Grotesque Whiteface

The Grotesque Whiteface Clown, also called the Comedy Whiteface, has features that are out of proportion or accented with vivid colors. This includes facial features - and other body parts!


Although white make-up covers all exposed skin, the similarites to European and Neat Whiteface clowns ends there. The mouth and eyebrows are usually over-sized, although some clowns emphasize their features with color rather than shape. In that case, the features are created with various colors beyond the customary red and black of the Neat Whiteface Clown.

Comedy Whiteface - Peaches
Comedy Whiteface
Theresa "Peaches" Taylor

A bulbous red nose is typical of this clown, whose appearance is probably what comes to mind when people in America hear the word 'clown.' The different shapes and sizes of noses available make it much easier for each clown to choose their individual look.

While some people relate the word 'grotesque' with 'ugly,' Grotesque clowns are often quite beautiful, as you can see on this page. The word 'grotesque' simply describes the exaggerated or unnatural features of this clown (as well as the features of the Auguste clown). For some odd reason, most clowns of this type prefer the description 'Comedy' over 'Grotesque.' Hmmm...


The (Comedy) Grotesque Whiteface Clown wears a costume that exaggerates any part of the body, sometimes several parts! He may have an over sized rump or belly or both. His shoes will probably be much larger than normal. He can wear the traditional jumpsuit but it would be just as acceptable to wear brightly colored pants and shirt often adorned with a complimenting vest. The pants may be twice as big around as the clown, held up by suspenders, and either hang loose or be extended from the waist by a hoop. The 'tuxedo look' costume (often very colorful) is popular with the Grotesque Whiteface Clown, as he is often the spokesperson in a group of clowns. He can wear formal attire to symbolize his status yet satisfy the desire to be a colorful clown!

A dress with a full skirt and lots of petticoats are often worn by the female Comedy Whiteface, although she may also be seen in the same type costume as male clowns. The entire costume usually goes together nicely in the tradition of coordination that is typical of a Whiteface clown. It can be accessorized with sequins, glitter, ruffles and ribbons. Finer fabrics like silks and satins are in character - this is a Whiteface after all!

As with all Whiteface clowns, gloves would be worn to cover the whole hand and exposed wrists. Traditionally white gloves have been worn (and are required for competition) but colored gloves that coordinate with the outfit are becoming more popular. Wild hair, in any color of the rainbow, may be fully or partially covering the skull and a costume hat, bow or some other type of decoration in the hair is common.

Comedy Whiteface Clown
Comedy Whiteface Clown
(Dale McKenzie)

Read our
Clown Types

Famous (Comedy) Grotesque Whiteface Clowns

  • Pinto Colvig, Sr.(1892-1967)
  • Frank "Felix" Adler (1895-1960)
  • Paul Jung(1901-1965)
  • Ernie "Blinko" Burch(1929-1997)

and although they have been represented by various clown personalities through the years, we have to include:

  • Bozo the Clown(1946-present)
  • Ronald McDonald (1963-present)

Pinto Colvig
the 1st Bozo

"Felix" Adler


"Blinko" Burch


the Clown


Be sure to check out the other Whiteface Clown styles:
Neat (Standard) Whiteface and European (Classic) Whiteface.

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