A podcast of fascinating facts! What do extraterrestrial radio signals and a mushroom from Texas have in common? What is a “number station“ and why is it so spine-tinglingly creepy? Join comedians Shane Rogers and Duncan MacEwan for an entertaining and hilarious deep-dive into obscure facts from science, history and pop culture. A new topic each week!

November 17, 2022

The Weird, Uncomfortable, Creepy History of Clowns

Few characters from pop culture are as divisive as clowns. Simultaneously endearing and terrifying, the archetype of the clown has persevered throughout the ages despite being reviled by a significant portion of the world’s population. There’s even a word for the fear of clowns: coulrophobia.

So how did ancient jesters and tricksters evolve into the unsettling, white-faced, crazy-haired clowns of today? And what makes the figure of the clown so durable? Find out in this week’s buffoonish, pratfalling, skin-crawling episode of MFFI.


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In this episode:  

  • Ancient Egypt and the "Dangas"
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome and the “Stupidus” 
  • Court Jesters and Fools
  • Loki
  • The Hayuka
  • Carl Jung's "Trickster" Archetype
  • Commedia dell'arte
  • The Pierrot
  • The Harlequin
  • Joseph Grimaldi ("Joey")
  • Philip Astley and the Circus
  • The Whiteface, the Auguste, the Character and the Hobo
  • Emmett Kelly’s “Weary Willie”
  • Charlie Chaplin (Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr.)
  • Music Hall and Vaudeville
  • Marcel Marceau, Michael Jackson, and the Art of Mime
  • Bozo the Clown
  • Fear of Clowns: Coulrophobia
  • The Joker
  • Stephen King's It
  • The Clown Panic of 2016
  • Insane Clown Posse and the Jugallos 
  • Terrifier 2 and "Art the Clown"

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