Here's a nice, if too-brief, history of the clown, dating from clowning's early origins in jestery:
"One day the king glimpsed himself and a mirror, and saddened at how old he looked, started crying. The other members of the court decided they better cry as well. When the king stopped crying, everyone else stopped crying as well, except Nasir Ed Din. When the king asked Nasir why he was still crying, he replied, 'Sire, you looked at yourself in the mirror but for a moment and you cried. I have to look at you all the time.'"