EVIL clowns have forced Kristoff the Clown into retirement.
The alter-ego of Leamington children’s entertainer Chris Philpott is taking off his red nose and big shoes for good after the horror clown phenomena saw bookings plummet.
Teacher during the day, and clown at weekends, 66 year-old Chris use to get as many as four bookings a day, making up songs and games, hosting ‘clown races,’ and spreading joy to children and adults alike.
But since October bookings have dried up following the rise of evil clowns – believed to have started when reports emerged of clowns lurking in the woods of South Carolina in the USA, inspired by the appearance of clowns in horror films such as Stephen King’s It.
A surge of copy-cat pranksters began wreaking havoc across the US and subsequently reached the UK, much to Chris’ dismay. Evil clown sightings spread rapidly in Britain, including in Warwickshire, with police receiving 14 reports of sightings and online incidents in just one week.
Chris, who has been transforming into Kristoff for 16 years, said the bad press for clowns has left him devastated.
He told The Observer: “I love the metamorphosis of Chris Philpott into Kristoff – it allows me to be creative and make people laugh, at a time when the world is a pretty sad place.
“I love scary movies, but not with clowns. Witches, werewolves, ghosts maybe – but leave clowns out of it.
“I noticed a costume shop which had one of those horror clowns in the window. It wasn’t even Halloween! It’s media and businesses perpetuating something that’s damaging clown culture.”
Chris said as a child he loved the circus and marveled at the clowns, whose professionalism and skill was often overlooked.
“It’s not easy walking into a wall,” added Chris, who fondly recalled getting together with other clowns at conventions.
“Every clown has their own identity. It’s a community, a whole network where we all come together to honour a long tradition.”
Kristoff has only every been a force for good, including raising thousands of pounds for Comic Relief over the years, performing songs on Leamington’s Parade with his clown juke box.
But Chris believes even Kristoff’s fund-raising has been hit by the evil clown epidemic – as he raised £84 this year, much less than in previous years.
Although avid green campaigner Chris’ clowning days are over, he is planning another venture, storytelling with puppets, to educate children on the environment.