Not All Sewer Clowns Are Eldritch Demonic Entities of Evil


As a longtime performance clown of suburban septic systems, I feel it’s necessary to clear the air. Not all sewer clowns are eldritch demonic entities of evil. We’re not collectively preying on your children beneath drainage grates, confiscating their paper boats and severing their arms. That’s the first tenet of the Sewer Clown Code, as a matter of fact: To not covet the treasured limbs of surface dwellers.

Like so many sewer clowns, I’m down here trying to make a living for my sewer family.

I’ve performed for more than 27 years across the country, and I’ve loved every second. Rolling out cartwheels in knee-high sludge for the lucky birthday boy/girl/Ninja Turtle. Executing classic slapstick routines such as Slipping on a Rat Tail, Rats in the Pants or the too-many-rats-coming-out-of-a-tiny-sewer-pipe stunt.

It’s the life I’ve always wanted.

Now there’s some bozo shape-shifting and manipulating preteens as pawns to do its bidding – tarnishing one of the world’s oldest professions. And folks are all too quick to vilify an entire subterranean subset of entertainers.

Let’s not forget sewer clowns have been around for centuries. Ever since sewers started housing our less fortunate and more light-sensitive citizens, sewer clowns have been there to make life easier.

It’s a thankless profession. After all, we can’t all be carnival vaudevillians, comic harlequins or opera Pagliaccis. No, the most considerate among us understand the need to bring joy to the bleakest places, such as your hospitals, sewers and fast food restaurants.

I’m a formally trained sewer clown, but more importantly, I’m a formally trained human being.

My teeth aren’t filed down to razor-sharp fangs. They’re as normal as yours – black and rotted due to non-existent sewer orthodontics. I don’t burst from the shadows in a creepy spider sprint toward my kill. I kick up comically large splashes of sewage as I pounce on a big juicy rat.

Has my clown makeup fused to my skin after prolonged exposure to radioactive runoff? Probably – there aren’t makeup mirrors down here for me to check. Do my irradiated irises glow crimson-red in the dark? I’m sure they do.

But the day a soggy old red-eyed clown can no longer bring joy to a young child is the day I’ll be floating face down in the cold, cold sewer. Not dead, mind you. Just somberly floating in a disappointed fashion.

Because we all float down here. You’ll float too! And I mean that in the least threatening manner possible.



David Henne

Author: David Henne

David Henne is a long-time contributor to McSweeney's and Splitsider. He lives and works in Long Island, New York. He's the one in the green jacket.

Share This Post On