Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Greatest Show on Earth Is Clown-Free

Published on December 16, 2009 at 12:00am

One element of the circus continues to terrorize adults to this day, and that’s coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. Thanks to horror films like Killer Klowns From Outer Space and Stephen King’s It, the “Bozo Syndrome” doesn’t fade; it intensifies. So if smiling-face makeup makes you shiver, you’ll feel relieved to know that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ latest show, Illuscination, involves much more then multiple clown demons spawning from a small car. The new act features magic and illusions from David DaVinci, an “illuscinator” from Orlando.

Your eyes will be fixated on this modern-day Houdini as he attempts to escape a straitjacket while suspended over a den of lions. Astonishing acrobats and aerialists will fly over your head. Asian Elephants will parade under the big top in majestic glory for your enjoyment — unless, of course, you also suffer from pachydermophia (the fear of elephants); then there’s no help for you.

Find the South Florida Fairgrounds at 9067 Southern Blvd. in West Palm Beach. Tickets start at $15. The circus runs until December 28. Call 561-798-3247, or visit
Wed., Dec. 23, 7 p.m., 2009




Mark Lavender said...

is there such a thing as 'abracadabrophobia'?

Anonymous said...

It is very sad that the american circus clown or clowning for that matter, is despairing from Ringling Brothers circus. PT Barnum said himself that "Clowns and elephants are the nails in which the circus is build upon."
Take a good look at Ringling shows for the past 8 years and you will see that the whiteface is gone, the heavy grease is gone, the traditional costumes are gone. The skits are for the most part, imitations of reality TV shows, ex - dancing with the clowns, survivor clown island or birthday party games like "musical chairs" among others. The 3 rings are gone, one of the things that is synonymous with "The Greatest Show On Earth." I wonder what would the great clowns from the past say if they saw this.
I believe that the new and young producer has a very different vision of what "The Greatest Show On Earth" should be.
I understand that rules and regulations make it very hard for producers to bring top quality shows to all states of the union, but Feld Entertainment is the largest entertainment company in the world.
Please bring back the clowns, the costumes, the sets, bring back the glory to the oldest tradition we have in The United States, older than baseball itself. Bring back "The Greatest Show On Earth!"

Anonymous said...

Clowning is very much "Alive" in the Kelly Miller Circus, Steve and Ryan are perhaps one of the strongest duos in the US right now.

David Carlyon said...

Mark, there is such a thing, now that you've written it on the web. After all, the name for this fear-of-clown thing was totally concocted by a guy on the web. He just made it up. What the hell's a "coulro," and what does if have to do with clowns? Though it's probably only a matter of time because some semi-smart wannabe starts calling himself a "coulro."

Mark Lavender said...

David, I appreciate your comment and the background info for that term.
Though I was being sardonic in my comment, I also hold that humor usually has a kernel of truth as its core.

Webster has no listing for coulrophobia in standard or medical dictionary. But, if it catches on and the coulrophobia word becomess "common usage", then it will eventually make it into the dictionary and gain legitimacy however dubious.
And if one reads it somewhere on the web, or in wikipedia, or if snopes says it's true then it must be so - - oh, equine byproduct!! ( - and give the jerk who coined 'coulrophobia' a dunce cap or a sphincter sombrero)

Though I am generally an optimist, I fear, as a whole, our society becomes increasingly lazy in critical thinking and just plain gullible. ("Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.")

Don't know about you, but a clown skit where the clowns run screaming when someone walks up disguised as Stephen King would give me a good laugh, even if I was the only one who "got" the reference.

Mark Lavender said...

As an afterthought to my last comment, David, it was suggested to me that the prefix, "coulro-" may derive from the latin, "culo", which would, at least in spanish or italian vernacular, autobiographically describe the coiner of the term, "coulrophobia".

I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

you can thank nicole feld for that!she hates clowns

Pat Cashin said...

Well, Sauer wrote a God-awful article that plainly features his own feelings on circus clowning rather than reporting on the comedy in the show.

He , or his editor, decided to give the article a title that was patently false. I'm sure there is some circus comedy performed by someone in the latest Gold show.

From what I understand, it is the Caveagna family.

So, no. The show is not "clown-free".

The article deserves to be slammed, and slammed hard. Perhaps someone at Feld Inc will see it and realize that the circus units, ice shows and motor sports' advertising dollars would be better spent elsewhere.