Clown Society

Clown society is a term used in anthropology and sociology for an organization of comedic entertainers (or ‘clowns’) who have a formalized role in a culture or society. Sometimes clown societies have a sacred role, to represent a trickster character in religious ceremonies. Other times the purpose served by members of a clown society is only to parody excessive seriousness, or to deflate pomposity. A clown shows what is wrong with the ordinary way of doing things, and a clown shows how to do ordinary things the wrong way.

Members of a clown society always dress in some kind of a special costume reserved for clowns, which is usually an absurdly extreme form of normal dress. While in their costume, clowns have special permission from their society to parody or criticize defective aspects of their own culture. Clown societies usually train new members to become clowns in an apprentice system.  Sometimes the training is improvisational comedy, but usually a clown society trains members in well known forms of costume, pantomime, song, dance, and common visual gags

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