Morro and Jasp: In Defence of Harmless Clowns Everywhere

Beloved Toronto clown duo Morro & Jasp routinely spread joy and fun around the city with their adventures and antics in cooking, literature, puberty and more. But they also have undertaken a very serious responsibility in the world: defending the name of the clown against scary, mean stereotypes (just like Burrs from The Wild Party, who plays a clown on stage but has a much more sinister presence at home). The following is a response from Morro & Jasp regarding a recent story about the rise of “evil clowns.”

In response to Sophie Gilbert’s article “How Clowns Became Terrifying” published in The Atlantic and her subsequent talk on CBC Radio’s Q.

Thank you for bringing the struggles of clowns to light. It is hard to be thought of as “scary” and “evil” just because some clowns like to go out and do horrible things. People do horrible things too, but all people don’t get lumped in to the same category. Yah Pennywise the clown from It was scary, but you know who else was scary? George W. Bush.

Every day when we go out, we know we are going to encounter someone who is afraid of us. Which is a terrible feeling. Coulrophobia comes from all the sensationalized horror clowns, and we have to deal with the mess. It’s a struggle and sometimes we want to just be able to get on a bus without someone changing seats, or apply for a job without being told that we are “insulting them by walking into their store,” but we face this challenge with patience and love because we are not evil. We are also not whole-heartedly good and perfect. We are flawed and complex beings just like you. And we have helped countless people overcome their phobias of clowns. And do you know how we’ve done it? By showing them our humanity.

Sophie Gilbert said we are unpredictable. Okay, maybe we are sometimes. But since when is that a bad thing? Exciting is another way to think of it, and that is part of our positive contribution to society.

Therapeutic clowns are used all over the world to soothe, activate and heal people – children and adults alike. There are many studies that show the positivity that clowns contribute in people’s lives. People should not be ambivalent towards clowns. They should celebrate all the wonderful things that we have done for years and continue to do.

We are not old fashioned. We adapt and change like the rest of society. (We personally see ourselves as trés hip and chic and sometimes hang out on Queen Street West and party at the Drake).

Who will speak for the clowns? Sophie Gilbert asks. WE WILL SPEAK FOR THE CLOWNS! (We even made a documentary about clown stereotypes – it’s called Morro and Jasp: Behind the Nose and you can watch it on YouTube.)

There is a future for clowns. It is bright and complicated and not nearly as simple as a smile or a frown.

Your friends always,

Morro and Jasp


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