Shakes the Clown (1991) Poster

Shakes the Clown (1991)

  • Rate: 5.5/10 total 3,300 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 13 March 1992 (USA)
  • Runtime: 87 min
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Shakes the Clown (1991)


Shakes the Clown 1991tt0102898.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Shakes the Clown (1991)
  • Rate: 5.5/10 total 3,300 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 13 March 1992 (USA)
  • Runtime: 87 min
  • Filming Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Budget: $1,400,000 (estimated)
  • Gross: $115,103 (USA)
  • Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Stars: Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, Bruce Baum | See full cast and crew »
  • Original Music By: Tom Scott   
  • Soundtrack: Sober Blues
  • Sound Mix: Dolby
  • Plot Keyword: Clown | Party | Murder | Mime | Written And Directed By Cast Member

Writing Credits By:

  • Bobcat Goldthwait (written by)

Known Trivia

  • The Iowan metal band Slipknot sampled the line “As soon as that camera is off, he gonna f**k that little dog” in the song “Interloper”, on their self-titled debut album. 2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Bobcat Goldthwait and actor Tom Kenny were childhood friends. 2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |

Goofs: Continuity: When Shakes confronts Binky at the clown bar, the clown with the bright green hair loses his bright green chest hair.

Plot: Shakes plods about his duties as party clown, and uses all of his free time getting seriously drunk… See more » |  »

Story: Shakes plods about his duties as party clown, and uses all of his free time getting seriously drunk. Binky, another clown, wins the spot on a local kiddie show, which depresses Shakes even more, and his boss threatens him with unemployment if he can’t get his act under control. When someone murders Shakes’ boss and makes it look like Shakes did it, he goes undercover, posing as a hated mime, and tries to find information that will clear his name. Written byEd Sutton <>

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Michael Bennett known as line producer
  • Melissa Cobb known as associate producer
  • Paul Colichman known as producer
  • Miles A. Copeland III known as executive producer
  • Barry Krost known as executive producer
  • Ann Luly known as producer
  • Steven Reich known as associate producer
  • Harold Welb known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Bobcat Goldthwait known as Shakes the Clown
  • Julie Brown known as Judy
  • Bruce Baum known as Ty the Rodeo Clown
  • Steve Bean known as Beaten Mime in Park
  • Blake Clark known as Stenchy the Clown
  • Eliza Coyle known as Enthusiastic Mime
  • Paul Dooley known as Owen Cheese
  • Gerald F. Edelstein known as 2nd Party Dad
  • Robin Williams known as Mime Class Instructor (as Marty Fromage)
  • Jack Gallagher known as Officer Crony
  • Paige Gosney known as Billy
  • Kathy Griffin known as Lucy
  • Florence Henderson known as The Unknown Woman
  • Scott Herriott known as Floor Director
  • Melissa Hurley known as Producer at Big Time Cartoon Circus
  • Tim Kazurinsky known as 1st Party Dad
  • Tom Kenny known as Binky the Clown
  • Paul Kozlowski known as HoHo the Clown
  • Jeremy Kramer known as Detective Boar (as Jeremy S. Kramer)
  • Sydney Lassick known as Peppy the Clown
  • Joel Murray known as Milkman
  • Bob Nickman known as Gas Station Owner
  • LaWanda Page known as Female Clown Barfly (as La Wanda Page)
  • Shane Ricci known as Obnoxious Kid at Party
  • Adam Sandler known as Dink the Clown
  • Johnny Silver known as Clown Tailor
  • Cary Smith known as Mom at Party
  • Dan Spencer known as Boots the Clown
  • Greg Travis known as Randi the Rodeo Clown
  • Tony V. known as Broken Saddle Bouncer (as Tony V)
  • Tom Villard known as Dirthead in Car
  • Martin Charles Warner known as Male Clown Barfly



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:

  • Lance Anderson known as special effects makeup artist: Make-Up Designs, Inc.
  • Karen Asano-Myers known as hair designer
  • Jeffrey S. Farley known as makeup effects artist (as Jeff Farley)
  • Kathryn Fenton known as makeup designer (as Kathryn Kelly)
  • Andy 'Happy' Gersh known as makeup assistant: clown
  • Chuck 'Lucky' Gibbs known as makeup assistant: clown
  • Joshua Ruben known as makeup assistant: clown

Art Department:

  • Carlos Barbosa known as construction coordinator
  • Richard Brunton known as assistant art director (as Richard G. Brunton)
  • Scott Edward Collins known as set dresser
  • Blair Martin known as property master
  • Carew Papritz known as constructor
  • Duncan Rouleau known as sketch artist
  • Phillip Schneider known as scenic painter (as Phil Schneider)




Production Companies:

