Clowns get away with things that we can’t. They’re childish, a bit naughty, and they remind us that it’s good to be silly!
Clowns are performers who use physical comedy to make people laugh. Traditionally they have elaborate costumes and paint their faces to exaggerate particular features. The classic clown types are Whiteface, Auguste, and Character.
Whiteface clowns perform as the ‘straight’ character. They never get dirty and they wear elaborate costumes with sequins and spangles. They’re the oldest type of clown, and originate from Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837).
Auguste clowns play the fool. They’re the ones who fall over and get messy, usually at the hands of the Whiteface clown. Their costume tends to be bright and gaudy, over-sized and mismatched. Their make-up has a flesh-tone base with outlined features.
The Character clown portrays a clumsy version of a respectable profession- a police officer, doctor, or teacher, for example. They also include ‘Hobo clowns’ with tattered clothes and make-up suggesting an unshaven dirty face. They wear the makeup of the Whiteface or the Auguste, or a combination of the two.