To the editor:
You have several professional clowns in town in case you didn’t know it.
This letter is in response to the column by Lisa Capobianco entitled “There’s no scaring those clown sightings away.” Well, thanks to your article, Lisa, you’ve just added to that likelihood.
We’d like to introduce ourselves. We are Jack and Sally Court. We are your Southington neighbors. We’ve run Tails and Robo the Clown and Company for the past 16 years. We have been professional clowns for almost 30 years.
There are a few other professional clowns in town as well. One of them is our dear friend Diane Sheard, Valentine the Clown who is known to practically everyone in town having grown up here. We’ve been making our living entertaining at children’s birthday parties, schools, libraries, daycare centers, hospitals and every type of venue and event imaginable.
The fact that we’ve been successful is because a lot of people love our clown characters. We are not scary; we do not humiliate people or trick them or throw pies in anyone’s faces. We bring music, magic, silliness, awesome cool balloon twisting, face painting, games, juggling, puppets and lots of laughs, smiles and love to the little people who are our clients.
The recent “scary clown” phenomenon has been a big problem for us professionals. We’ve lost business because our clients have been concerned for our safety. Others are afraid that children might now be frightened of us. Contrary to popular opinion, there are very few children afraid of clowns. On the rare occasion of a child being afraid, they watch from afar and inevitably realize that there is nothing to fear, especially when they see the other children laughing and enjoying themselves. One of the most gratifying parts of our job is to draw a child into our happiness and to see them run up and hug us at the end of a show—unafraid.
Last week, a clown friend of ours in Connecticut went to a scheduled party being held in the basement of a church. Apparently, someone saw her driving to the event “in clown” and called the police. The police prohibited her from entering the building, and the family who hired her was left with a party of disappointed children. These are the situations with which we are now left to deal.
Ms. Capobianco, your entire editorial was weighed by your own fear of clowns and did not reflect any opposing opinion. Your cited studies by Frank McAndrew on “why clowns give off a creepy vibe” and Rami Nader’s comments about “the irrational fear of clowns” is noted. But it needs to be said that we can’t assume that this is the perception of everyone. It doesn’t tell us what percentage of the general population actually have this fear.
Having practiced the art of clowning for 30 years, I can say that those who love clowns greatly out-number those who may be afraid of them. Otherwise, we would have been out of business a long time ago.
You do us a disservice by not making a distinction between real, professional clowns and the non-clown imposters putting on ugly, scary masks. I won’t even dignify them by saying scary “clown” masks because 1. These people are not clowns. 2. Scary is the antithesis of what a real clown is.
You further do us a disservice by keeping your narrative negative and one sided. We want the phenomenon to end so that kids can go back to enjoying their favorite clowns. You are not helping.
Jack and Sally Court, “Tails and Robo the Clown,” Southington