  • IRS Media


  • IRS Media (1992) (USA) (theatrical)
  • 20/20 Vision (1993) (UK) (VHS)
  • Sony Video (1999) (USA) (VHS)
  • Columbia TriStar Home Video (2000) (USA) (DVD)
  • LK-TEL Vídeo (Brazil) (VHS)



Other Stuff

Visual Effects by:

  • Richard Kilroy known as matte artist

MPAA: Rated R for language and drug use



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on August 2, 2014 by Movies DVD New Releases Blu-ray in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. Tom ( from parts unknown
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    I’ve tried to get my friends to watch this movie with me, but they justcan’t get over the fact that there are CLOWNS everywhere! GROW UP! "Shakesthe Clown" is a truly love-it-or-hate-it movie, with each side taking theirstand solidly. Put me in the love column. The fact that everything is playeddead serious despite the fact that they’re clowns is what keeps this moviefrom just being stupid. Tom Kenny is PERFECTLY cast as Binky, the best comicvillain I have ever seen. Most comic villains are either so bad they’recool, or so bad you can’t bear to watch them. Mr. Kenny achieves a perfectbalance of being totally unappealing, yet you want to keep watching to seehim get it in the end. The best villains feel their actions are completelyjustified, and Binky is no different. His actions are completelyself-preserving and in his mind justifiable. Shouts should also be given outto Adam Sandler and Julie Brown. While Adam often resorts to the easy laughin his starring vehicles, he’s perfect as the insecure clown with noconfidence with his ability with the opposite sex. You can easily see whyP.T. Anderson chose him to star in "Punch Drunk Love". People have atendency to hate Julie Brown, and I can understand why, but I’ve always beena fan of hers. Her role as the put-upon barmaid/girlfriend of Shakes wouldhave been annoying in any other movie, but given the circumstances involved,I find her absolutely adorable. The characters of HoHo, Boots, Stenchy, OwenCheese, the two cops, the rodeo clowns, etc. are all perfectly cast.Especially memorable is the late Sydney Lassick as Peppy, the forciblyretired host of the TV show that Binky takes over. It’s a crying shame thatmore people don’t like this movie, as it would have given Bobcat moreopportunities to do films HIS way. Why didn’t this film make EW’s top 50cult movies? Until people get over their phobia of clowns, this flick isnever going to get the respect it truly deserves, and that is a cryingshame. 10/10

  2. marc from Seattle, Washington
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    This movie won’t win any technical awards, but if you like dark comedies(this film makes "Barton Fink" look light and breezy at times), this is themovie for you. At times uproariously funny, the poignant parts are luckilykept to a minimum, and there are gritty moments as well. Whether you’re arodeo clown, party clown, or even a lowly mime, this is a movie chock fullof lines you’ll find yourself repeating in all the most inappropriateoccasions. Besides–didn’t you kind of suspect that all clowns weremiserable deep down, and drunk constantly?

    Just beware–this is not a kids’ film by any stretch of the imagination, andsome of the scenes of Shakes dealing with his alcoholism arestomach-churning, but it provides the backdrop for some serious comedicwriting unmatched by virtually every other film out there.

  3. Binzer Piloshit from Leesburg, VA, USA
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    This rare gem is an example of a funny, funny man (Bobcat Goldthwait) givenfree reign over the creation of a comedy gem. Though this film may notexemplify any of the tired old Hollywood "formulas" for what makes aprofitable comedy, it nonetheless succeeds wonderfully.

    Shakes The Clown is quirky, kinky, edgy and hilarious. It features greatcomic performances by many such under rated comic talents as Bruce Baum andTom Kenny. Conversely, in the tradition of the inspired casting of LeslieNeilsen in Airplane, Goldthwait places in hilariously improbable comicsituations traditional "straight" actors, such as Florence Henderson in therole of a Clown-dating bar floozy.

    I won’t say that this film exemplifies a category, because I feel that itdefines one. A true original, one of a kind, Shakes The Clown should not bemissed.

  4. craig ede from Minneapolis, MN
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    The movie poster when I saw "Shakes" in the theatre touted it as the"Citizen Kane of Alcoholic Clown Movies," clearly a better analogy thanthe"Gone with the Wind" one touted here. This is one strange fantasy whereclowns hang out in their own bars watching clown shows on TV while tossingback shots. The bars are segregated by clown type, with bars for rodeoclowns and bars for party clowns with no mixing tolerated. Robin Williams’bit part as a mime instructor is some of his best work every, enhanced (asall Robins work should be) by it’s brevity. Great work, Bobcat! (The kidsinthe sprinkler scene is great, a lovingly filmed, uncharacteristicly joyfulmoment in this very, very dark comedy.) Rumor has it that clown groupspicketed theatres when this movie was released, claiming that it wasdefamatory to clowns.

