• The Bald Believer

The Clown Paradox




Proverbs 14:11–15

11  The house of the wicked shall be overthrown:

But the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

12  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,

But the end thereof are the ways of death.

13  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful;

And the end of that mirth is heaviness.

14  The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways:

And a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

15  The simple believeth every word:

But the prudent man looketh well to his going.


Have you ever noticed the tragic lives and death of some funny folks?

It is fairly common that those that bring the greatest joy to others are not partakers of the drug they push. In other words, humorous people are often sad. This phenomenon has been referred to as, “the sad clown paradox.” It has been observed that many funny people use comedy to conceal their troubles and some of the most insecure paint a false face to win friends and gain the approval that they crave but don’t feel they deserve. Don’t believe me? In my lifetime I have noticed that many a comedian’s life has ended in self inflicted tragedy. Who would have expected that Robin Williams was not happy, that Chris Farley wasn’t laughing inside or that Jim Belushi was vainly searching for missing joy? Those are just a few of a long list of entertainers about whom this paradox applies. Their funny faces seemed to hide heartache and their ability to lighten ours with laughter derives from a very dark place.

I wonder how many became the class clown as a clever way to hide their frown?


This principle is discussed in today’s reading from Proverbs.

Proverbs 14:13  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; And the end of that mirth is heaviness.

This Scripture reminds us that one can laugh on the outside and shed tears within. It is true that laughter is the best medicine and can help heal our hearts but it shouldn’t be a substitute for real relationships or a distraction from dealing with pain.

Sometimes the outcome of laughter is sadness.

Proverbs 14:13  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; And the end of that mirth is heaviness.

Not everything that makes a laugh now will end well. Sometimes the joke is at another’s expense and creates unseen damage, they laugh but only to cover up the sting. The end of that mirth is heaviness. There are occasions when the comedian cuts themselves with their wit and the crowd unknowingly deepens the hurt it with their reaction.

I am thankful that a friend cared enough recently to call me out on this behavior. He said, “don’t do that! Don’t make a joke out of this, it isn’t really funny for you!” He rightly observed that I was trying to deflect and make others comfortable at my own expense.


It great thing to have someone care for your company unconditionally even when you aren’t entertaining or making them laugh. Maybe someone in your life needs to know they don’t have to be a clown to keep your friendship. Could it be that you need a friend to let you just cry? I for one will be that guy. Let‘s talk, let’s deal with your hurt so it can heal.


You just can’t trust outer appearances!

That is a theme in this section of Proverbs.

Proverbs 14:12  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.

Looks can be deceiving, that is why in many ways it is best to investigate rather than just trust what you see on the surface.

Proverbs 14:15  The simple believeth every word: But the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Beware, things are not always as they seem.

The smile may conceal a frown.

The way that feels right may be wrong.

The thing you think makes you happy may make you miserable in the end.


Trust God and not your feeling, he always sees beyond the surface and the end of a path that follows him is life.

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