Be the joke you want to hear
There's something to be said for going all in, no matter the stakes.
Jokes are of particular importance.
A good joke lays everything on the table, and invites all listeners to do the same. It then proceeds to confuse and confound, playing with expectations, producing the setup for the eventual punchline. Hopefully it will be pleasing to the audience.
Armed with a joke, a comedian may enter the stage and perform. It can be an impressive feat.
A clown, by contrast, may not tell you there's a joke at all. Or a clown.
If you still get the joke, then maybe the clown likes you and gives you another one.
If you get that one as well (still no joke, strictly speaking), then maybe you have something going. Those are the official clown rules, and they're written in macramé.
The point is to be the joke. You've figured that out by now, but I felt like I should mention it anyway, since that was the point I was trying to make. Seems appropriate.
And if you see a clown, try saying hello. Could be there's a joke brewing!