  5. Swag Valance (witness-7) from San Francisco, CA
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    A reviewer at the Boston Globe once called this, "The Citizen Kane ofalcoholic clown movies." Given the number of points of comparison, who couldargue?

    I was reminded of this when I recently saw the 2003 movie, "Bad Santa" –which was a similar one-joke, cynical comedy about an obnoxious alcoholicemployed as a character meant to bring joy into the lives of children. (Thename "Shakes" takes on a whole new meaning when the lead character attemptsto detox.) If that one joke works, so goes the movie. So for comparison, Irecently rented it not long after seeing "Bad Santa."

    While Bad Santa received a great number of favorable critical reviews, thismovie wasn’t as fortunate. Upon further review, I have to say that thismovie never got the credit it deserved.

    Is it a great movie? Oh no. This is a movie that attempts to be so bad andfoul, rolling in its own filth, that best targets people with the right,low-expectation mindset. But you could also say that of "There’s SomethingAbout Mary."

    It employs humor in some of the background scenes a la "Airplane." Its useof cheesy 70s actors is pure genius and helps complete the joke. (NevermindRobin Williams, an early Adam Sandler, and the then-future voice of SpongeBob Squarepants as the evil Binky the Clown.) If you can manage a smirkduring John Waters’ "Mondo Trasho," you’ll likely find the movie to be quitefunny overall.

    It’s Bobcat’s opus, and its no wonder he never really made much of anythingsince; the same was true for Orson Wells after "Citizen Kane"…

  6. thunderpuppy
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    Henry Rollins broke humanity down, once, into "People who get Devo, andpeople who don’t." You can do the same for this movie… there are peoplewho get it, and people who don’t, and you will never, ever convince someonethat doesn’t get this film that it’s enjoyable. Just give up. If theycan’t see the humor in "Oh great, now I have to kill you too. Another redletter day for Binky…"

  7. funkyfry from Oakland CA
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    Very entertaining film pits rival bands of clowns (Rodeo, party, and mimeclowns) against each other in a weird alternate world dominated byarchetypes of 1950s entertainment (much like Tim Burton’s equallyentertaining "Pee Wee’s Big Adventure"). Goldthwait acts up a storm as theclinically alcoholic title character. The photography is as dark as thefilm’s viewpoint — this one is a keeper!

    Shakes is truly sympathetic because he never solicits pity or tries to becute (like Sandler would have if it was his film). Here honesty pays off,because we’d really like to see Shakes hook up with his dream girl (Brown)by the end. Nice character acting all around, especially the clowns in thebar and the 2 cops.

    Memorable and highly recommended.

  8. hepkatmama from Dallas, TX
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    the darkly humorous story of an alcholic party clown who is framed bycoke-dealing rodeo clowns and must overcome his condescending feelingstowards mimes when he must take refuge in one of theirstudios.

    black comedy painted in neon colors with funny clown shoes for thatdisturbing effect. an issue as serious as alcoholism shouldn’t b takenlightly, but the darkness within the "twisted balloon" bar is could be anyhole in the wall drink joint over-run with industry regulars. its justthisindustry is full party clowns who pick on the artistic mimes and cower infear of rodeo clowns.

    binky is one of the most creepy & festive characters in recent years. hisrationalizations of his behavior are text book. "u all loathe me… thinkmy balloon animals suck". it seems strangely appropriate that the rodeoclowns are selling coke binky and his yes men.

    this movie is full of incredible lines & visual humor (check out theofficein the background when shakes is getting picked up at the police stationduring the conversation with the cops).

  9. Cthulhu Spawn from Melbourne, Florida
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    This is one of my all-time favorite movies. As shallow as it appears on thesurface, this film delivers with some subtle laughs.

    As far as casting goes, this is the only movie in which I liked ChrisElliot. The character of Binky cracks me up every time I watch the film.His absolute self absorption and megalomania lead to some very "quoteable"lines and terrific cinematic moments.

    Also, the fact that Robin Williams’ name doesn’t appear in the creditsmakes me smile. In the credits, Mime Jerry is played by "Marty Fromage"making me wonder if, at seeing the final product, he refused to have his nameattached to it. Or, if Mr. Williams is willing to play jokes with his veryname when he doesn’t have a great stake in the success of a film.

    I consider this film a masterpiece of dark comedy, and it has made meeternally loyal to Bobcat Goldthwait. I only hope he runs for Presidentsomeday.

  10. schwabe13
    02 Aug 2014, 3:00 pm

    I was amazed to see this movie getting ranked just above a five. There’snever been a movie like it. It manages to be funny and confrontalcoholismat the same time, something you won’t see in say, 28 Days. Instead oftrying to be serious, this movie is surreal, and in being surreal, itmanages to give you an accurate portrayal of the disease of addiction, andalso a very funny movie about clowns who drink, fight, and wear theirclownsuits all the time.

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