Bozo. Shakes. Pennywise. Clown Dog. Grimm. Vulgar. The annals of clowndom are filled with psychos, sad sacks, and killers from outer space. Mumbles, the anti-hero of the short No Clowning Around, falls somewhere between Shakes and Vulgar. He drinks hard, curses, dates junkies, pals around with foul mouthed Muppets and generally creates chaos wherever he goes. He doesn’t take his job as a clown seriously, but he takes being a clown very seriously.
The film has a Clerks vibe throughout, which is a plus in my book. A fella in a thankless job, wanting more out of life, but not quite badly enough to actually do anything about it.
Mumbles reaches his breaking point, though, when his girlfriend Trixie ODs. Through flashback we are introduced to Lenny, a big dude that on a previous occasion beat the hell out of Trixie. Mumbles packs Trixie’s body in his car and, along with his puppet friend, heads to Lenny’s (who is presently preparing a grilled cheese) to dole out his revenge. In a scene after the Chiodo Brothers’ own hearts, Mumbles disembowels Lenny and makes balloon animals with his intestines.
Set to an excellent little score by Burn the Darkness, No Clowning Around offers a peek into the mind of a clown who has given up on life, and whose depression is manifesting in the form of a little puppet dude. In the 30-minute running time, we get a nice glimpse into his world (enough to know it’s a messy one we don’t want to live in), but maybe with a little funding and a full-length feature, we could get to know him better. Rob Dimension stars as Mumbles as well co-directs with Matthew Burd. Bonus: this screener had a fun little gag reel.