|Shakes the Clown|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bobcat Goldthwait|
|Produced by||Paul Colichman|
|Written by||Bobcat Goldthwait|
|Music by||Tom Scott|
|Edited by||J. Kathleen Gibson|
|Distributed by||IRS Media|
Shakes the Clown is a 1991 American black comedy film directed and written by Bobcat Goldthwait, who performs the title role. It also features Julie Brown, Blake Clark, Paul Dooley, Kathy Griffin, Florence Henderson, Tom Kenny, Adam Sandler, Scott Herriott, LaWanda Page, Jack Gallagher, and a cameo by Robin Williams as Mime Jerry using the pseudonym "Marty Fromage".
The film is a dark comedy about a birthday-party clown (Goldthwait) in the grip of depression and alcoholism, who is framed for murder. Different communities of clowns, mimes and other performers are depicted as clannish, rivalrous subcultures obsessed with precedence and status. This was Goldthwait's bitter satire of the dysfunctional standup comedy circuit he knew as a performer.
- Bobcat Goldthwait as Shakes the Clown
- Julie Brown as Judy
- Adam Sandler as Dink the Clown
- Blake Clark as Stenchy the Clown
- Tom Kenny as Binky the Clown
- Paul Dooley as Owen Cheese
- Kathy Griffin as Lucy
- Robin Williams (as Marty Fromage) as Mime Jerry
- Paul Kozlowski as HoHo the Clown
- Dan Spencer as Boots the Clown
- Jeremy Kramer as Detective Boar
- Jack Gallagher as Officer Crony
- Bruce Baum as Ty the Rodeo Clown
- Greg Travis as Randi the Rodeo Clown
- Florence Henderson as The Unknown Woman
- Scott Herriott as Floor Director
- LaWanda Page as Female Clown Barfly
- Martin Charles Warner as Male Clown Barfly
- Johnny Silver as Clown Tailor
- Tim Kazurinsky as First Party Dad
- Sydney Lassick as Peppy the Clown
- Tony V. as Broken Saddle Bouncer
Shakes the Clown was not a financial success, earning an estimated $115,000 in ticket sales against an estimated budget of $1.4 million.
Critical reaction to the movie was mixed: Leonard Maltin gave it his lowest rating, while Betsy Sherman of The Boston Globe called it "the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies". Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars, writing that while some isolated scenes were "very funny" the plot was scattered and the performances often seemed under-rehearsed. The film has a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews, with the consensus; "Shakes the Clown has a handful of memorable moments, but they're scattered in a movie whose best ideas were left undeveloped on their way to the screen."
In an interview with Conan O'Brien, Goldthwait revealed that Martin Scorsese had defended the movie from detractors. When a film critic derided the movie in order to make a point about good and bad movies, Scorsese revealed, "I like Shakes the Clown. Haven't you heard? It's the Citizen Kane of Alcoholic Clown Movies!"
- Shakes the Clown (production budget), Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 02, 2015.
- Sandra Brennan. "Shakes the Clown". AllMovie.
- Rabin, Nathan. "Interview: Bobcat Goldthwait". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "Box office / business for Shakes the Clown". IMDb. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- Blowen, Michael (December 2, 1997). "Rigors of family life are taming Bobcat Goldthwait". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- Ebert, Roger. "Shakes The Clown". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Shakes the Clown". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- "Past Winners Database". The Envelope at LA Times. Archived from the original on 6 January 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- "Quotes & Trivia". Scorsese and His Films. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
In popular culture
A sample from this movie was used in the song Interloper by the heavy metal band Slipknot.