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There are several career paths available to clowns.

Aside from the typical children's party, clowns have many other opportunities to spread joy to the masses. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Aside from the typical children's party, clowns have many other opportunities to spread joy to the masses.


When most people think of clowns, they envision children's birthday parties, fairs or circuses. However, the clown has played an important role throughout history, with the earliest-recorded clowns acting as jesters for kings and pharaohs. Clowns hold different names in different cultures, but the purpose of the clown -- to entertain -- remains the same.

History of Clowns

According to Clown Ministry, court jesters were the first recorded clowns, entertaining pharaohs in Egypt and emperors in China. Through humor, the jester could speak up for or against a ruler's policies with no consequences. When Queen Elizabeth reigned in England, clowning was popular in the theater, particularly the Globe Theater where Shakespearian actors performed plays. Circus clowns became popular in 1768, along with the now famous circus clown acts. Clowns have also broken down racial barriers in history. Bert Williams, who portrayed an African-American tramp clown, was the first African-American to appear in a motion picture and to record a phonograph record.

Types of Clowns

The Whiteface clown is one whose face is painted completely white. The clown's face is then decorated either very simply with red and black colors or decorated with bright colors. The costumes of Whiteface clowns either coordinate with the face painting or are very crazy, loud outfits that draw much attention. The Whiteface clown typically acts out a particular errand that takes time to be done correctly, or he plays pranks and tricks on his partner.

The Auguste clown is the clown with white around their eyes and mouth and a crazy wig or skullcap with crazy hair coming out the sides. Their costumes seem too large for their bodies, such as oversized shoes and balloon-type pants. The behavior of Auguste clowns is clumsy and exaggerated.

Tramp or hobo clowns came about from the hobos that rode the rails. These clowns paint the area around their mouths white and may paint their eye area white as well. Fake stubble is applied with grease paint, and their costumes are ragged and torn. A hobo clown may appear happy or sad.

Jobs for Clowns

With a variety of jobs available for clowns, people who love clowning can do it for pure entertainment purposes or mix it up with a little danger. One of the most common jobs for a clown is a circus clown. Besides being one of the more common jobs, it's also one of the more steady jobs for a clown. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average circus clown earns up to $300 per week to start. They also receive benefits and housing. This type of clown job involves training and the ability to move from town to town with the circus show.

Other types of clown jobs include party clowns that entertain at birthdays for both children and adults, parade clowns, clowns used for marketing purposes and hospital clowns. One difference between circus clowns and clowns with independent jobs is that most clowns who perform at parties and malls also hold steady, full-time jobs.

Perhaps one of the most dangerous clown jobs is that of the rodeo clown. Besides entertaining the audience between bull rides, the rodeo clown must protect the life of the bull rider. Rodeo clowns distract an angry, raging bull so that it doesn't attack a rider. Even with the protection of a heavy barrel, rodeo clowns risk their well-being and their lives every time they step into the ring. According to Salary.com, rodeo clowns typically earn $100 to $225 per show.

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