Sense of humour failure
Circus clowns have reportedly fallen foul of a drought order granted to a British utility because of diminishing stocks of water.
Entertainers from Zippo's Circus were told they risked heavy fines if they continued to throw up to 20 buckets of the increasingly precious resource over each other in their slapstick "slosh" shows.
With a hose and pipe ban also in place, the funnymen and women will not be able to squirt each other with water from plastic flowers in their buttonholes either.
The circus is currently pitched in Wallington, south-east England, where the drought order granted to Sutton and East Surrey Water to restrict the "non-essential use" of water comes into force today.
It was granted because a series of dry winters has left reservoirs and underground aquifers in the densely populated, water hungry south-east severely depleted.
"The water board has had a complete sense of humour failure," said Zippo the Clown, Martin Burton.
"I called them up to check the act was okay and they said it broke the rules and threatened me with hefty fines and cutting off our water supply.
"It is ridiculous and they need to chill out. The great British public don't like getting wet themselves, but absolutely love seeing others getting drenched. And this treat is confined to the circus.
"I could collect rainwater or use mineral water, but the water board are so zealous. I can't be sure they won't just cut off our water without investigating if someone reports it."
Stuart Hislop, from the water company, was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying: "No one else is allowed to fill buckets from a hose in their back garden and throw them over each other, so why should the clowns?
"It's a total waste of water."