Shakes the Clown is a birthday-party clown (Bobcat Goldthwait) in the grip of depression and alcoholism. Shakes lives in a weird world where different communities of clowns, mimes and other performers are depicted as street gangs obsessed with precedence and status. Various stars who appear as clowns include Adam Sandler, Robin Williams (billed as Marty Fromage), Blake Clark, Kathy Griffin, Florence Henderson, Milton Berle and Paul Dooley.
This was Goldthwait’s bitter satire of the dysfunctional standup comedy circuit he knew as a performer and this can be seen as Shakes staggers through his duties as party clown, and uses all of his free time getting seriously drunk. Binky (Tom Kenny), another clown, wins the spot on a local kiddie show, which depresses Shakes even more, and his boss threatens him with unemployment if he can’t get his act under control.
Shake’s life takes a turn for the worse when someone murders Shakes’ boss and makes it look like Shakes did it, he goes undercover, posing as a hated mime, and tries to find information that will clear his name.