Insane Clown Posse: Stealth Evangelical Christians (bonus: Juggalo Buffet Hut)

A one-two punch for you Boing Boing readers in the juggalo department. First, a faux video ad for Buffet Hut, which perfectly mimics the production style of actual, official "Gathering of the Juggalos" informercials we've blogged here before.
(Thanks, Cheap Little Films, via Submitterator).

When you're done with the free Faygo refills there, read this Guardian UK interview with Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, which proclaims bluntly what's been tossed around online for some time: the duo say they are Evangelical Christians, and kept their faith in the closet for two decades.

They indulged in violent/shock/sexually explicit lyrics on the earlier records to attract a devoted cult of fans, the story goes— then dropped The God Shizz on 'em with "Miracles" and more recent material.

The Guardian interview is funny and disturbing, whatever the truth is—just like the band. As an aside: The interview takes place in Milwaukee. I love how the London-based writer feels compelled to hammer into our heads that ICP is violent by reminding us in the very first graf that Jeffrey Dahmer is from Milwaukee. Eye-roll. I bet he was getting ready for his flight to Wisconsin and Wikipedia'd that, and was like, "Aha! Got 'em!"

Hey, bub. Know who else is from Milwaukee? Laverne and Shirley. Also, Fonzie.

Anyway, it's a fun piece. For me, the news here is not that ICP are evangelicals seeking to convert fans to Christ. It's that despite all the frontin', they're emo souls: comment trolls and bad reviews on Livejournal get under their greasepainted skin:

"I get anxiety and shit a lot," [Shaggy] says. "And reading that stuff people write about us... It hurts."

"Least talented band in the world," Violent J says. "No talent. When I hear that I think, 'Damn. Are we that different from people?'"

He looks as if he means it - as if he sometimes feels hopelessly stuck being him.

It's just a terrible twist of fate for Insane Clown Posse that theirs is a form of creative expression that millions of people find ridiculous. But then suddenly, palpably, Violent J pulls himself out of his introspection. They're about to go on stage and he doesn't want to be maudlin. He wants to be on the offensive. He shoots me a defiant look and says, "You know Miracles? Let me tell you, if Alanis Morissette had done that fucking song everyone would have called it fucking genius."

So next time a Juggalo tosses a bowling ball into your windshield and yells "faggot" at you, then blesses you in the name of Christ—before you scream back at him, remember that he is a sensitive person with deep feelings.

Insane Clown Posse: And God created controversy

(Thanks, Matt Stone, and Mark Dery, and everyone else who sent this in)


  1. There is nothing surprising or ironic about this.
    The dumbest and least trustworthy people I have ever known are evangelical christians.

  2. There’s been a subtle shift in the meme, from where we expect Evangelical Christians to be assholes to where we can expect assholes to be Evangelical Christians.

  3. I just thought of something. Have ICP ever been protested by the religious right in any of your towns, the way Marilyn Manson has?

  4. I hope Shaggy and Violent J weren’t afraid of being alone with Jon Ronson, the interviewer. I mean, he’s from London, where Sweeny Todd and Jack the Ripper killed how many people?

  5. For me, the biggest revelation was that they, at some point, started believing their own shtick. Once there, jumping from the short con to religious BS is easy-peasey.

    1. …and forgive me, but Violent and Shaggy’s delicate fee-fees are not high on my list of concerns.

    2. Their schtick has been pretty transparently evangelical since the beginning. There’s been a roadmap guiding their craziness for a long time.

  6. Squidbillies (for those of you into Adult Swim) recently had a great episode where they become part of a clown rap cult.It also did a great mimic of the Gathering of the Juggalos advertisements.

  7. What’s amazing is that they were able to create the perfect formula to attract a cult following. Oh wait, no it’s not, that’s what evangelicals do.

  8. The “London-based author” is the fantastically awesome Jon Ronson, author of “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “Them: Encounters With Extremists.”

    I have a feeling he’s probably just playing to his audience….

  9. “the duo say they are Evangelical Christians, and kept their faith in the closet for two decades”

    How does one evangelize in secret? Dictionary definition says “proselytize, redeem, save, preach to, recruit; act as a missionary, missionize, crusade, campaign”. Hard to do if you don’t tell anyone about it?

