Author Archive | Mark

Clown Apocalypse: The Day the Laughter Died

Depressed Student Clown by Phil Kneen(

It was as though everyone who was infected by the Bozo Virus (BV) had received an extensive education at the Barnum and Bailey Clown College. In fact, one of the early ways of detecting the infection was for doctors to test if patients could juggle, even just a little bit.

It was a sign of the hilarious malady to come.

In addition to physical skills, victims of BV had a gnosis of clowning techniques. For example, after the onset of the physical symptoms, sufferers would understand the idea of having a framework, a general structure for an act, whether a short “side dish” or a longer “entrée.” These would be fleshed out (and covered with whiteface) with bits, gags (running and stand-alone), and occasionally, with some business. Sometimes with props, sometimes with other clowns.

For some, the disease was relentless. As soon as they had a framework, and another victim or prop to work with, and even some weak business, they would start the show. It didn’t matter if they had an audience or not. It didn’t matter if they were any good. They just needed to clown.

But the laughter that clowns and virus victims alike long to hear would never come. The blow off arrived, but there would be silence. Many a joke “chomped the flower”, and produced nary a chuckle.

These poor bastards did not have to wait for the inevitable end of the Bozo Virus. The end would find them sooner. As their gags died, so did they. In horrible, horrible droves.

Some lay on railroad tracks, some took pills, and a lucky few found cannons to fire themselves from. Most of them would just pretend they tripped on something, and fall into traffic. (This was dreadful on two fronts: in addition to the guilt of thinking they’d just killed someone, drivers discovered how impossible it was to get pancake makeup off their fenders.)

Everyone agreed: even clowns couldn’t make suicide funny.

Read the first part, Clown Apocalypse.

Alltop likes a good blow off. Depressed Student Clown, a photo by Phil Kneen( on Flickr.

Top rejected final messages from David Bowman (spoilers)

As you probably know, in the book version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, David Bowman’s final words recorded by mission control are: “My God, it’s full of stars!”. (This excellent line didn’t make it into the movie, but it did make it into the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact”.) What you don’t know is that David Bowman had some time to think about his final message, and he had a few early drafts:

  • By Thor’s Hammer, it’s replete with twinkly lights.
  • Holy shit, I could have had a V-8!
  • On the whole I’d rather be in Philadelphia.
  • O Vishnu’s titties, I am become … aaahhh.
  • I have a bad feeling about this.
  • I love you Charlie!
  • Mission Control? I’m shitting Twinkies.

As always, feel free to add any other final lines in the comments.

My god, Alltop is full of funny.