At the very beginning of my brief stint as 'Bouncer' the clown with Big John, I was warned; 'Don't ever get around the chimps in your clown make-up...they'll tear you to pieces.' This time-honored bit of circus lore proved to be of great value.

One of my minor (but very lucrative) circus jobs was selling Circus Coloring Books during a break in the show, immediately following the chimp act. To prepare the coloring books, I had to put a circus tent stamp in three of the coloring books; a child getting a book with the stamp won a 'free' balloon. So, I always had to hide behind some props to stamp the books, so chimp wouldn't see me and get distracted from his comical antics.

One day, I raised up from behind the props to see how much time till the chimp act was over. Just as I raised up, the chimp looked EXACTLY where I was (in full white-face make-up). He made one of those faces with wide eyes and bared teeth. Were it not for the chain and collar around his neck, he would have gone totally ape-$#!+ on me, I'm sure. Not to be denied, the chimp took the only action he could...and threw his little prop violin at my head...screaming the entire time.

The b*stard missed me! And I sold 24 coloring books that day!

Bottom line: My theory on this hatred. White-faced clowns resemble
baboons..a traditional enemy of chimps.

 

Greg Homer
 


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