Send in the Clowns


bz panel 06-14-13Bizarro is brought to you by Black Comedy.

In my 185-year career, I have sometimes been criticized for doing funeral gags. Comments like these are usually from readers who had recently lost someone close. I sympathize with them but always remind them that being able to laugh at tragedy is a singularly human trait and one that we use very effectively to temporarily relieve pain and fear. It’s not just a relief to laugh in dark times, it is essential to our sanity.

bz strip 06-14-13I didn’t have any of this in mind when I drew this gag, I just thought it was funny. I wonder if anyone has ever done this at a clown’s funeral? If I were a clown, I’d insist on it in my will. Even though I’m not a clown (and am terrified of them), I may put this in there anyway. Life is worth little if you don’t laugh often.


49 thoughts on “Send in the Clowns

  1. I also dislike clowns in general, so this one was particularly amusing. I liked the variety of clowns you added in the strip version. For fearing them so, you do draw great clowns.

  2. Hi Dan. I like that you’re publishing both of your artworks (artswork?) in the blog for each strip. Sometimes I like the tall one, sometimes the wide one. Sometimes both. And I like the extra links to supplemental images. Thanks for your extra efforts!

    I thought this one (clown funeral) is lacking one small detail – a “baby bump” kind of thing for the foot of the casket. You know, for the over-sized “clown shoes”.


    • Funny you should mention that, I did a cartoon years ago of a clown funeral with a large protuberance for the feet. :o)

  3. Thank you for this cartoon. We were in line at a motuary yesterday and last week. This did bring a smile to my face. I would like to think that our departed friends would’ve also smirked at this.

  4. Love it. I was thinking as I was studying this cartoon about a clown funeral where 30 clown ghosts come out of the coffin, but ultimately, I can’t make it very funny. It seems like that ought to be funny.

  5. The Oakland As baseball team delivers a pie to the face of a teammate who makes a game-winning play. Maybe next you could do a baseball funeral.

  6. Oh come on! We have to endure a very painful sad clown painting in our bedroom* so the least they could do is shut up and enjoy the funeral.

    *Painted by my wife’s aunt, who was a clown when she was younger, albeit one with poor taste in art.

    This reminds me of another kind of funeral joke:

    As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral

    director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no

    family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in

    the Kentucky back-country.

    As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost; and being a

    typical man I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late

    and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in

    sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating


    I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

    I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was

    already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

    The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played

    out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played

    like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

    And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep.

    They wept, I wept, and we all wept together.

    When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though

    my head hung low, my heart was full.

    As I was opening the door to my car, I heard one of the worker say,

    “Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothing like that before and I’ve

    been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

  7. This puts life and death in perspective!

    It is just amazing how out of touch the public is about: d-y-I-n-g” . It happens. it is a part of life. it really is– part of life. What matters is the legacy that you leave behind.

    This would be the highest compliment to a professional clown.

  8. Love your strip; love your humor.

    I’ve been a clown for 30 years. I was amused.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you here: we are collectively losing our sense of humor like grains of sand from an hourglass as more and more people insist it is their God-Given Right to never be offended.

    Oh yeah; and grown adults who are afraid of clowns? Wussies.

  9. An Instant Classic for the ages, Dan! This is indeed one complex, hilarious, bittersweet cartoon. You made all the clown faces sad, and yet, solemnly respectful as they carefully carry their assorted pies to smack the dearly departed in the face. (And I’ll just bet that tall clown is wearing a squirting flower.)

    And, of course, they’ll all ride to the cemetery in one small, black car.

  10. Once again you amaze me with your brilliance Sir Dan. I laughed quite hard when I saw and read and then read and saw. Your after comments are even more enriching. I didn’t know that clowns die. Well done man.

  11. love reading your comics. thanks so much for sharing them here for free. as a kid i loved to eat my bowl of lucky charms and read through the color sunday comics from my dad’s paper, but i haven’t read a paper paper for years.

    this comic reminded me of the Modern Family show which had a clown funeral and even included the pie in the coffin. Modern Family Season 3, Episode 18 – “Send Out the Clowns”.

  12. Pingback: Send In The Clowns |

  13. “A little song … a little dance … a little seltzer down your pants.” (from the eulogy for Chuckles the Clown)

    I am leader of a jazz funeral band. We’re in the business of “lightening up” following a funeral with a little spirit for the survivors. There are tragedies in this world, and untimely death is one. But death itself is the one thing all life in the cosmos shares. It’s a great unifying factor and we should embrace it with joy and hope. After all, nobody gets out alive.

    Love your stuff.

  14. Pingback: El funeral de un payaso — Tecnoculto

  15. If you want this done at your funeral (pie in face), don’t put it in your will, which isn’t usually read until about a week after the funeral.

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