Chicago comedian Sadie Walton co-founded Hot Clown Company in 2019, putting on clown variety shows and teaching classes for aspiring clowns.
Ahead of the company’s Halloween–themed show opening this week, Walton told Hey Chicago why you should reconsider your clown phobia.
Why combine clowns and sex?
“Me and another member, Peyton, were putting up our first show at the Annoyance Theatre, [which] does kind of like edgy fringe comedy. We knew we wanted to do a clown show, and sex sells. … The community just really, really responded.”
What are recurring characteristics of a Hot Clown Co. show?
“We take those classic clown tropes — like juggling or balloon animals — and then subvert them by making it dildos or balloon genitals. We have songs, song parodies, dance numbers. We've got a burlesque number in our upcoming show. We like to mix genres in that way. It's a lot of physical comedy. We do have some spoken word pieces, but we also have a lot of silent pieces. … There's a lot of audience participation.”
What do you think are some misconceptions about clowns?
“There's a whole group of people who are terrified of clowns — the first thing they think of is Pennywise or John Wayne Gacy. They think birthday clown, the full face of makeup, the rainbow wigs, which is just garish. … There's a whole new wave of clown in Chicago and other cities.”
“There's this ongoing question of, ‘What is clown and how do you define clown?’ The trick is you can't actually define what it is: It's whatever.”
Hot Clown Company creative director Sadie Walton, aka Bug. (Courtesy of Hot Clown Company)
🎟️ Starting Thursday, see the Hot Clown Sex Horrors show at the Baton Show Lounge in Uptown all month.