Here's a joke:
A man goes to a doctor and says he is depressed, and life no longer offers him joy. The doctor says, "The best medicine is to see the Juggalos, a group of face-paint wearing freaks who worship the rap group Insane Clown Posse (ICP), drink Faygo-brand soda, and say 'whoop whoop.' It's a kind of cheer, I guess? The whole thing is kinda fucked up, actually. I don't know, I'm a just doctor," the doctor says, adding, "Everyone makes fun of Juggalos. Like, everyone. Go laugh at the Juggalos, and you'll feel better about yourself." The sad man replies, "But doctor, I am a Juggalo!"
These clown people were in Calgary for Canadian Juggalo Weekend at the Marquee Beer & Stage to celebrate as a family of a few thousand outcasts. It was a two-day festival with performances by ICP, Swollen Members, Onyx, and other acts with names like Kung Fu Vampire and Big Hoodoo. Ice-T was there for some reason. In between rapping, he talked about Law & Order: Special Victims Unit followed by several pedophilia jokes. I know because I went to Juggalo Weekend for a day.
I braved Juggalo Weekend because I wanted to look underneath the facepaint and humanize these awe-inspiring people. The original Juggalo was of course Pagliacci, the famous sad clown from the 1892 opera Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. With this story in mind, I pushed through a writhing mass of sticky, Faygo-baptised flesh to ask Juggalos to tell me about the last time they cried. Their stories are sad, beautiful and worthy of empathy.
Also, spoiler alerts from a bunch of recent-ish movies including Logan and Inside Out.
"A couple months ago when I was thinking about when my mother passed away. It was the six-year anniversary of when she passed away. That was probably the last time I had a good, heart-felt cry. She had the biggest influence on me than anyone. Growing up, she taught me manners, right from wrong, take off your hat when you eat, things that stuck with me. One thing she used to say to me even if you don't agree with my decisions, she always supported me no matter what. Her name was Patricia. She was a good woman."
"I dropped my dog off at a kennel to come here. He's a two-year-old doberman, a European doby. He's like my son. His name is Ryda. He wears the hatchet man [logo] on his collar. We dropped him off at a kennel to travel up from BC. Dropping him off at the kennel for two days to come Juggalo. I was teary eyed. Whoop whoop! Much love, Ryda."
"The last time I cried was during that movie Inside Out with the animated emotions. When the elephant, the invisible friend [Bing Bong] pushed the girl away—there was a song. I cried. I cried, completely. I couldn't help it."
"January, my really close friend died. He was a ninja from BC. He had a severe case of diabetes. Unfortunately, the day he passed, I found out about this [event]. I'm here representing my hommie. He was a fan, and I wanted to bring him out here. He's with Shangri-La now. His name was Cory."
"Thursday when we left. I left my kids for the first time ever to come [here.] We have five kids, our oldest is 14 and we've never left them before. [We're from] Winnipeg."
"On my period."
"Yeah, same. On my period."
"Probably two years ago. Boys. Men."
"Last week. From a commercial."
"At the end of the movie Logan, three weeks ago when Wolverine died. I got pretty emotional then. I don't want to spoil it but when the little girl turns the cross into an X—tugs on a guy's heart strings. I'll be man enough to admit it."
"Mine was two days ago when I broke up with my lovely wife. So."
"When my grandmother died. She was a great woman and she worked for the military. During WWII, she was a nurse. She told me great stories. Even the hospital beside her's got bombed a while back and she survived everything … She also flew in a Lancaster across the English Channel. The cool thing my uncle told me—you know what a PT boat is? A patrol boat? What my grandmother and her friends did is they stole one, went to France, ate dinner and came back without the Germans even noticing. [Her name was] Marian. She is the best person in my whole life. She passed away four years ago on February 25. Worst day of my life. Also, kind of a good day because my family is a bunch of psychos and it was stressing her out. She deserved peace."
"Last night during ICP. They brought me to tears, baby."
"I had a death in the family while I was a The Gathering. The Gathering had just started and I had all these wrestling shows to run. It was [The Gathering in 2015]. I got the text of who it was, and in wrestling terms, I just no-sold it. I just super compartmentalized it. So many people were relying on me—not just the talent, but the Juggalos as well. I knew that the way things were, there wasn't an understudy or someone to hand it off to. I just felt that I had to go on and live up to my responsibilities. I didn't acknowledge it until I was in the airport and it was time to go home. I realized I wasn't going home and booked the flight to the funeral. I was crying almost like I am right now."
"About a month ago after a breakup after a five-year relationship. Straight up … If it wasn't for the family and music, I probably wouldn't be here today. Like that kind of shit."
"Last month. Our daughters are with their grandparents. They've been away for a little bit. Two little girls, they're hers. I'm stepping in as a step father."
"About two weeks ago. Family stuff."
"I cry a lot. I'm an emotional fella. I think the last time was the last time my mom yelled at me. Whatever she says, her words weigh a million tons. I'm sensitive when it comes to my mum. I'm a momma's boy."
"A couple years ago when my younger brother passed away. He was in a group home right here in Calgary. I'm from northern Manitoba, and I got a phone call one day. He was on life support. I found out when I got here he tried to take his own life. That hit hard. That was baby brother, Teagan."
"Last time I cried was thinking about my daughter's birth. About a year and half ago."
"My grandma's funeral about 10 years ago … Seeing her taken away from me was rough."
"A couple weeks ago just thinking about my own future. I'm a counselor, so I deal with stuff like that for other people, internalize it and let it out."
"A few years ago. It was heartache. A relationship thing. Time before that, it's because I haven't seen my kids for a while."
"Like really feeling crying? Yesterday. Because being here and just lovin' everyone. Just so much happiness."
"Not too long ago. Girlfriend-boyfriend stuff."
"I was watching a very, very inspirational story about a girl who was like 800 pounds. And she fuckin' worked her ass off. She couldn't hardly walk and she went from like 800 pounds to 150 pounds and gorgeous. That shit had me teared up. I love a good positive, inspirational story, you know?"
"When my daughter was born. She's 16-months-old. For sure, I shed a little tear. It was beautiful. It changed my life in every way. Whoop whoop."
Ice-T, famous Juggalo, never responded to an interview request for this article.
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