The Brief: TikTokers are clowning around as they don clown-inspired makeup and lip sync to Insane Clown Posse songs.
These videos, along with many other recent clown-themed TikTok memes, usually feature girls in clown makeup lip-syncing along to songs. It seems that this trend allows people to try out clown cosplay and have some fun acting like creepy clowns. TikTok clown memes follow larger trends of clown-related memes and humor currently present in pop culture.
The hashtag #ClownCheck has received over 289 million views on TikTok. This video format typically starts out with a sound clip of someone saying “clown check” followed by lyrics from Insane Clown Posse’s (ICP) “Hokus Pokus” [Explicit]. The lyrics include:
Abracadabra boom shacka dae
I’m Violent J, and I’m back like a vertebrae
The most typical variation of this format shows someone singing along to the lyrics while wearing creepy clown makeup, sometimes with a strobe light on them for an extra dramatic effect.
Another popular format includes a clip from the ICP song “The Dating Game” [Explicit]. The lyrics in the clip depict the following exchange between a potential date and Violent J:
Contestant Number 1: So let’s say you were to come over to my parent’s house
And have dinner with me and my family, tell me
What you’d do to make that first impression really stick
Violent J: Let’s see, well I’d have to think about it
I might show up in a tux but I doubt it
Is This A Juggalo Trend?
Although ICP’s music is often sampled, many TikTokers don’t seem to be aware of the band’s cultural significance nor do they appear to identify as Juggalos.
According to an article by Magdalene Taylor published in Mel Magazine, Juggalos have reacted to the trend in varying ways. One Juggalo interviewed stated: “it is what it is about the TikTok situation, but being a Juggalo I don’t place judgment, and any real Lo will tell you the same.”
On TikTok, videos that are created by Juggalos can be found under hashtags including #JuggaloFamily (4 million views) and #InsaneClownPosseICP (1.2 million views).
The hashtag #ClowningAround has received over 323 million views and #ClownCosplay has over 43 million views. TikTok designated #ClowningAround as one of the hashtags featured on the app’s homepage. While this trend may be partially in dialogue with Juggalo culture and ICP music, the aesthetics more closely match Harley Quinn’s makeup and YouTube makeup tutorials. The clown makeup trend is somewhat reminiscent of eGirl and Soft SZN TikTok trends in that they are based on both TikTok videos and replicable makeup and styling techniques. It appears that many TikTokers are using this trend to do just what it suggests: clown around.