A spokesman for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College said on Tuesday he was disappointed by the slew of recent clown scares on college campuses nationwide and elsewhere.
Stephen Payne, vice president for communication at Feld Entertainment Inc., the company that produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and runs its Clown College, said the national attention to scary clowns has prompted “intermittent” calls to his office for comment.
“It is troubling because it’s a distraction for our clowns who just want to make people laugh and smile,” Mr. Payne said. “That’s what our clowns are dedicating to doing.”
About 500 students at Pennsylvania State University gathered for hours in what appeared to be a semi-spontaneous panic on Monday night, in response to rumors of a threatening clown sighting, The Centre Daily Times reported.
— The Daily Collegian (@DailyCollegian) October 4, 2016
Penn State was just the latest college caught in the creepy-clown hysteria, as reports have surfaced in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington about clowns behaving suspiciously around colleges. The police say that, by and large, the reports have turned out to be hoaxes.
According to the police at Penn State, no clowns were spotted, but officers were flooded with calls about students anticipating clowns in the downtown area and on the campus.
Despite the fears circulating on social media, Mr. Payne said people would still go to the circus and audition for Clown College. The circus holds auditions nationwide for people seeking to become clowns with the Ringling Bros. circus by attending its Clown College. The dates for this year’s auditions have not been announced, according to the college’s website.
Applicants are asked to prepare a three- to five-minute routine, and to not wear any makeup or costumes. The college does not confer degrees.