I was never a fan of the comedy "Stylings" of Bobcat Goldthwait. His killing a rooster vocal delivery just made my head ache. Didn't help that he was a part of the Police Academy series which surely must have scarred a generation of film goers. Will the horror never end?
Then I saw "Shakes the Clown." I can now say that there is indeed a thinking, creative person named Bobcat Goldthwait and I very much like this Bobcat. Some critic called Shakes "The Citizen Kane of drunken clown movies." While that's a bit of an overstatement what we have here is a truly mature work of art that marries comedy with a rough down and out edge reality not out of step with Bukowski.
Shakes is a clown and he's an alcoholic. No, Shakes is an alcoholic and a clown. As a clown he's actually pretty good, even when half crocked he can do amazing clown things. As an alcoholic though Shakes is a shambling failure of a human. He's destroying his relationships specially with his Elmira Fuddite girlfriend and bowler played by Julie Brown. His friends can't trust him. His work is slipping and he faces firing. Oh and he lost his chance for TV to the town's most unfunniest clown Binkie the coke head.
Binkie though couldn't leave well enough alone and when he kills Shakes boss he sets Shakes up to take the fall. Shakes now is truly motivated to stop drinking and find out just what is going on. It leads to the underworld of clown culture. It seems there is a distinct pecking order. Party clowns beat up on mimes and rodeo clowns beat up on everyone. Shakes has to take responsiblity. He has to take control. He has to stop waking up in strange ladies homes being peed on by little kids. It shows how good a film this is that you are really drawn into his plight even as you savor the absurdity of Shake's world.
Here's one of the songs on the soundtrack here