It's a controversial statement, to be sure, but not all clowns are bad. With the latest wave of coulrophobia sweeping the nation with the release of IT, the premiere of American Horror Story: Cult and red balloons popping up in storm drains, it's hard to remember that clowns were once supposed to be funny?
So put aside Pennywise and Twisty: here are 10 fictional clowns who probably won't live on in your nightmares.
10. Dropsy From 'Dropsy'
Okay, okay, we'll admit that Dropsy the Clown is pretty terrifying to look at. But the star of the eponymous point-and-click game is about as harmless as a cotton ball. All he wants to do is dole out hugs, hang out with his animal friends and make his surreal world a better place.
9. Pipo De Clown From The Pipo Series
If you didn't grow up in the Netherlands between 1958 and 1980, then chances are you haven't heard of Pipo. This friendly, family-oriented clown starred in 14 Dutch TV series about his adventures with his wife, daughter and circus companions. What's more wholesome than that?
8. Krusty The Clown From 'The Simpsons'
Krusty is arguably the most famous clown on this list. He's been a television star since 1989 — starring both in The Simpsons and on Springfield's Chanel 6 The Krusty the Clown Show. He's not a happy fellow, though: alcohol, drugs and daddy issues fill any time he doesn't spend delighting scores of children.
7. Bozo The Clown From 'The Bozo Show'
Once upon a time, Bozo was the clown. Created by Alan W. Livingstone (who led quite the interesting life), the character was licensed out to local TV stations. The Chicago show is one of the most successful children's programs ever, as it ran from 1960 to 2001. Now that's a legacy.
6. Jangles The Clown From 'Inside Out'
Okay, okay, the version of Jangles that lives inside Riley's Subconscious is a little, uh, unhinged, but he's mostly harmless, and a little too roly-poly to be scary. In a mid-credits scene, we see the real-life Jangles, who seems perfectly friendly (if maybe a little disappointed with his lot in life).
5. Buttons From 'The Greatest Show On Earth'
How can clown makeup be scary when it has Jimmy Stewart's face behind it? The It's a Wonderful Life star plays a (65-year-old spoiler alert!) fugitive doctor accused of killing his wife who disguises himself as Buttons the Clown. You'd think the fact he never takes off his greasepaint would raise suspicions.
4. Chuckles The Clown From 'Toy Story 3'
Poor Chuckles is exactly the opposite of his name. One of the new toys introduced in Toy Story 3, this sad sack clown doll was accidentally abandoned by his owner prior to the events of the movie. While most clown dolls give us the heebie-jeebies, we give Chuckles a pass. Just look at that down-trodden face.
3. The Clown In 'The Twilight Zone'
In the episode "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," our story begins with a ballerina, an army major, a hobo, a bagpiper and a clown trapped in a strange cylindrical chamber with no memories of how they got there, but all want to leave. Our clown here is not a monster, but a philosopher with a pained smile and a rockin' hat. It's a shame in the end when we find out he's been a toy the whole time.
2. Stubbs From 'We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story'
While We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story did feature some pretty frightening animation (including what has to be the scariest circus ringmaster ever), there was nothing disturbing about Stubbs. In fact, this clown, voiced by Martin Short, was actually a good guy who helps save the dinosaurs! Crazy, right?
1. Loonette From 'The Big Comfy Couch'
Now here's a clown we can bet you've never been afraid of: Loonette from the decidedly unscary Clowntown. She gave most Nineties kids a deep love of clocks, a tendency to let dust bunnies be and a false impression of how fast you could actually clean a house. But, not only is she completely harmless, she's pretty lovable, too.