wheezes, poison gasses, oh and his jokes really are the bomb!
And it’s never really been about the money, or the applause, it’s about spreading some anarchy, shaking up the status quo, trying to make everything a little less serious. He’s the ultimate foil to the Dark Knight, always so black and sinister, he wears bright colours and fights in the open, putting on a real performance for every robbery, murder and act of chaos, a real showman. And he can really make the people smile. Really make them smile, permanently, and fatally.
Now that you’ve had a look at our two top answers, why not vote for which one you believe is the better clown or jester of the two. Is it the destructive force that is Kefka, or is it the wildly recognisable Joker? You decide!
Have you seen enough clowns and jesters for one day? How about a week? Or a year? Or even enough of them for a lifetime? If you have, then I’m happy to report that we have two more that we had to throw in there, just for your satisfaction. So don’t hesitate to bring yourselves together once more, as it’s time for an encore!
Doctor Rockso – Metalocalypse
C- C- C- C- YEEAAAHHH and um, not exactly safe content over here folks.
Y’see Dr. Rockso may be a clown who performs glam-rock a la KISS, but adding a spiked red nose and brightly coloured wigs to the black and white facepaint, but he also comes with the rock and roll lifestyle that makes him a little less than the family friendly clown you find in the circus. He is Dr. Rockso, the Rock and Roll Clown, and he does cocaine. That’s not all white facepaint, and his comical exploits get increasingly tragic when you realise that they’re the drug fueled efforts of a fading superstar reaching out for media attention.
In fact that’s exactly why Rockso exists in Metalocalypse, the whole Adult Swim series is a huge metal-mirror held up to fame culture and the pop-music industry, the ridiculousness, the excesses, the diva-like behaviour and the insular bubbles these people exist in. Rockso’s bubble is bursting, and he is a celebrity in decay, derided by the media that once loved him, his failings fully on display, a doomed spate in rehabilitation, dirty secrets dragged into the light. He couldn’t even make it into the list.
Ah yes, the mighty McDonald empire and their amazingly bad for you food. How could we have a list of our Top 10 Clowns and Jesters without forgetting about the most monopolised clown of them all? Ronald McDonald, of course, is known in just about every single country in the world. My particular favourite videos are the Ran Ran Ruu videos which you can see one of the most famous ones above. Outright weird and silly, this is just typical Japanese humour and clever editing… And it sells.
Let’s face the facts, all of the above bad clowns are pretty terrifying and scary, but one clown has reach over the entire world all at the same time. It doesn’t matter where you are, there’s likely going to be at least one McDonalds there. Don’t worry, he’s not all bad… He just knows how to get a pretty penny off of you. You go there for a hamburger, you trade in your very soul for more McDonalds. Uh oh, best not defect to Burger King folks; Ronalds waiting for you!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our travelling troupe of comedic characters, but alas, that’s all we have time for today. Put away that trapezoid and for all of you to hop back into your teeny tiny silly car. However, we’re not yet fully finished with this show; there’s still a star attraction for you all to take part in! Oh yes, one last task before we can truly say that’s a wrap folks, it’s time to vote for next weeks’ Top 10. Of course, next week is Easter weekend, so our three choices for next week are all Easter themed to some capacity. Hurrah!
Thanks to everyone who voted for the Top 10 Clowns and Jesters for this weeks list. In just two weeks, we’ll be at Kitacon, which is Kitacon Karnival 2016, so please do check out our posts in the coming weeks on the convention and we’ll be doing three “live from Kitacon” articles, as well as stepping up our “live” game a little bit. We’ll see how it goes, but as always, thanks for joining us, but now it’s over to you. Did we miss any clowns or jesters that you think should have been here? Do you think we ordered our list wrongly? Or did we do something right with this list? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.