Hit horror film It is no joke for struggling clowns
The record-breaking horror film It may be a hit with audiences, grossing hundreds of millions of dollars at the global box office in its first week, but one group is not celebrating the success of the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s novel: clowns.
For a community already struggling to combat perceptions of clowns as scary rather than fun, the emergence of Pennywise, the movie’s child-killing clown villain, is truly the stuff of nightmares. Even before the film’s release the World Clown Association was warning that the film could cause its members to lose work, even going as far as publishing a press kit to prepare clowns for the damaging effects It might have on their reputations.
Only a week into the film’s run at cinemas, some clowns are complaining their business has taken a battering, with one Darlington entertainer, Tommy Bungle, telling the Sun his bookings have fallen by a third. It’s no laughing matter for an industry recovering from 2016’s global “killer clown” craze, which saw pranksters don clown costumes to scare passersby.
“There’s definitely a negativity to the industry,” said South Wales-based clown Mr T Ricks, whose real name is Alan Paget. He said times are particularly tough for those who work as child entertainers. “I get phone calls and messages on social media asking ‘are you a scary clown’? It’s getting to the stage where it’s ridiculous,” he says. “Sometimes I feel like saying ‘well, you’ll find out in your nightmares.’”
Not all clowns share this sense of doom and gloom. “A load of the folks who say ‘this is terrible for the industry’ have been clowning for about five minutes – they’ve not been through this before,” said Ian Williams, honorary secretary of Clowns International, which claims to be the world’s oldest clown organisation. “It’s not going to kill off clowning. It [The Tim Curry-starring TV miniseries adaptation of It] came out 27 years ago. I was clowning then, I’m still clowning now.”