The phrase 'tears of a clown' was made famous by the 1967 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song of the same title
. Smokey Robinson sung of a character, who "smiling in the crowd I try, but in a lonely room I cry." He compared himself a character in the Italian opera Pagliacci
, a clown called Canio, who was making the audience laugh, but was weeping behind his makeup because his wife betrayed him.