“What’s happening is attrition. The older clowns are passing away," Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger recently told the New York Daily News, which noted that membership in the country's largest clown trade group, the World Clown Association, has dropped from 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004.
Clown leaders say that the profession isn't quite as attractive to young people as it used to be.
World Clown Association President Deanna Hartmier said that most of her members are over 40, because they can't get kids interested in clowning (we assume Juggalos don't count).
"What happens is they go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore,” Kohlberger added. “Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s."
But maybe the situation isn't as dire as they think.
A clown and filmmaker named Jeff Seal told Gothamist that clowning is still popular with young people, but trade unions aren't.
"There are still a lot of younger people becoming clowns, they're just not joining the Clowns of America International," Seal said. "It's more of a generational thing I think." a who will work for really cheap."
[New York Daily News, Gothamist]