  10. Oi! I wouldn’t have mentioned Jeffrey Dahmer if it hadn’t happened a block away. If it had happened in the shadow of the Fonzie statue I’d have mentioned Fonzie!

    Otherwise: thanks for the compliments!

    Jon Ronson

  11. It’s fascinating that when they’re repeating their well-rehearsed interviewee lines about their music, their fans, or their Christianity, they nearly come off as thoughtful, sensitive fellows… but every time they try to ad-lib an answer on the fly, they sound exactly as ignorant and misogynistic as their lyrics portray them as. “It’s like… if you’re trying to fuck a girl, but her mom’s home, fuck her mom! You understand?”

    1. It may be crude, but it’s sorta accurate. Violent J’s tryin’ to enjoy himself with this chick, but her mom’s home and wants to be a buzz kill, to hell with her! Havin’ sex with the daughter might be a bad idea and might have some consequences, but he’s living in the moment and doesn’t want to hear her mom give them both shit for it.

      Not saying it’s not an IGNORANT sentiment, ’cause you can know how somethin’ works and still be amazed by it, but I understand where he’s comin’ from.

      1. Oh, after mulling it over for a while I think finally get it;
        He wants to literally f*ck the girl, and he means to metaphorically f*ck the mom? That would actually more sense. I just naturally assumed that he was talking about a threesome.

        That’s why the analogy didn’t quite work for me before, if the girl is his sense of wonder and the mom is the scientist. Unless he actually, literaly, wanted to f*ck a scientist.

        The finer nuances in statements from evangelist christian clown rappers – how the f*ck do they work????

  12. The journo’s line about “I am looking at two men in clown make up who suffer from depression” struck a chord with me. Did anyone else feel sorry for them? I mean they’ve been called the worst band in the world, even if it’s deserved it’s still got to hurt. It’s true, clowns really are the saddest people.

  13. If Alanis Morissette had done that song with the “scientists are fucking lying” line, I would’ve said something along the lines of, “She seemed to be at least reasonably smart… Setting aside not knowing the proper definition of ‘ironic.'”

  14. Something about this revelation really doesn’t add up.

    Maybe my doubt has something to do with the idea of hardcore Christians releasing ~20 years of albums about acting like a violent nutcase.

  15. They came out as Christians 8 years ago. EIGHT. Why is this just now internet news? How is anyone still surprised by this?

  16. The fucking connection between being a religious fundamentalist, seeing yourself as a victim, and violence….

    how does it work?

  17. Let me tell you, if [someone actually talented whose career is not solely based on shock value] had done that fucking song everyone would have [liked it better].

    There. Fixed that for you. And Duh, but still not good enough.

  18. The very bestest thing would be if they admitted they were actually gay lovers in addition to being Christian.

    The internet would implode on itself.

  19. +1 to Xeni for using salacious. Best word evar. Next to mellifluous, that is.

    Jon Ronson is a well-regarded figure in the UK. Not given to hyperbole ar sinking in bullshit as most other UK journalists seem to be. I see him as a Guardian version of Louis Theroux, going places people don’t really want to go, then writing about it.

    Strangely on point diagnosis of depression there too.

    ICP I can take or leave, but showing their utter mistrust of science is not a good thing. Being EvanChris, not a shock, that’s what I expect from people who don’t know, or maybe can’t learn, how magnets work.


    (sorry, that’s how we describe low-level idiots in the UK)

  20. A man goes to his psychiatrist, he says, “Doctor, I’m so depressed, I feel like I can’t go on, I just want to end it all.”
    The psychiatrist says, “I want you to go see this act that’s come to town: Pagliacci – The Tragic Clown. It’s the saddest story ever, and I think it will help you put things in perspective.”
    “But Doctor”, the man says, “I’m Pagliacci!”.

  21. “You know Miracles? Let me tell you, if Alanis Morissette had done that fucking song everyone would have called it fucking genius.”

    Now I’m convinced they’re clueless dimwits.

