I think it’s possible to be a clown without layering on the makeup and applying the irregular uniform. Stand-up comedians often talk about finding their ‘inner-clown,’ that is to say their way of looking at the world through a comedic lens. Examples include the small man struggling to maintain his dignity, the arrogant but stupid braggart, the insanely lonely neurotic and the space cadet weirdo. People do this in ordinary life as well — we play up to the image people have of us and make comments not necessarily because it’s what we think, but because we know it fits the image others have of our persona. The statement is, therefore, more likely to get a laugh, e.g. “Of course Karl would respond that way. He is a pompous, self-important tool isn’t he” Job done. Although, in this case I doubt the local authorities were looking to open up a debate into clowning (which Chip Baskets would totally have been all over btw) so much as they were attempting to ensure clarity of language.