Drown The Clown

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Drown the Clown
artist They Might Be Giants
releases BOOK
year 2021
first played May 9, 2024 (5 known performances)
run time 2:41
sung by John Linnell, John Flansburgh harmonizes


  • John Linnell detailed writing the song in a 2021 interview: [1]
Drown the Clown was actually written after the lockdown. [...] Maybe the last song that was written for the album. Basically, on the surface, it's about that fairground attraction where there's an annoying person perched over a pool of water, and you're supposed to throw balls at a target and make him fall in. And typically he's saying incredibly insulting things. And again, that felt somehow like the situation that we find ourselves in, in politics and in the world today. So that was more or less the inspiration.
  • From a November 2021 interview with Brooklyn Magazine:[2]
Linnell hesitates to indulge the suspicion [that this song is political commentary], though: "I think if you can pull off a song that expresses a political view, that seems kind of lucky." But he cautions, "We're not here to just vent our frustrations. A song with a blunt political view is often kind of a vibe killer."
  • "Drown the Clown" is also the name of a simple playing card-based drinking game. A November 2021 review of BOOK by PopMatters describes the song as such:
Linnell’s narrator is laser-focused on trying to get a group of people to play the titular card-and-drinking game. However, he keeps mentioning that a weather woman is distracting them and trying to tell them something. Listeners never get to find out what the impending weather disaster is, exactly, but this is yet another Linnell character who very clearly has his priorities a bit askew.
  • A snippet of this song was posted to the band's Instagram on December 8, 2020, in a video showing the band recording at Reservoir Studios.[3]
  • This is the only song on BOOK which is not featured in its accompanying book. Per John Flansburgh, "The song was added to the album very last minute, after the book had been shipped out. (Long long lead times getting things printed on the other side of the world)"[4]

Song Themes

Body Parts, Circus, Drinks, Games, Music, Water, Weather, Writing


Current Rating

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Drown The Clown is currently ranked #309 out of 1009. (58 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.58)