From killer clowns to juggalos: Baskets’ guide to identifying your inner clown


Classically trained clown Chip Baskets who looks a little like Zach Galifianakis shares his essential tips on the art of clowning and clown spotting

Not everybody has what it takes to be a clown, but everybody has a little bit of clown in them. An anonymous Frenchman

I learned that little piece of knowledge during my studies at the University delArte de Clown in Paris, which is a pretty important city in France. At least I think that is how the quote translates. Honestly, Im not too sure since I never really acquired a firm grip on the language, other than the ability to order a croissant on the Riviera (pronounced kwa-son and rivvy-air respectively). As a natural-born and mostly trained pitre (thats French for clown, so is limbcile, as I have been told), I can identify which of the five types of clown each and every one of us has deep in our hearts.

(Please note that these are just my personal guesses, as I never did get a chance to finish my Intermediate Clown Theory course before being expelled.)

French clowns

Chip Baskets AKA Renoir, the French Clown. Photograph: Ben Cohen/FX

Are you trained in the arts of bothcomedy and tragedy? Do you dress in mostly muted pastels? Do you have an accent?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may be a French clown. Refined, educated and graceful, French clowns are the crme de la crme (thats French for best) of the clowning community, an elite breed of buffoons who can elicit tears, awe and sometimes laughs from an audience. But you cannot just be a French clown. You have to devote years of dedication and lots of your mothers money at lacadmie in order to truly hone the craft. I myself have spent much time on the streets of Paris (pronounced pair-ee) walking turtles on leashes during my training. I suggest that if you are serious about becoming a French clown, you should invest in a turtle. Maybe two, since they are delicate animals.

Recommended jobs for French clowns: pantomimes, commedia dellarte, the Annual Bakersfield Almond Parade

Sad clowns

Martha Kelly as Martha and Zach Galifiniakis as Chip Baskets. Photograph: Ben Cohen/FX

Are you a pessimist? Do you look at the sky on a sunny day and see nothing but gloom and darkness? Do you have two rivers of tears trailing down your face makeup?

If you answered yes or possibly to any of those, you may be a sad clown. I would consider sad clowns the opposite of regular clowns, in that instead of making people laugh, they make people shift uncomfortably in their shoes, kind of like my acquaintance Martha. Sad clowns often have tiny rainclouds following them, blow their noses in long rainbow-colored handkerchiefs that they pull from their sleeves, and make balloon animals that always pop too soon. If you find that you are a sad clown, I would consider taking the time to sit back and smell the roses just watch out that that rose isnt a squirt flower!

Recommended jobs for sad clowns: funerals, church services, Korean soap operas

Killer clowns

Killer clown so 2016. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Not all clowns come in peace. Some come to kill. Do you find yourself waiting outside playgrounds in the south, trying to lure children into the forest? Do you never leave the house without your meat cleaver?

If you answered yes to either of those, then you may be a killer clown. And I dont mean killer as in wicked cool. I mean killer as in murderer. The concept of the killer clowns was popularized by Stephen King in a book, which unfortunately I forget what he titled it. You can generally tell a killer clown from a regular clown because their makeup looks pretty rushed. If you are a killer clown, please stop it. And if you come across a killer clown, stay away! They are not the friendliest. I caution against hiring them for birthday parties, unless you get a very good deal.

Recommended jobs for killer clowns: horror movies, insane asylums, haunted hayrides

Insane clowns

A juggalo. Photograph: Ben Cohen/FX

Do you like rap music? Now, do you like bad rap music? Do you like to paint your face like Ace Frehley on crack?

If you answered yes to all of these, you may be an insane clown. Unlike killer clowns, insane clowns are usually harmless, although they often have pretty unsettling tattoos. And despite their name, these juggalos and juggalas arent actually crazy at all! In fact, in my experience, I have found that insane clowns have many honorable qualities, like a strong sense of family. These families, otherwise known as posses among the initiates, congregate once a year at large gatherings, or dark carnivals, which I assume have a lot of candlelit dunk tanks at them. They dont really have many clowning talents except for face painting, but I assume they would be good at manual labor since insane clowns are mostly men in their early 30s.

Recommended jobs for insane clowns: wrestling tournaments, dumpster diving, monster truck rallies

Class clowns

Baskets. Photograph: Colleen Hayes, FX

Do you love attention? Do you have uncontrollable urges to put your hand under your armpit and make fart noises? Do you have a good eye when it comes to spitballs?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you may be a class clown. Sometimes class clowns are good students who just lack the attention span to focus in school. Sometimes class clowns just dont understand the language that the instructor is teaching in. Regardless, we shouldnt shame them for their clowning. After all, I believe that they are actually French clowns in training. If you are a class clown, never give up on your dream of being an accomplished clown. Youll get there one day. And dont let anybody tell you that you cant do it, especially your twin brother.

Recommended job for class clowns: Arbys

  • Baskets season two starts 19 January on FX at 10pm ET

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