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CLOWN PORN: Party Favors and a Taste for the Absurd

Something… funny… is happening in the world of adult films. Though ‘clown porn’ has probably been around for as long as there’s been clowns and porn, we’ve recently started seeing the genre popping up at film festivals, and now on PinkLabel.tv. What is behind this genre? We interviewed director Abigail Gnash about her new queer clown porn film Party Favors to learn what excites her about clown porn, and what the trend might say about our social climate.

 

PLTV: What, in your opinion, is the definition of Clown Porn?

Abigail Gnash: Well, the surface definition is that it’s porn in which clowns are the performers. What is a clown? This is a whole different philosophical debate, which I’ve had with a few of my performers already.

Is it anyone who dresses as a clown? Do you have to commit to clowning as a lifestyle in some extended way in order to be a clown? Who’s to say? But in any case, I do think performers should commit to clowning while in the role. It’s not just about the makeup and costume; it’s about the acts performed, the mode of interaction with props and other performers, and a taste for the absurd.

 

What are some common themes one might see in this genre? How do these themes play out in Party Favors?

Clown porn tends to embrace an irreverent and farcical take on sex, a disregard for — or even parody of — traditional notions of eroticism. Clowns aren’t interested in performing how sultry they can be, but instead embrace the more awkward, silly, uncoordinated, or gross sides of human sexuality and all the forms it can take.

Some recurring imagery and props within the genre are balloons, pies in the face, general messiness, rubber chickens, brightly colored clothing and sex toys, and different forms of contortion.

With Party Favors, I was interested in using these props, and working within the above-mentioned clownish spirit, to play with a queer and non-teleological idea of sex. Instead of just fixating on extended genital sex scenes, I wanted the characters to be imaginative, to play with one another, to delve into fantasies and whimsy, and to change direction or course suddenly. For me, clowning is a lot about surprise and (harmless) trickery. I think surprise and sexuality have a lot to say to each other, and I wanted to explore this sort of play within the framework of clowning.

 

Are there any challenges in producing clown porn? Any successes with Party Favors (feedback, screenings, etc)?

We made the film on a budget of roughly 700 Euros, which was entirely out of my pocket. I knew all of the performers beforehand and cast them because I saw something inherently clownish about their demeanor or character. So I knew these were people who wouldn’t raise an eyebrow when I’d suggest something outlandish. We worked together to come up with different characters/personas/looks, and shared ideas about how scenes could unfold. Aside from being met with disapproval from one friend of mine, I felt fairly encouraged and supported by those around me, and found my cast and crew to be a pleasure to work with. The reception has been positive, though fairly limited, so far.

Party Favors has screened at a few PornFilmFestivals in Berlin, London, and Rome, and also been a part of smaller underground screenings in France, Italy, and Germany. I hope it continues to find new audiences, and I’m thrilled to now be able to share Party Favors on PinkLabel.TV!

 

We’re happy to have it! Let’s watch the trailer…. pull up a seat and grab your popcorn…

 

So fun! What do you love the most about the genre? Are there other clown porn producers, or adult clown performers, who inspire you?

My interest in making a post-porn with clowns didn’t come so much from pre-existing clown porn, though I have enjoyed and admired the clown porn I’ve seen, hardcore and otherwise. My inspiration came more from other appearances of clowns in cinema. I’ll admit, I do enjoy horror clowns — who doesn’t love Killer Klowns From Outer Space, or the supremely vulgar Captain Spaulding in House of 1000 Corpses? But more than that, I’ve always been inspired by tragic, often humiliated clowns, such as those in The Blue Angel, Laugh Clown Laugh, and Santa Sangre. I’m also delighted when clowns show up, even super briefly, as some sort of disruptive narrative device.

It’s hard to say what it is exactly, but I just think clowns onscreen can really pack a punch. I’ve always found them compelling to watch, not just as purveyors of the unexpected and inexplicable, but more so as the ones who confront us with the messier sides of being human.

 

There appears to be a rise in popularity with clowns, everywhere from new clown porn to mainstream films such as Steven King’s IT. What are your thoughts about the resurgence in an interest about clowning?

It is funny, isn’t it? I also read that tube site search results for “clown” have more than doubled recently. It could be a response to the very real horrors of US politics, or to a general fear that the world is ending, due to the proliferation of natural disasters and climate change.

Clowns are often said to be laughing on the outside, crying on the inside. I think this ambivalence is one that a lot of people can relate to, and that finds many iterations in popular culture. Sometimes people just want to play dress-up, play pranks, regress, get a rise out of others, disguise themselves, simply try on a new look.

Maybe more people are catching onto the endless richness of the clown as an agent of chaos and subversion, and clowning is finally enjoying the renaissance it deserves? It would be nice if folks could get a bit more creative than just scaring people in public parks and movie theaters… but in the meantime, perhaps queer porn is the ideal place to watch the potentialities of the clown unfurl!

 

What’s next for Abigail Gnash? Can we expect any new films from I Abject Productions?

I’m currently in the process of writing and casting a lesbian sweat fetishism film, with plenty of panty sniffing and armpit worship. Should be fun.

Definitely looking forward to your next endeavor. Until then… send in the clowns! Watch PARTY FAVORS on PinkLabel.TV.

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