Clowns have been around since the earliest civilizations. Their forerunners, court jesters, were documented to have entertained the courts in ancient Egypt, and were especially popular in the Middle Ages. Circus clowns came into being in the early 1800s, with Joseph Grimaldi the most famous of the early clowns. During the Great Depression the hobo clown became popular. Emmett Kelly, born on this date in 1898, was renowned for his sad clown persona, “Weary Willie.”

Quote: “By laughing at me, the audience really laughs at themselves, and realizing they have done this gives them sort of a spiritual second wind for going back into the battles of life.” Emmett Kelly