Interpretations:Drown The Clown

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Drunken Altercation[edit]

I think this song is about a drunken altercation at a noisy bar or party. The second-person subject and the "clown" are two people vying for attention. The "clown" is constantly interrupting and making rude comments towards the subject, increasingly getting on their nerves until the subject snaps and decide it's "time to play Drown the Clown." They ask physically attack the "clown," incapacitating or possibly killing them. They then turn back to the others present to try to resume talking as if nothing happened. - Scarlet Swordfish (talk) 12:09, 13 November 2021 (EST)

I (Don't) Like Fun[edit]

In my opinion, this song seems to be about someone who is an INSUFFERABLE GROUCH. This person goes around insisting that other peoples amusements are "awful distraction"s, and characterize sounds of happiness as "idiotic singing". More to come if I think of anything. <{[(lansburgh)]}> (talk) 19:45, 13 November 2021 (EST)

Political Distractions[edit]

Basically, the clown that needs to be drowned is Trump: everyone wants him to go, but his insults are distracting us to the point that we can't be bothered to pay attention to the more pressing issues, represented by the yelling weatherwoman, who's presumably yelling about a weather aberration caused by climate change. But the song seems to generalize the clown to any political controversy that distracts us from truly pressing problems, such that the clown could represent any grifting reactionary figure, not just Trump (esp manipulators of public opinion like Murdoch or Bannon). The song lists conspiracies and trolls as similar distractions ("Can't resist this rabbit hole / Can't deny this troll"). The singer is a classic unreliable narrator, who sees the weather report as the distraction from the clown, and not the reverse ("Turn that awful distraction down / Time to play drown the clown").

This was basically my impression of it, too. I think the term you're looking for is "political boogeyman". The narrator needs to convince everyone around him that "drowning the clown" will solve all of their (potentially unrelated) problems. The actual behavior of the "clown" isn't important, as the narrator can pressure and manipulate people into seeing them as a problem ("Everyone heard what the clown / Just called you" ... "Now, where were you? Oh, yeah"). Then, when the "clown" is gone, they'll find another one to blame for all of the problems ("Someone's been celebrating / Too early or late"). The song is so universal that it's not strictly political though, which, judging by the quote on the main page, I think was intentional :) --DoubleDenial (talk) 20:49, 15 November 2021 (EST)

The Bullies[edit]

I think the song is about a kid who defended themselves against a bully who was making fun of him for his music tastes, that bully tells the other bullies, and they all gain up on the one kid, as we can tell from the line "Everyone heard what the clown just called you, they surround" You&Me!! (talk) 15:10, 19 December 2021 (EST)


  • "Turn that distraction down, time to play drown the clown"- The bullies start walking up to the kid, who is playing music out of a radio. The bullies tell him to turn it down and then make up the metaphor "drown the clown", basically meaning "we're gonna beat you up"
  • "The weather woman's trying to tell us something"- The teacher yelling out at the bullies to stop, but the bullies can't hear
  • "Someone's been celebrating too early or late"- The boy told his friends about how he stood up to the bully and they were all proud of him
  • "Someone hands you a note, can't tell you are busy now"- One of the kids in his class whispers "drown the clown" in his ear and then acts like he didn't
  • "Your ears are ringing from this idiotic singing"-Describing the boy as everyone around him is chanting "drown the clown"

Forced to drop leisure for labor[edit]

This song is about being forced to go back to work from doing something enjoyable. The "clown" is a metaphor for doing anything fun or pleasureable, and "drown" is a metaphor for getting rid of it. You could go further and say that this is sung from the perspective of someone's boss who not only wants their employee to get back to work, but also expects them to end their breaktime hobby altogether. Let's break this down:

"Turn that distraction down Time to play drown the clown Here's the problem, the present job is To drown the clown"

Considering that the singer outright labels the act of drowning the clown (DtC) as a problem, this might not be the boss's POV. But let's set aside possible POVs for the moment. Something is distracting this man from doing his job, and he is told to refocus. Once he sees what his current task is, he immediately has misgivings. He has been caught with something of personal enjoyment, and now destroying it has become part of his job.

"The weather woman's trying to tell us something Turn that awful distraction down Time to play drown the clown"

There's a message that isn't getting through to the entire office because of this one person's hobby. It becomes the objective of the entire business to rid the workplace of it.

"Someone's been celebrating Too early or late Someone hands you a note Can't tell you are busy now"

If this person was indulging at any other time, either before his shift or afterward, he might not have been forced to engage in the destruction. I think the note in question isn't a memo, but a musical note. He is now denied so much as single note's worth of personal enjoyment because that would hinder his productivity.

"Your ears are ringing From this idiotic singing You were talking, not them Now, where were you? Oh, yeah"

So, the metaphor seems to switch here. The whole song seems to have been a lecture to one employee for taking a break at an inappropriate time. The employee is humiliated from the reprimand ("Your ears are ringing / From this idiotic singing"). But he is receiving the lecture because he was doing the distracting thing - ("You were talking, not them") and is now expected to return to his work ("Now, where were you? Oh, yeah"). Normally, one would associate singing with entertaining. In this instance, it is a metaphor for lecturing. The other employees find it entertaining, though, which makes me wonder if "Drown the Clown" is actually a metaphor for "humiliating the deadbeat co-worker in front of everybody." But I digress.

"Can't resist this rabbit hole Can't deny this troll"

The boss can't resist his own distraction of perseverating past having already corrected his employee. He even suspects him of deliberately setting him off, of being a "troll."

"The weather woman's yelling something at us Maybe all this messing is window dressing But that's the job"

There is still work that needs to be done apart from telling off a (supposedly) lazy employee. But just as the goal of the day changed to disposing of whatever it was distracting him, it has made another change, this time to making an object lesson out of him ("messing" and "window dressing.")

"Everyone heard what the clown Just called you They surround"

This is the tricky part. Obviously, other employees are interested in the trouble he's in. So, I think the singer is putting the blame of this on the employee's (likely former by now) pass time. "It's YOUR hobby that got you into trouble, not me, your employer ('Everyone heard what the clown / Just called you'). You made a fool out of yourself. I'm just pointing it out."

"You wonder who'll be the holder And hold the beer"

The employee realizes all that's happening here is that he's being made a spectacle. They've even brought snacks to watch him getting chewed out. Part of what we see here is him wondering who'll get it next, as though to say, "Okay, laugh it up, jackasses. I see you're not working either. You'll get yours."

"The weather woman's yelling something Go remind them You were talking, not them Now, where were you? Oh, yeah"

And we conclude with a reminder that there is still a job to be done that has nothing to do with reprimanding the guy on break. The boss is finally like, "All right, everyone, back to work ('Go remind them'). Now, remember, you were the one slacking off. Get back to whatever it was you were doing."

All in all, I think this song subtly juxtaposes working against breaking by having the singer making a big show out of telling off an employee, only to cause other employees to halt their own work and watch. Of course, there's the irony of the boss putting off his own workload in the process. Slyly amusing. Jme2007 (talk) 14:28, 9 March 2022 (EST)