Clowns of the World

Clowns of the World is website about the different types of clowns around the world.  Click on the links below to view a description of the various types of clowns and a little bit about their history. For more images of clowns past and present visit

American: The Big Top Clown is our American contribution to the world of clowning. These clowns or "Charlies" are an outgrowth of a lower echelon circus employee called the "carpet clown". Early American circuses were known as "mud shows". The name stuck because these traveling exhibitions were often performed in open fields sometimes with a leaky canvas cover.

Most were horse shows featuring trick riding exhibitions. Due to the unsure footing of the muddy arenas, a special ground carpet had to be used to protect the riders and their horses. The time required to lay this carpet between acts became a problem, for the delay inevitably produced restless audiences and the stamping of feet. Clowns saved the day. Through them, the laying of the carpet became a circus act itself. A new breed of clown was born. . .the carpet clown who rolled out the carpet amid pratfalls and other sight-gags, keeping the audience interested during these necessary intermissions.

The type of job, combined with the muddy surroundings, gave birth to the tramp look. The elegant costumes of the white-face clown could not remain pristine in the Old West environment so the tattered, scruffy look became the appropriate dress for the carpet clown. It was much better suited to withstand the pratfalls in the mud and dirt. With sad faces and soiled clothes our American clown has a permanent place in all of our hearts. He has taught us how to laugh at the blues and no matter what knocks us down to wipe off the dust and stand again.