Good news, coulrophobes: A "national clown shortage" may soon be upon us, the New York Daily News reports. It seems as older clowns are dying, not nearly as many younger clowns are joining the ranks to replace them—leading to a drastic decrease in membership at the country's biggest clown organizations (yes, those exist) over the past 10 years. Even kids who are into clowns "go on to high school and college and clowning isn’t cool anymore," explains the president of Clowns of America International. "Clowning is then put on the back burner until their late 40s and early 50s."
"American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether," says the president of New York Clown Alley. It probably doesn't help that clowns usually only make $300, at most, per birthday party performance. And if they have their sights set higher, well, they'll have a harder time than ever making it to the big leagues: The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, not yet touched by the looming clown shortage, has been making the audition process even more difficult. But at least one clown assures Gothamist there's nothing to worry about: "There are still a lot of younger people becoming clowns, they're just not joining the Clowns of America International. It's more of a generational thing I think. It's like joining the Shiners club or something like that." (Read more clown stories.)