The tears of a clown

Mar 30th, 2006 | By | Category: Spirituality

Reflecting on Salley Vickers’ Mr Golightly’s Holiday at our Readers’ Group last night, there was much discussion of tragedy and comedy and whether the two were necessarily linked. The passage in which the protagonists reflect upon the anecdotal story of Joseph Grimaldi, the man considered to be the father of modern clowning was discussed.

The anecdote has been told in many ways over the past two centuries. On Wikipedia,, it appears as follows:

“The famous ‘sad clown’ anecdote was first told of Grimaldi (later also told of Grock):

A young man goes to see his doctor.

He is overcome by a terrible sadness and doesn’t think anything will make him feel better.

The doctor says “Why not do something happy, like going to see Grimaldi the clown?”

The young man answers “Ah, but doctor,” with a knowing look “I am Grimaldi.”

Is it is painful thought that laughter and tears and happiness and sadness seem inextricably linked.

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