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Which clown scares you the most?

The circus is in town, which means coulrophobics won't sleep a wink until Ringling, his brothers and all their clown friends climb into a tiny car and get the heck out of dodge.

For the foolishly rational among you, coulrophobia is the term for an abnormal fear of clowns. And the mere fact that a term like this exists illustrates just how clown-hating has gotten out of hand.

Now is the time to face your face-painted fears and vote for the clown that scares you most. (Don't call us when have nightmares.)

Below you'll find a selection of the good, the bad and the truly scare clowns who, in their own ways, have contributed to the spread of coulrophobia.

THE GOOD

Clarabell: Howdy Doody's horn-honking best good friend was originally played by Bob Keeshan, the one and only Captain Kangaroo. Who could possibly be afraid of him? OK, Mr Green Jeans, we get that.

Emmett Kelly: His sad clown "Weary Willie" inspired decades of clowns, like Red Skelton and David Shwimmer.

Bozo the Clown: His hair alone is worthy of our undying admiration. RIP, Bozo.

Ronald McDonald: Think of all he's done for charity, and the McRib!

Jo Jo: She's the nicest and cutest clown I've ever seen. (My wife, made me write that.) Watch Jo Jo and her pet lion on The Disney Channel.

THE BAD

Shakes the Clown: Bobcat Goldthwait's movie about a drunken womanizer gave clowns -- and acting -- a bad name.

Homey the Clown: Damon Wayans was pretty funny as the cranky birthday party clown on In Living Color. His catchphrase, Homey Don't Play That, seems ironic now that Wayans can't get work anywhere.

Krusty the Clown: Bart and Lisa's favorite TV pitchman on The Simpsons has a long rap sheet. He's been arrested for armed robbery (though he claims he was framed by a sidekick).

Bubbles the Clown: The BBC puppet clown appeared on TV for years, apparently creeping out the entire country of England.

Eric the Clown: Played by Jon Favreau in a memorable episode of Seinfeld, he made the cardinal sin (in George's eyes) of not knowing who Bozo was.

THE TRULY SCARY

John Wayne Gacy: OK, he's a serial killer. I'll give the coulrophobes that one.

The Joker: Heath Ledger's dastardly turn in The Dark Knight made Jack Nicholson look like an alter boy -- and that's not easy to do.

Insane Clown Posse: The outlandish hip-hop group became notorious for its clown makeup and violent tendencies -- the lead singer once clocked an audience member 30 times with his microphone.

Killer Clowns from Outer Space: 'Nuff said.

Pennywise: Leave it to horror master Stephen King to set the clowning biz back decades with this truly horrifying stalker who lived in the sewer. What a Bozo!

-- Rick Press

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