“A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen”

LORELAI: I just need space.
MAX: Well I don’t. In fact I want as little space as possible. A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen. That’s the kind of non-space I’m talking about.

An popular clown sight gag is for a number of clowns to be crammed into a small car, and then come out, making it seem as if the car is much bigger than it appears. The trick requires the car to be modified so that there is nothing inside it (no seats etc), and for the clowns to be very flexible and pretty uncomfortable. It was first used in the Coles Brothers Circus in the 1950s.

The number of clowns involved is usually around 14-21, but the record number of people jammed into a small car is 28 gymnasts into a Mini. Obviously gymnasts are extremely limber and aren’t wearing baggy costumes and holding props, so this number wouldn’t be feasible for clowns. A Volkswagen Beetle would be a classic vehicle to use as the car, as they are small, and sort of cute and comical looking anyway.

This comment from Max is something of an in-joke. Scott Cohen, who plays Max Medina, first began his career in the entertainment industry through taking a course in clowning at university – his teacher encouraged him to audition for a theatre company. One of Cohen’s early screen roles was a flirtatious driver in a 1999 Volkswagen Passat television commercial.

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