The phrase reflects on the absurd state of human society and the world, and compels people to be cheerful about the meaninglessness and idiocy of the system and take on the act of the medieval jester, who is humorously mocking the futility of authority.
The Pepe the Frog meme has been used by right leaning communities online, to express their discontent with the world, and the “Clown World” variation was created as a positive alternative to the Doomer narrative, where a person sees the defect in the system and becomes depressed.
Instead of this, the Honkler meme is used to find solace in the absurdity of the world.
The image macro rendition of Pepe, dressed as a clown comes from a League of Legends Discord community, called The Shadow Isles, where it was first shared by the user Brizi in 2018.
Initially, the clown edit was just an innocent edit to the original frog meme, called Pepoclown.
Since then, the format spread quickly onto other Discord communities, as well as Reddit subs and various 4chan boards.
“Clown world” was later associated more and more with the meme, both on 4chan and Reddit, and in April of 2019, a left-wing news site, Right Wing Watch wrote an article with the title “White Nationalists Adopt Clowns as Their Next Racist Symbol (Yes, Seriously)”.
In the article, they describe the meme to be often referred to as “Clown World.”
The theme later appeared in YouTube videos, as well as various memes on social media sites, like Instagram and Facebook, both as the subject of outrage on the side of left leaning communities, while on the right, it was embraced as a new way of defying and trolling “Libtards”.
Over the years, another “Clown World” slowly morphed into another reaction meme format, especially seen on Slander compilation videos and an image macro, depicting a clown applying makeup.
This Clown Meme is mostly used online to dpeict the absurdity of certain ideas and make fun of those who adopt them as their own.
The popularity of the “Clown World” meme was propelled further in 2021, when Tom MacDonald released his single, named after the meme, giving voice to his extreme political opinions in the song.
- Know Your Meme – Clown Pepe / Honk Honk / Clown World