Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky, or what he is commonly known as Krusty the Clown, has a huge impact on how the show is today. Krusty made his first appearance when the show aired as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. His character is among the most famous and iconic recurring characters in ‘The Simpsons show and has a supporting role in The Simpsons Movie from the Simpsons franchise.
Krusty is a mega-rich, wannabe comedian and clown who has a gambling addiction and heart problems due to which he has a pacemaker installed, causing his face to turn white permanently. Having been through many hardships, Krusty can be unstable sometimes, but Bart still looks up to him as his role model and respects him a lot.
In this article, let’s discuss his character in detail, his past, the best episodes that he appears in, and some fun facts about him.
Krusty The Clown’s Design
Over the years, Krusty’s design has undergone many changes since his first appearance. After his first appearance during the ‘shorts’ era, the designers realized that his design looked a bit too similar to Homer’s and decided to give his mouth muzzle a complete redesign and added permanent eye bags, which do a perfect job of subtly showing the hardships that he has been through.
As Krusty’s design currently stands, Krusty’s appearance and design are just that of Homer Simpson with clown makeup. The only thing separating the two is his hair, chronic eyebags, and paler skin color.
In the nineteenth episode of the sixth season, we see how Krusty would look when he gets old. The episode “Lisa’s Wedding” is set fifteen years in the future, and Krusty’s design is heavily modified to make him look older, based on Julius Henery Groucho Marx who was a renowned comedian in America. Krusty is escorted in a wheelchair by an accompanying nurse and still has the same red nose but his skin is shown to be a much paler white.
The philosophy behind his character design Groening wanted to implement was Bart, as the main character, has no respect for his father but idolizes a clown exactly who looks exactly like his father.
Krusty The Clown’s Personality
Krusty had a strong desire to act on stage and be a comic as a child who is passionate about it. His father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, is unknown, as is his mother. When doing his acts, Krusty would disguise himself as a clown since his father preferred that he live a more conventional life. When Krusty’s father recognizes him after being sprayed with seltzer, which removes his makeup, he rejects him and refuses to talk to him for 25 years.
Krusty is shown to be a really good comedian, but his tendency to sell out as a clown keeps him stuck in a job he despises. Throughout his career, Krusty has over-merchandised his name and his products range from his fast food restaurant to a vodka brand and even a clown school to his name. Due to this, he cannot leave his Clown persona behind and work on making good skits for his career as a comedian.
AlSo check: Iconic Episodes Of The Simpsons
Krusty has become a hard-living entertainer, so whenever the camera is on, Krusty puts on a happy-go-lucky persona that would please his audience. Still, as the camera shuts off, his personality takes a turn for the worse and illustrates a more depressive and substance-abusive side of him. This duality takes a toll on his physical health, culminating in a heart attack on air during his show, leading him to install a pacemaker to keep his heart healthy.
After being introduced in the show, many early writers loved his character as they felt they could identify themselves with the character. Krusty’s character serves as a perfect platform for making fun of the current landscape of the show and entertainment industry. Because of this, many incidents that happened to him are based on real-life events that the writers wanted to portray in the show. Brad Bird, the writer of the first two Krusty episodes, tried to make the character shine through, as he has a particular fondness for him.
Keeping in line with the theme of making Krusty slightly grounded in reality, Matt Groening based his character on Rusty Nails, a child performer in the Portland area, and Jerry “The King of Comedy” Lewis was used as a reference for his persona.
Best Episodes Krusty Appears in
Like Father, Like Clown
Season: 3, Episode: 6
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10 with 3.3k Votes
Aired on: Oct 24, 1991
Krusty agrees to have dinner with the Simpsons to say ‘thank you’ to Bart for assisting in his clearing on armed robbery charges. When asked to say grace, Krusty recites a Hebrew blessing. After realizing that Krusty is Jewish, Marge asks him about his past, causing him to break into tears as he starts talking about his past.
Often considered the best Krusty episode, ‘Like Father, Like Clown’ deals with Krusty’s backstory in a hilarious but emotional and moving way. This episode helped cement Krusty as a good reappearing side character, and the ending beautifully ties up his backstory as a clown.
Bart: Poor Krusty.
Lisa: A man who envies our family is a man who needs help.
Homer: Boy, you don’t have to follow in my footsteps.
Bart: Don’t worry. I don’t even like using the bathroom after you.
