Tagline: Everybody loves a clown...some more than others.

A dark, twisted, independent film from the mind of director/writer Bryan Johnson, in association with View Askew, about the tumultuous life of Flappy the Clown. Executive produced by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, the film was released in 1997 and became available on DVD from Lions Gate Entertainment in 2002. Runtime is 85 minutes for the film-circuit version and 97 minutes for the uncut DVD version.

Vulgar stars Brian O'Halloran (best known as Dante from Clerks) as Will Carlson, an affable, likable guy who has spent the better part of his entire life trying to make a living as a clown. He goes from gig to gig, just scraping by with whatever he can earn from children's birthday parties, while his harpy of a mother spends her days complaining about his lack of success and his inability to earn an adequate amount of money.

Director Johnson plays Will's best friend, Sid, who encourages him to get out of the clown biz once and for all. But Will is loathe to leave all of his childhood dreams behind, and soon he hatches a plan to make more money. Trying to capture a unique audience with something that hasn't yet been done, Will invents "Vulgar," a nontraditional clown who dresses in drag. The idea, as he explains it, is for Vulgar to perform as a joke at places like bachelor parties, where he can reach out to a new "adult" market.

Well, I'm sure you'd be shocked to hear that this plan doesn't quite work out the way Will had hoped, but that does indeed turn out to be the case. On his first outing as Vulgar the Clown, Will is brutally beaten and raped by three Deliverance types, who videotape the entire assault. Later, when Will finally "makes it" in the industry (he is contracted to produce a Bozo-esque television show called "Flappy's Funhouse"), his attackers resurface in the hopes of raping him again, this time through the use of blackmail.

Having finally realized his dreams, Will has no interest in letting a scandal surface that could ruin his career. But soon it becomes apparent that his blackmailers want more than just money, requiring Vulgar the Clown to make an encore performance to set things straight. And this time, he wants payback. (Ha! I've always wanted to say that.)

Vulgar was funded by Kevin Smith, who financed it and Brian Lynch's yet-to-be-released Big Helium Dog at around the same time. This was the "second round" of young View Askew productions; in an earlier volley, Kevin financed Drawing Flies (by Matt Gissing and Malcolm Ingram) and A Better Place (by Vincent Pereira), both of which were released on DVD in 2002.

Cast and Crew List

Directed by Bryan Johnson
Written by Bryan Johnson

Cast (in credits order)  
Brian O'Halloran       ....  Will Carlson/Flappy/Vulgar 
Bryan Johnson          ....  Syd Gilbert 
Jerry Lewkowitz        ....  Ed Fanelli 
Ethan Suplee           ....  Frankie Fanelli 
Matthew Maher          ....  Gino Fanelli (as Matt Maher) 
Thomas W. Leidner      ....  Large Bum (as Thom Leidner) 
Michael Tierney        ....  Skinny Bum 
David Gilbert          ....  Delinquent #1 
Erik Johnson           ....  Delinquent #2 
Scott Schiaffo         ....  Travis 
Darin Johnson          ....  Boy #1 
Kevin Smith            ....  Martan Ingram 
Don Gentile            ....  Sleepy Bum 
Brian Hartsgrove       ....  Boy #2 
Aaron Hakeem           ....  Cop #1 
Jamie Schutz           ....  Cop #2 
Susanna Jolly          ....  Jill 
Debra Karr             ....  Mother (as Debbie Karr) 
Ceton Tate             ....  Ashley 
Gertrude Johnson       ....  Old Lady 
Paris Petrick          ....  Nurse Ratchet 
Jay Petrick            ....  Wilma Carlson 
Michael DeNigris       ....  Sam Mosier 
Robert Hawk            ....  Old Man (as Bob Hawk) 
Jill Robertson         ....  Shongo 
Kiven Wiedmyer         ....  Irate Motorist 
Brian Quinn            ....  Traffic Cop 
Tim Miller             ....  Gillian 
Walter Flanagan        ....  Caddy 
Scott Mosier           ....  Scotty 
Tobias Carroll         ....  Toby 
Diana Devlin           ....  Sultry Audience Member 
David Klein            ....  Cinnamon 
Melissa Rayworth       ....  Kelly Fanelli 
Deanna Rowe            ....  Jenny Fanelli 
Edgar Johnson          ....  Diaper Boy 
Bob Farley             ....  Barron 
Joe Mullins            ....  Joe-Joe 
Jason Mewes            ....  Tuott the Basehead 
John Sobestanovich     ....  Beggar (as Soby) 
Ralph Lambiase         ....  Clumsy Cop (uncredited) 
Sean Marquis           ....  Dirty Junkie (uncredited) 
Chris Parry            ....  Criminal Clown #3 

Produced by
Monica Hampton         ....  producer  
Scott Mosier           ....  executive producer  
Kevin Smith            ....  executive producer  
Original Music by 
Ryan Shore
Cinematography by 
David Klein   
Film Editing by 
Bryan Johnson
Scott Mosier    
Casting by 
Paris Petrick    
Production Design by 
Lisa Mareiniss    
Production Management 
Ian G. MacGregor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Adam Hammel           ....  second assistant director  
David Kurman          ....  second second assistant director  
Jamie Schutz          ....  first assistant director  
Art Department
Aaron Hakeem          ....  set dresser  
Mike Hansen           ....  graphic designer  
Ralph Lambiase        ....  storyboard artist  
Sound Department 
Alfred J. Caragay     ....  sound recordist  
Gene Radzik           ....  stereo sound consultant: Dolby  
Special Effects by 
Ralph Lambiase
Other crew 
Tobias Carroll           ....  key craft service  
Christopher James Cullen ....  office production assistant  
Paul Kaye                ....  key grip  
Emily Mackley            ....  first assistant camera  
Amanda Nanawa            ....  script supervisor  
Alan Scher               ....  assistant editor  
Alan Scher               ....  assistant production coordinator  
Ryan Shore               ....  orchestrator  

My source for most of this review/writeup was simply watching the movie (duh) but some information came from everyone's favorite movie source, IMDb.com.