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A History of Clowning


Jesters are said to date back to ancient times, performing for Egyptian Pharaohs and during the Chinese Shang Dynasty. Jesters are considered the ancestors of the Whiteface clown, however certain evidence points that true ancient jesters performed without makeup.


Originating during the Commedia dell’arte, traditional harlequins are known to have ‘patched’ costumes, while modern ones are ‘checkered.’

Tramp, Hobo, Cop, Baby, etc.
hobo clown
These are clowns dressed as certain characters such as the Tramp, Hobo, Cop, and Baby clowns.

baby clown


auguste clown
Augustes are the least intelligent of the clowns. Cooky, from ‘The Bozo Show’ is an example of an auguste clown. These clowns are known to have exaggerated make up.


whiteface clown
The whiteface is said to date back to Greek theatre. The whiteface was known to wear makeup over a white base not as a disguise, but rather to enhance and exaggerate them to be seen by the entire large audience.