Homer: Why you little…! (strangles Bart)
Krusty Gets Busted
Season:1, Episode: 12
IMDb Rating: 8.3/10 with 4.6k Votes
Aired on: Mar 17, 1991
While shopping in a Kwik-e-Mart, Homer sees a figure resembling Krusty the Clown robbing the Mart. The police soon bust Krusty from his home and Homer identifies and testifies that he saw Krusty robbing the mart. Unable to accept the situation, Bart investigates this case, enlisting Lisa as his sidekick for the job. They discover the security video that shows Krusty shifting the microwave but they doubt Krusty couldn’t have the energy to do so as he always wears a pacemaker. Discovering Krusty reading at the magazine rack elevated their doubts as he was illiterate. Moving on, Homer stepping on the clown’s big foot in the midst of the robbery clears the doubt as Bart recognizes that it was Sideshow Bob that had giant feet rather than Krusty who wore big shoes but had the foot size of that of normal people.
‘Krusty Gets Busted’ is considered an epic episode that sets up two of the show’s most widely loved recurring side characters. The episode tells a great detective story with sharp witty humor and even leaves in small intricate detail that only the fans could notice.
(Simpsons residence. Homer confiscates all of Bart’s Krusty toys and loads them in a wheelbarrow.)
Bart: Dad, you are giving in to mob mentality!
Homer: No I am not, I’m helping on the bandwagon. Now come on, son, get on with the winning team.
Reverend Lovejoy spearheads a bonfire of all Krusty products
Peddler: Krusty dolls for sale, $2! Buy ’em and burn ’em!
Krusty Gets Kancelled
Season: 4, Episode: 22
IMDb Rating – 8.1/10 with 3.2k Votes
Aired on: May 13, 1993
After a viral marketing campaign, ventriloquist Arthur Crandall announces that he will be launching his own show with Gabbo his dummy. Unimpressed, Krusty initially ignores the new show’s threat to his own. After Krusty loses his audience to Arthur, he gets depressed and his show is canceled. Bart and Lisa, who never liked Arthur from the start, decide to help Krusty make a comeback.
The final episode for the season, “Krusty Gets Kancelled” makes the season go out on a bang, leaving the audience wanting more. A very funny episode with slightly dark undertones and a huge list of celebrity guest appearances, Krusty Gets Busted really represents what a perfect episode in the series would look like.
Iconic Scene/Dialogue –
Reverend Lovejoy: Everyone is saying “Gabbo this” and “Gabbo that”. But no one is saying “Worship this” and “Jericho that”.
Bart: Hey, Moe, look over there! (as a distraction)
Moe: What? What am I looking at? I don’t see nothing. I’m gonna stop looking soon. What? What, is that it?
(Homer walks into Moe’s Tavern)
Homer: Hey, Moe, can I look, too?
Moe: Sure, but it’ll cost you.
Homer: My wallet’s in the car.
(Homer runs out)
Moe: He is so stupid. And now back to the wall.
5 Fun Facts about Krusty
- Originally intended to be Homer’s secretive persona, Krusty was designed to be very similar to Homer’s. The writers intended this to cause conflict between Bart’s affection for Krust and how he considers his father irrelevant. Later this idea was dropped for being too complex to implement and explained why the two characters have a striking resemblance (and even have the same VA).
- Krusty owns a dog! In the episode “Today, I Am a Clown,” Krusty purchases one of Santa’s little Helper’s litter of Greyhound Puppies.
- Krusty’s voice actor, Dan Castellaneta, also portrayed Megavolt, the villain in the Disney animated series Darkwing Duck using the same voice as Krusty.
- Krusty is supposed to weigh nearly 200 pounds, but he is said to be wearing 30 pounds of makeup and even carries heavy artillery.
- Krusty was the first character, outside the Simpsons family, in the series who was portrayed as the main character for a whole episode.
Introduced in the pilot season of the show, Krusty was loved by both the audience and the producers of the show, which just goes to show the appeal of this character. With a tragic backstory, relatable life, and witty dialogue, Krusty epitomizes that a character’s story makes them great, not the design.
Following the meteoric rise of the series in the early nineties, the writers needed a wide cast of characters to help support the main cast in maintaining the humor for which the show was known. Krusty’s character was inspired by “Rusty Nails”, a real-life clown watched by Matt Groening in his childhood. There’s more satire enveloping comedy that you will love with Krusty The Clown taking it up a notch with his cynical expressions and comic timings.
No. Though at the start of the show, the creators wanted Krusty to be Homer’s secret persona but it proved to be too difficult and the writers chose a different path for the characters.
Due to heart disease, Krusty had to get a Pacemaker installed which has turned his skin pale white.
Rusty Nails. Matt Groening based his character on Rusty Nails, a child performer in the Portland area, and Jerry “The King of Comedy” Lewis was used as a reference for his persona.
No. Krusty the Clown is generally not portrayed as the bad guy in the show, he is supposed to depict everything that is wrong with the entertainment industry.