Joker was never in trend more. Back then, it was just one or two; either you’ll meet them in plays or specific circus. But now Joker seems to be every here and there. When anyone says Joker- we don’t imagine a man making others laugh or doing funny stuff instead now when we hear about a joker, the very first impression is of a creepy clown killing people and doing wild things. So what changed this thought at first hand? To understand this first, we need to go a lane down clown history and myths attached to its origin.
Jokers can be traced back to 2400 BC. Clowns were the most integral character used for royal entertainment. They apply to make people laugh and forget their sorrows by their physical comedy skills, often in a mime style. Soon Jokers were seen in Greek and France. But the very first scenic joker world witnessed was Joseph Grimaldi. Born in 1778, England, Joseph was the first man to opt for the character of a white face painted Joker. In the early 1800s, Grimaldi expanded the role of Clown in the harlequinade, that formed part of British pantomimes. Joseph became dominant on the London comic stage that harlequinade Clowns became known as “Joey,” and both the nickname and Grimaldi’s whiteface make-up design were, and still are, used by other types of clowns. And then many continued to walk down the same path. By the 18th century, the Joker was a trend, and people were celebrating this newly introduced concept. Every circus, plays, shows, or theatre holds a special place for jokers. It wasn’t until Jean Gaspard Deburao entered the field that the image of a joker altered miserably. He was a notable France mime style joker who, with his acting were spreading laughter and happiness throughout the city. But soon, this jolly Joker turned out to be a creepy killer. In 1836, he killed a kid just because he teased him! And that’s exactly where the very first joker epidemic found its roots, but soon the case was forgotten. In the 19th century, Joker became the center of humiliation, insults, and often considered dump. This was because through their age-old comedy that people didn’t take them seriously. And this simultaneously reduced the joker population in the country. In 1970, “Mera Naam Joker” was released, which turned out to be a big hit. The plot describes the story of a poor man whose life was full of sufferings and sorrows, and as an escape, he took up the mask of a joker. Though the movie broke the joker stereotype in the country, it didn’t affect much to the mindset. And then came John Wayne Gacy in 1994, who completely altered the way people think. He killed 33 boys and men between the period of 1972 to 1978. He was named as the “Killer Clown” because of his charitable services at parades, fund-raising events, and in kids’ parties where he would dress as “Patches the Clown” or “Pogo the Clown,” characters that he had created.
Thanks to Gacy that now in the 20th century, numbers of movies are made on the creepy joker epidemic. Didn’t get it? You might even, not entirely incorrectly, assume that the modern clown phenomenon is just the aftershock of the Gacy event. Take for the movie “IT” and its sequel where the Clown is seen killing people in the town. Then we have numerous movies like Joker in The Dark Knight, where Heath Ledger is seen portraying the role of Badass villain. Red hood joker, wrinkles the Clown, suicide squad, the killing joke is just a few of them. So basically, it’s a mindset adopted, which suggests that clowns are either killers or a creepy monster rather than a funny entertainer.
Recently “Joker” was released, who features a story of a miserable man who lives with his mentally ill mother enduring all the torture, watch his wife die, lost his job, and mistakenly killing three people. The role of Arther Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, took up the character of Clown to hide his miseries beneath. This film, though initially showed the Joker in dark light but still somehow managed to break down the stereotype of an ugly creepy joker. The fact that the movie gave some boasting moral message has tended to enhance the character of Joker around the world. In the film where people saw clowns as a ruthless killer badass villain, the film ‘Joker’ wasn’t entirely out of humanity. The fact that he takes care of his mother, loves his job, and is trying to make people laugh raises a different question: In a world that sometimes seems filled with monsters, does society bear some responsibility in creating them or not?