Clown Jokes

In Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen, Rorschach tells a joke:

Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seem harsh and cruel.

Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain.

Doctor says “treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.”

Man bursts into tears. Says “but, doctor…”

“…I am Pagliacci.”

Bad psychiatric advice, but a darkly funny joke.

On Stack Exchange, user GGMG asks, “Was this an actual joke outside of Watchmen?” I invite you to read the answers there, which also includes a copy of the page from the comic, but the short answer is, “yes.” The joke was told of comedian Joseph Grimaldi, and is similar to a poem by Juan de Die Peza from 100 years before Watchmen, and in the opera Pagliacci.

All this, really, as preface for this masterful twist on the joke by @spacetwinks:

Finally, here’s Norm MacDonald telling a yarn to Conan O’Brien.

The way Conan just bows his head in wonder and embarrassment at having fallen for such a shaggy dog story is just splendid.