  22. “You know Miracles? Let me tell you, if Alanis Morissette had done that fucking song everyone would have called it fucking genius.”

    Too bad he doesn’t want to talk to no scientist, because I’m sure the fucking magnets are affecting his perceptions.

  23. If Alanis had done the song it most likely wouldn’t have had F-bombs every other sentence. Then I could have found it listenable and really appreciated what the song was trying to say.

  24. “I just thought of something. Have ICP ever been protested by the religious right in any of your towns, the way Marilyn Manson has?”

    No idea; but perhaps even the religious right can’t take ICP seriously?

  25. Gonna have to show this article to my parents and complain about how they dragged me to the wrong evangelical churches for the first 20 years of my life.

    Fuck it, we got to tell.
    All secrets will now be told
    No more hidden messages
    …Truth is we follow GOD!!!

    We never got to sing cool hymns like that.

    (ICP are evangelical Christians? What fucking bullshit.)

  26. Folks who think they’ve mastered something because they’ve assigned a label to it or described processes, and that somehow you’re an idiot because you’re amazed by it? I find them as annoying as these clown fellows or evangelicals.

    I mean, giraffes ARE amazing. Elephants ARE badass. Magnets and gravity ARE awesome. Wake the fck up.

    1. You’re not an idiot to be amazed by things. You’re not really amazed by things, though, if you’re actively hostile to what people have figured out about them. Magnets are amazing; Maxwell’s equations are part of that.

  27. I think “fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?” is actually a really good question. You want them to write a song describing quantum field theory?? Maybe, but did anyone think about the fact that asking questions is the first step to learning more about them? I think a lot of people don’t even ask themselves “how to fuckin’ magnets work.” Do you know?

    Noticing all of the amazing things around us is important, and I think this song did a really good job of helping people to do that. Just because it didn’t answer all the questions it asked did not take away from its value. If by “miracle” you mean something incredibly rare and special, then our planet and it’s workings (and parhaps our entire universe) are indeed “miracles.”

    I just felt I should defend the song. Even if it did come from Evangelical Christians.

    Ok and ignore the line about fuckin’ scientists lying. I think these clown guys’ hearts are in the right place when it comes to being awed by the world around them, and even wanting to know how it works. (just because something is currently “without explanation,” which many things are, doesn’t imply one believes they will ALWAYS be that way or that there is no explanation.) That one guy has probably just sadly been fed too much “information” from intelligent design people.

  28. Did anyone notice the DNA flying around in the background when they pointed out that their kids look like them? Can we say “implied scientific explanation?”

  29. I published a previous anonymous comment basically saying the Guardian article had put forth a factual distortion in regards to ICP being “evangelical Christian,” but it was a little rash probably due to sleep deprivation and a sense of frustration at reading one journalist’s unfounded claims being repeated over and over again as fact. I’m a longtime Boing Boing reader and also a Juggalo as well. I get the jokes and laugh at them too. I don’t personally believe in deities but consider the importance of wonder and awe and curiosity at our surroundings, which is basically what I think the Miracles song was intended to be about: awe, amazement, and wonder, but not necessarily glorifying ignorance (or being scientifically-phobic) as nearly everyone else has interpreted it. I recommend reading Violent J’s autobiographical book “Behind the Paint,” because it explains the ICP story in much greater detail, especially the pseudo ‘religious’ aspect.

    To reiterate, ICP themselves aren’t exactly “evangelical Christian.” Violent J believes in “God” and had a ‘pseudo-secular-“Christian” upbringing (for lack of a better quick way of explaining it). The Guardian article basically took that aspect out of context in my opinion, and created an unwarranted storm of what we’re seeing across the internet landscape. ICP’s “Dark Carnival” mythology uses a “God,” which has no strict or even loose religious connotations as a central focus, revealed after the series of 6 albums that make up the Joker Cards, which ended in roughly 2002. The main concept is essentially be a good person, golden rule, all that good stuff. Not to say that all “Juggalos” have necessarily followed this idea. In fact, the Juggalo base today is in some ways sort of removed from some of the aspects it was originally supposed to be about; it’s become rather conformist, but deep at the heart you still see the core of what it’s about.

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