Where I come from (West Linn, OR) the Clown Joke is told slightly differently. It is about a man named Bob who is a bum. Bob the bum has always wanted to go to the circus, but he, being a bum in a long line of bums, has never been able to afford it. Finally one night a group of Bob’s friends (other bums) see that the circus is in town and pool their collected change in order buy a circus ticket and out of crude asshole humor decide to go without Bob who is passed out in an alley. (Hey, they’re bums what do you expect.) So then they come back laughing like middle school girls and when Bob asks what’s up, they let him know what they did and told him how great the circus was. Bob, seeing one of his own precious life dreams being ridiculed by those he once thought his only friends and family, gets extremely angry and being unable to cope with his anger drinks himself into oblivious and passes out in an alley (Hey, he’s a bum.)

Well the next day Bob has to come to terms with his life and the cruel world he lives in. He decides the only way he can live with himself is to show everyone who has doubted him and achieve his dream – going to the circus. So Bob cleans himself up and 20 minutes of narrative later, Bob has purchased a ticket to next years circus and is inside.

So Bob watches the circus and it is fabulous! He loves every minute of it. And finally the final act everyone has been waiting for – The Clown! The crowd goes silent as The Clown steps into the ring and asks for a volunteer. The spotlight zooms over the crowd and finally lands on one man, Bob. Bob stands up, in a slight haze of joy.
The Clown then asks him,”Sir, are you a horse’s hoof?”
Bob (smile on face): No.
Clown: “Sir, are you a horse’s head?”
Bob (Pause): No.
Clown: “Then you sir – must be --, --, a Horses ASS!!” (Now teller of joke has to immediately move on so audience doesn’t think this is the punchline.)

So the crowd bursts out laughing. Parents, kids, circus freaks, everyone is standing and laughing at Bob. Needless to say – Bob is pissed! He finally achieved something and actually worked for it (Important since he is from a family of bums) and now it is thrown back in his face. More story is narrated, and once again Bob passes out in an alley. (He’s a bum, remember?)

So then next morning Bob wakes up and decides the only way to live with himself is to get even with that clown – to redeem himself by enacting the ultimate form of revenge upon the clown which hurt him so. To further this end Bob gets more jobs, enrolls in martial arts and once a master of the physical realm enrolls in insult school where he learns all different forms of insults in every culture and for every occasion – including the very special art of Comebackery.

Narration continues for a minimum of 20 minutes describing all the steps Bob takes and how Bob begins to formulate a plan for ultimate revenge on the clown. During this time Bob has worked himself off the streets and his hatred burning within him has driven him to success in other areas. Finally it is time for the circus again. Bob has the first ticket and is first in the tent. He now meditates, going over his plan for ultimate revenge in careful detail in his head – over and over. The circus acts go by in a flash for meditating Bob and finally The Clown steps out. The crowd is excited – full of energy. Here is The Clown. The Clown asks for a volunteer. Once again the spotlight goes over the crowd, and lands on Bob. Bob stands up (completely buff now, a true badass). The clown repeats the lines of his joke, ending of course with “You sir, are a horse’s Ass”. Except this time…

The crowd is about to laugh except their laughter is stifled by the anger and hatred emanating from Bob. The tent is dead silent. Bob raises his right arm and points at The Clown. In an entirely calm cool state he looks The Clown directly in the eye, ready for this moment of self redemption he has worked so hard toward – prepared to unleash the ultimate insult upon this clown. He takes a small breath and says ….

Fuck you, Clown.

And so goes the clown joke here… Interesting enough when I went down to school at Harvey Mudd College I found it was a tradition at North Dorm to tell this joke in a slightly different form about a boy who goes to the circus and then in order to have his revenge upon The Clown he dedicates his life to becoming a master clown etc etc.. Finally delivering the same wicked punch line.

Works great at open mic nights too at trendy hippy coffee places I’m told. Yea Bob Nardo.

Truly an oral tradition with the beauty in the details. Requires a true story-telling ability to narrate, text just doesn’t do it justice.

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