“Send in the Clowns,” Stephen Sondheim’s heartbreaking reflective song about regrets and lost love, has been famously covered by luminaries like Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Dame Judi Dench. These talented performers captured the emotional core of the song from A Little Night Music, as actress Desiree Armfeldt laments the one who got away.
The videos below are… not that. But they are funny, sometimes bizarre parodies of Sondheim’s most recognizable song.
If you can’t get enough Sondheim, don’t forget to get your tickets to Signature’s production of A Little Night Music! Holly Twyford’s version of “Send in the Clowns” is beautiful and moving, exactly as it should be.
Let’s start with the only actual clown on the list, Krusty the Clown from his comeback special on The Simpsons.
Liberace also took the song more literally than intended, with a mischievous little clown marionette stealing the spotlight from his cascading sequins.
The late Jerry Lewis did a really bizarre clowning skit on Donny & Marie set to the song.
And finally, a rewritten version by Stephen Colbert that he sang for the man himself, Mr. Stephen Sondheim.