Good clowns look for last laugh in clown culture war

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LISA LONG, ALSO KNOWN AS “C.C. THE CLOWN”, SAYING: (Over video)
“I believe the clowning profession has a future as long as the world has children.”
C.C. the Clown – also known as Lisa Long – is an optimist…although she says the clowning business isn’t what it used to be…
The lovable clown of days gone by has been largely transformed in the public imagination to something much darker….like this specimen
from the remake of Stephen King’s 1980’s horror story, “IT”…
(SOUNDBITE) (English) LISA LONG, ALSO KNOWN AS “C.C. THE CLOWN”, SAYING something short about the creepy clown phenomenon)
“The creepy clowns are not clown are, in fact, not clowns”
Long attended clown college more than two decades ago, inspired by a hospital clown who made her laugh during a stressful time as she tended to her ailing, young son.
But she says times have changed and not for the better…with the public increasingly taking a negative view.
VOX POPS
David Carlyon is a historian and former clown with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID CARLYON, HISTORIAN AND FORMER RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS CLOWN, SAYING:
“My theory, based on the evidence, is that the image of the clown as the little kid’s friend and as the ideal of sweetness and light became so overblown, so inflated, that it had to be popped.”
Far from the days of beloved clowns, Bozo and Marcel Marceau, today’s clowns are often presented in pop culture as something to fear.
At The Clown School in Los Angeles, instructor Zach Steel, says he’s not bothered by the scary clown phenomenon.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ZACH STEEL, INSTRUCTOR AT THE CLOWN SCHOOL, SAYING:
“If I spent all my time trying to combat that and telling those people to be quiet, I would have no time to do anything else – to pursue what clown actually is, which is a positive, creative, imaginative presence in our lives.”
But fear of clowns isn’t the only challenge clowns face.
The famed Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed last year, and many clown trade organizations say membership is down as interest wanes among young people.
Although that doesn’t mean clowns are phasing out of…

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