Soooooo back in the olden days, right, there was a King, and there was a Jester. The King was a man, and he was the Establishment, the Power, and all the patriarchal Patriarchy you can shake a patrician pater at. And the Jester was also a man, but he was a little man, relatively speaking. He was not the Power, he was the "fool"—and in the fool we see all the important stuff that makes up clowning: high ridiculousness, physicality, willingness to be the joke, willingness to subvert, mock or at least hold a lil' mirror up to the King so that he can see himself. The fool is Humanity: an embodied reminder that the human experience is about more than Civilization and Hierarchy. It is about the madness and glory of just being alive and going through this ridiculous shit called Life!
All amazing shit, and pretty wrong-headed that it's in the "disempowered" figure that all the truest lessons live. But that's the patriarchy for ya. I'm wondering, though, if maybe I can keep the patriarchy offa my clown for a minute.
I'm going to use the word "clown" in this blog entry, even though I try not to use it in mixed company. We're among friends, right? We'll define "clown" as the comedy realm which is without a fourth wall and rooted in vulnerability. And we'll try to go back to Never Using The Word Clown directly after.
In my clown world, I hear the word "stupid" a lot. Clowns call each other "stupid" as a compliment, a signal that a clown is really in the zone, really being human. I hear myself using it too. It's useful; so much comedy is trying soooo hard to be clever. When you see the opposite of that kind of cerebral comedy—body comedy, heart comedy—maybe you have to call it stupid, just to signify the refreshing contrast.
Nonetheless, "Stupid" or "Idiot" never really felt good to me personally. My particular frequency of clown has never been activated by the idea of being a stupid idiot. If I may speak of "my clown" for a moment, ahem ahem, my clown is brilliant, my clown is a mastermind, my clown has lots of determination, my clown will get it done, my clown cannot get it done because the world, man, but hey, my clown abides.
And I've been wondering about that idea of calling on the clown to be stupid—whether it's really a call from one man to another to be anti-patriarchal, to do the anti-male thing and be vulnerable, and fail, and be loved. But here I've been womaning along my whole life and nobody needed to tell me to do all that, or rather, that's what everyone and everything has told me to do all the time. And so to call my clown stupid might be, essentially, in this fucked-up world, maybe a little fucking redundant.
I get activated by words and phrases like Ferocious! Monster! Killin it! Wipin the floor with it! Destroying it! Slayer! Who's a slayer?! You're a slayer, you big slayer! Triumph! Conquest! Roarrrrr!
Big fierce words make me want to get out there and really go for it. Of course I'm still gonna be vulnerable, that's a given. I'm so vulnerable maybe don't call my clown stupid to my face. Maybe that's some locker room talk, some macho shit, maybe some other clowns need that, and I need something else.
And yet, I get that it totally still makes sense to talk about the clown being stupid or an idiot. If only because you're in comedy class, or comedy circles, and those cultures should be funny, and sure you can say "oh, that clown is so HUMAN, so VULNERABLE", but it's not as funny a thing to say as "That's fucking stupid, amiright. That person's an idiot."
So I'm just asking the question. Answer it as you like.