Clowns have been traced back as far as 4,500 years ago to ancient Egypt. Clowns have played essential roles in social and sacred ceremonies, including Native American communities. William Shakespeare used the clown, or the "fool," numerously in his plays as a speaker of profound truth. Feste from Twelfth Night represents a fool central to Shakespeare's plays. Mr. Bean or Homer Simpson exemplify modern fools who can jest about anything. Other clown symbols include Bozo the Clown, Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, Mr. Noodle of Sesame Street, and The Three Stooges.
This film is a portrait of a Berlin-based clown, Reinhard "Filou" Horstkotte. Reinhard describes some of his inspirations on becoming a clown in the film; some of them are joy, laughter, and the symbol of the "Pierrot," the melancholic side of the clown whose origins are in the late 17th century. The Pierrot's defining characteristic is his naiveté. Reinhard is the artistic director of Red Nose Germany, a branch of Red Noses Clowndoctors International, an organization with a strong team of professionals who share their expertise in the development of high quality hospital clown care programs for thousands of patients. Reinhard, in Laugh Clown Laugh, seeks to explore the whole human being, including all of its contradictions.