Buffoons, Jesters, Fools and Tricksters have been recorded since the earliest times.
Egyptian Pharaohs and Ancient Romans were the beneficiaries of the healing effects of the injected comic relief which these silly characters introduced to the serious and/or tragic situations thereby assisting the people to regain a balance and perspective.
In Medieval Europe The Court Jester was the only person who was allowed to poke fun at the king without fear of being beheaded. His cleverness, insight and biting wit helped the king to remember his obligations to his subjects. He could be commanded to become the Court Jester.
In the 1500's two types of fool characters emerged as central performers in Italian Theater. The harlequin was a trickster and the bumbler, also known as a Zanni, was the fall-guy. It is from these characters that today's White-face and August clowns have evolved.
Clowns are generally regarded as funny, silly, entertainers who have a wide range of special skills and talent, and many do have. But the word entertainment only means 'to hold the attention of'. A clown is someone who stands out from the crowd, is immediately recognised by the colourful clothes and exaggerated make-up as being a strange and weird, fantasy character. Often people smile at the mere sight of a clown.
Individual clowns have very different personalities. There are clever clowns, silly clowns, happy and sad clowns however they all hold the attention of the audience in their own unique way.