The circus´ main comic figure is found in the Auguste clown. This figure has resisted with the new clowns, like Ludor Citrik, who have remained as audacious as ever and revived the ferocity (irreverence, immodesty and monstrosity) that the traditional circus was beginning to feel it should tone down.
But the nose no longer holds a monopoly. The circus´ comic figure has diversified. As seen with Philippe Goudard or Nikolaus, he juxtaposes different registers, being simultaneously paradoxical, eccentric, cheeky, burlesque, ridiculous, zany, satirical or absurd.
Unlike the more media-friendly humourists, these “clowns” are not looking for applause or the easy laugh, but wish to be abundantly excessive, breaking social codes until it becomes almost unbearable. To this end, they cleverly play with the audience´s familiarity with a genre though of as repetitive, inoffensive and of minor importance.
Always staying within the paradox of nearly superhuman skill (let´s remember that they are often excellent acrobats) and deadly ridiculousness, the “circus laugh” is a serious art, taking for its target the spirit of seriousness, which is a threat to any art. Let there be no mistake, this art awakens our terrors and pipedreams, without ever curing us of them!