Teachers and professors don’t need to be clowns. However, they do need to engage their students. If you have more than 20 minutes of rigorous teaching, the student cannot anymore pay attention to the teacher. So the teacher has to change the adult mood to the child mood by humor, and that is why you need the humor in teaching.
Have clowns to be teachers? Let’s start by acknowledging that there is a big stigma around the word “clown”. In the States clowns are associated with ax murders, rapists, and political incorrectness. While it’s just the goal of a real clown to make fun of the audience and expose hypocrisy in humanity. Clowns mock all the things they think are crazy about the world, people, systems, relationships, religion, class, race, gender, everything. Sometimes it’s difficult to get away with telling people that they’re assholes, have them laugh and then later realize that they were the brunt of the joke.
Other artists are very often a little bit of both. In literature, each piece of writing is a world of its own, both in its topic and its form and approach. You have to leave your own head and enter the world inside the writer’s mind. Imagine yourself as an urban design consultant in another galaxy with its own laws of physics. You have to learn the topography of an alien planet, its light and dark phases, its temperance and turbulence, its culture and history. Only then can you determine if the city that’s being built is too large or too small, whether there is enough public space for housing or recreation.