Shakes the Clown

A recent viewing of this 1991 cult flick—“The Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies,” as one blurb-meistering critic put it—turned up a surprise local angle. “Hey, that’s Jack Gallagher playing the cop,” I told my wife. “Who’s that?” she asked. “You know, the B Street Theatre guy who appears in locally produced ads on TV,” I said. “Like I said, who’s that?” she asked. I mean, c’mon, how can you quibble with a movie that opens with a dog wearing a party hat and eating a pizza; cuts to Bobcat Goldthwait coming to on a bathroom floor and getting peed on by a kid whose alkie-flooz mom (Florence Henderson) picked Shakes up at “the Twisted Balloon,” a hangout for party clowns; and then explores life in Palukaville, where party clowns mix it up with rodeo clowns and chase after mimes and where Robin Williams, credited as Marty Fromage, plays the head mime? It may not be Spinal Tap brilliant, but it’s a better waste of time than most.