Have you ever been told to stop clowning around? Most of us have but if you live in Hong Kong, you may be praised for doing so!
Ken Ken is one of the first professional clowns in Hong Kong and says that for the past 15 years he has been pursuing what he calls a ‘positive’ career that ‘makes people happy’. He is often fully booked and by being so successful he can earn as much as £57,000 a year!
Cutting a lone figure back in 2001, Ken Ken says there are as many as 50 other professional clowns in the special administrative region and that the number is rising fast. In fact, such is the current demand for clowns in Hong Kong that employment agencies are organising classes to train people.
However, over in the west the current popularity of clowns is the opposite to that in Hong Kong. This is due to the ‘Creepy Clown Craze,’ which has seen people dressing up as scary clowns to scare both children and adults and even led to some schools banning children from talking about the craze. Because of this clowns in the US and Europe have recently found bookings harder to come by as Mums & Dads are less likely to hire them.
Whilst clowns in China and Asia are earning enough money to make clowning their full time and only profession, counterparts in the US and Europe often need another job to supplement their income, so if you were thinking of taking up the position, you may need to think about the benefits!
Clown Facts –
- The first clowns are believed to have been entertainers in Ancient Egypt
- The first modern clown was a man called Joseph Grimaldi (depicted above), who in the UK in the early 19th Century was the first to paint his face white and add a red smile
- Every year in London, on the first Sunday in February, clowns gather for a church service to honour and remember Joseph Grimaldi
- International Clown Week takes place every year in October. The US also has a National Clown Week every August
- Some people have always been scared of clowns. The phenomenon is called coulrophobia
- The real name of Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons is Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky