What is an ” AUGUSTE ” clown?

In 1869 an american acrobat called Tom Belling was working in Circus Renz in Berlin. He was banned from the ring for three weeks for being incompetent through drink. He was larking about outside the ring entrance wearing a ringmaster’s costume inside out and a ginger wig back to front when he was spotted by Herr Renz who shoved him through the curtains into the ring where he landed in a heap. His look of surprise and efforts to scramble out brought hoots of laughter and shouts of “Auguste-Auguste” from the crowd, which was Berliner slang for “clumsy clot” The name stuck and ever since this term has been used to describe a clumsy clown who wears ill fitting clothes and falls about, getting into trouble.

Coco The Clown

Coco, a geat circus clown

The photo above is of Michale Polakovs whom I had the great pleasure and honour to meet whilst studying the performance art of clowning in the USA many years ago. He was typical of a wonderful “Auguste” clown.


Who is your favourite clown and why?

Jolly Good Productions

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