|An elaborate illusion. You can't fool me, guy!|
After researching jesters, I learned that medieval jesters fell into two categories: the licensed fool and the natural fool. The licensed fool was allowed to be goofy and obnoxious by decree of the court, and was usually employed for a long period of time, while the natural fool was a divine doofus that audiences could recognize as a unique and interesting personality that wasn't putting on airs. Both licensed and natural fools performed magic and acrobatics, told stories, and kept royalty in check by poking fun at them and their guests. However, jesters were careful about telling jokes at the king's expense, because if they went too far they'd be scolded or whipped or thrown out of the court altogether.
|"Please don't hurt me. I'm doing my best."|
The jester's outfit is an iconic symbol of goofdom, but they didn't always wear a coxcomb hat with bells and a motley coat. Jesters would sometimes wear the same outfits that servants wore, and would sometimes wear a hood with ass's ears instead of the coxcomb hat we all know and love.
|"Uhh, jester hat? This is a coxcomb hat. I may look like a fool, but you sound like a fool."|
I thought that jesters had gone extinct before researching for this blog post, but there was one modern jester named Jesse Bogdonoff, who served as court jester/financial advisor to Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, who was the king of Tonga from 1965 to 2006. Bogdonoff was a fool in both title and behavior, because in his role as financial adviser, he wiped out the Tongan Trust Fund (by giving the entire portfolio to an asset management company that would end up stealing it) and was sued by the government of Tonga for fraud and negligence. He fled Tonga in 2004 and now works in California as a clinical therapist and hypnotist.