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Home / Articles / Special Issues / Sex Issue /  Why (not) Clown Porn?
. . . .
Wednesday, Feb 09, 2011

Why (not) Clown Porn?

Meet the man behind the mess of makeup

By Kinsee Morlan
sex-clowns In Clown Porn: CRIMEWATCH!, rubber chickens and clown cops take center stage.

Chris Spotto is sitting at a Downtown pizza place with a stack of DVDs on the table in front of him. Two are adult films; one isn’t. All involve clowns.

“Why clowns?” he asks, smiling nervously. “It really wasn’t so much about making porn as it was dealing with my irrational fear of clowns. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and that’s what it really boils down to. I don’t really know why clowns but I know that once the decision was made, there it was. So, I—.”

He pauses, thinks for a minute then finishes his thought, “Well, I became a clown filmmaker.”

Spotto’s lived in Ocean Beach since the early ’90s, and he looks the part. Dressed in a comfy T- shirt and zip-up hooded sweatshirt, he looks a lot more like a beach musician—he sings and plays the Theremin—than a sleazy porn guy.

He never meant to get into the adult-film industry. But after losing his tech job in the dot-com crash in 2000, he found himself in job interviews for webmaster positions and, halfway through, he’d be asked how he’d feel working for a porn site. turns out he felt fine, and it wasn’t too long before he was ready to get even more entrenched.

“I was thinking, Well, gosh, if they can do it, I can do it.”

In 2004, Spotto formed RAMCO Productions and shot Clown porn, an adult film featuring several comedy sketches involving lots of clown-on-clown action, cream pies and rubber chickens. Nobody had really done comedic porn with clowns before, so Spotto says a few unexpected hurdles presented themselves immediately.

“We learned the first day of shooting that the makeup, especially when they start getting hot and heavy, gets smeared all over everything,” he says. “[Adult-film star] Hollie Stevens was the one. She said, ‘It’s a clown thing; don’t worry about it.’ So, we just accepted it and went with it. By the end of most of these scenes, there’s clown makeup everywhere and, actually, there’s a lot of fetish people who really dig this stuff because of the mess that’s made. Again, it’s not what we were shooting for, but we touch upon a lot of fetishes accidentally. It comes from your typical clown-association things—like, we use cream pies. Well, that is an absolute niche fetish. There’s—let’s see, I forget what it’s called—splatter? People who get off on cream pies. And then there are the balloon people.”

After the first film was released in 2005, Spotto was an exhibitor at the annual AVN Awards, the Oscars of the adult-film industry, and Clown porn was the talk of the town. The next thing he knew, he was going on The Howard stern Show and Hustler was giving the film a “Fully Erect” rating.

“The year it came out,” says Dick Chibbles, the lead male in Clown porn, “it became pretty much like a phenomenon that has not happened in the adult industry for 10 or 15 years. I pretty much became the name and face of Clown porn. I actually ended up changing my screen name because, in the first scene, I’m Desperate Dick, and in the last I’m Chibbles the Clown, so, I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to keep the name.’ But, seriously, Clown porn launched my career.”

But the film never got a distribution deal. Spotto and crew dove back in and came out with Clown porn: CRIMEWATCH! in 2006. Again sketch-driven, the film featured five scenes that start with a Sherlock Holmes takeoff and end with something called “Chibbles’ Court.”

“That one is probably one of the worst porn scenes ever filmed in the history of man,” Spotto says of the court sketch. “I mean that, and I say that proudly. I really can’t explain it; it’s just something you’ll have to see.”

Spotto’s been making an OK living selling his adult films through his website and doing corporate video-production jobs on the side, but he hasn’t given up on making some serious cash on the clowns. In fact, he says his recent work as director of photography on Chibbles’ film Saw: A Hardcore Parody, which received a whopping six nominations in the upcoming XBIZ Awards (yet another adult-film award program), got a big-time distribution company to pay attention. He says a distribution deal is in the works, and the company will likely be repackaging and re-releasing both Clown porn and Clown porn: CRIMEWATCH!

And then there’s Crackwood, a feature-length mainstream film—no pornography involved—that Spotto calls the world’s first clown-themed spaghetti western. It stars some pretty big names, like Gilbert Gottfried, Ted Lange (Isaac from The Love Boat) and Lemmy of Motorhead. Chibbles, Murrugun the Mystic and Helicopter Pete are the locals in the cast.

Spotto’s been shopping that film around but hasn’t had any luck yet.

“The clown thing—people either love it or hate it,” he says. “You just have to be persistent, stay on top of things and work hard. We continue to hone our skill and get better at what we’re doing.”

Next up, he says, is a ’70s-era detective film called BLOWJACK.

Surely, that must be a porn film. That couldn’t be mainstream. Could it?

“I don’t know yet,” Spotto says. “It could really go either way.”

In the meantime, he says he’ll continue to do some other non-clown films—“Not all of the movies we make are clown-themed, lamentably”—while he keeps looking for that big distribution deal and pushing for wide acceptance of clowns as viable movie stars.

“I used to fear clowns, like a lot of people,” he says, “but I’ve learned to embrace them.”

Write to kinseem@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com.




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