Maybe I'm perverse, but I just never found them cute, or the least bit entertaining. In fact, they sort of creeped me out. An adult, decked out in Kabuki face paint with grotesquely exaggerated expressions, communicating only in mime, perhaps punctuated with blasts from an 'aruuugah-horn,' and this is supposed to represent happiness? Joy? It simply didn't work for me when I was a child, still doesn't. My stereotype is more Stephen King's Pennywise than Bozo or Clarabelle!
I thought I was alone in this opinion until I met my future husband, and he told me his clown story. When he was 7 or 8 the circus came to town. The neighborhood boys were told that if they helped with setting up the tents, they would be given free tickets to the show. For a whole day they hauled lines, hoisted bales and ran errands. But then, when all was finished, the tired, hopeful little boys outnumbered the proffered tickets and those not quick or big enough to push to the front of the line were sent home, crushed and empty handed. He was part of this group.
At showtime he bravely marched back and told the ticketbooth lady what had happened, politely requesting admission in the name of fairness. She refused. He slipped away to the side of the tent, found a gap near the ground and rolled himself into the Big Top. Unfortunately he tumbled right on to a giant floppy shoe. A clown -- one not the least jolly -- roughly grabbed him by the shoulders and marched him out the back entrance, threatening police intervention and peppering him with foul language all the while.
"I hate clowns!" my husband says. And he means it. We are reasonable people, somewhat sociable; we've both been described as having a good sense of humor. But we share one dark secret -- we discriminate against clowns.