He's a portrait of a d&d character. He was a historical scholar named Norman Charles Balk. He was studying some strange folklore and ran across references to something called The Laughter spoken about like it was a person or being and it piqued his curiosity. In the stereotypical Lovecraftian fashion his curiosity evolved into obsession until he actually sought the Laughter out and heard it. It's a cosmic being of pure insanity who only wants two things. 1: to be entertained and 2 to make a mockery of the living universe. It granted him warlock powers and slowly drove him to murder and insanity devolveing him into Cakles the clown.