[[caption-width-right:275:''[[Music/StephenSondheim "Send in the clowns..."]]'']]

Episode - 9F19\\
First Aired - 5/13/1993

A new kids' show hosted by a strait-laced ventriloquist and his smart-aleck dummy threatens to cancel Krusty the Clown's show, so Bart and Lisa round up Krusty's celebrity friends for a comeback special.
!!This episode contains examples of:
* AbsenteeActor: While Marge appears on screen, she doesn't gets any lines because Julie Kavner didn't liked the fact that there were so many guest stars.
* AesopAmnesia: When Krusty loses his show, he's destitute because he never saved for this kind of situation. After getting his show back, he buys a ruby to use as a clown nose.
* AnimationBump: Gabbo's introduction is much better animated than the rest of the episode.
* [[AsHimself As Herself/Himself]]: This episode had the most non-sports celebrity guest appearances up to that point in the show's run: Creator/JohnnyCarson, Hugh Hefner, Creator/BetteMidler, [[Series/BeverlyHills90210 Luke Perry]], Music/RedHotChiliPeppers, Creator/ElizabethTaylor, and Music/BarryWhite.
* BeggarWithASignboard: After his show is cancelled, Bart and Lisa find Krusty holding a cardboard sign which reads, "Will Drop Pants for Food." What's worse, there's an old man doing it for free a few feet down the sidewalk (and somehow became a TV star with his own dance troupe a few scenes later).
* BerserkButton: During the training montage to get Krusty back in shape, he and Homer practice boxing. Krusty punches Homer to vent his anger over Gabbo's show and later Homer punches Krusty to vent anger over the increase of pork meat's price.
** Do ''not'' litter in front of Bette Midler.
* BitingTheHandHumor: When the kids point out that Luke Perry has [[Series/BeverlyHills90210 a hit TV show]] of his own, Krusty counters with, "Yeah, on ''Fox''."
* BlatantLies: Right after Krusty claims to have learned his lesson about squandering, a jeweller shows up with a ruby-made clown nose he ordered.
* {{Blipvert}}: "Gabbo! GABBO! '''GABBO!'''"
-->'''Bart:''' Did you see that?
-->'''Homer:''' Yeah.
-->'''Bart:''' What's Gabbo?
-->'''Homer:''' I'm guessing it's some guy's name. [[CaptainObvious Some guy named Gabbo]].
* {{Bowdlerise}}: In-Universe: Krusty wants the Red Hot Chili Peppers to change the lyrics of [[Music/BloodSugarSexMagik "Give It Away"]]. They refuse at first, but when Krusty suggests to change, "What I got/You gotta get/And put it in you" to "What I'd like/Is I'd like to/Hug and kiss you," they warm up to the idea.
-->"Everyone can enjoy that!"
* BrickJoke: The Crazy Old Man who drops his pants and sings "Old Gray Mare" on the street later gets his own TV show and dance troupe.
* BurgerFool: Sideshow Mel takes a job at a fast-food restaurant during the short time he's unemployed.
* CastAsAMask: Of a sort; Arthur Crandall/Gabbo is voiced by Creator/HankAzaria, but when he demonstrates his Vin Scully imitation, Creator/HarryShearer provides his famous Vin Scully voice, which he has used numerous times on the series and on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''.
* {{Catchphrase}}: "I'm a bad wittle boy!" for Gabbo.
* ChangedMyMindKid: Sideshow Mel at first refuses to return to Krusty's show, claiming he likes working at the fast food place better; he changes his mind when the curtain goes up.
* ChannelHop: In-universe. Gabbo is so popular that ''The Itchy & Scratchy Show'' starts appearing on it rather than ''The Krusty the Clown Show''.
* ChekhovsGag: Krusty notes that the only bad shows in his run were those from the week when [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_J._Johnson Ray J. Johnson]] was his co-host (this was presumably back in TheSeventies). As it turns out, he's the only guest star lined up for Gabbo's show the day the ''Krusty Komeback Special'' is airing against it.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: During the runup to Gabbo's debut, Reverend Lovejoy complains in a sermon that everyone's focusing on "Gabbo this and Gabbo that but not worship this and Jericho that!" Jasper raises his hand and asks "What's this about Gabbo?"
* CoolOldGuy[=/=]TheAce: Most of the other celebrity guests on Krusty's special do what you might expect. Johnny Carson, on the other hand, ''sings opera while juggling a 1987 Buick Skylark over his head''. The episode ends with Bart toasting Krusty as the greatest entertainer in the world...except for Carson who ''is tap dancing, playing the show's theme on the accordion and balancing a plank on his head that has Jasper and Grampa playing checkers on it all at once''.
* DartboardOfHate: Krusty has a picture of him with Luke Perry. Luke's side has darts on it.
* DemonicDummy: Gabbo can talk and move independently of Crandall! He isn't outright evil, though -- just a {{Jerkass}}.
* DepravedKidsShowHost: Arthur Crandall/Gabbo thinks his viewers are "little S.O.B.s." Bart manages to get this offstage chatter on tape, but Springfield forgets about it after Kent Brockman makes a similar comment about ''his'' audience while reporting the story and got fired for it.
* DerangedAnimation: Having lost ''The Itchy And Scratchy Show'' to Gabbo, Krusty tries to find a substitute in the baffling Eastern European cartoon ''Worker And Parasite.''
-->'''Krusty:''' What the Hell was that?!
* DisproportionateRetribution: When Snake Jailbird tosses a can out his car window onto the highway Bette Midler just finished cleaning up, she responds by chasing after him ''on foot'', jumping onto his car, and throwing the can back in, which causes the car to swerve off the road and crash. A second driver does the same thing, and Midler simply tosses the can at the car, which causes the driver to lose control and careen into the nearby mountainside.
-->'''Bette Midler''': We're Americans. We deserve clean highways.
* TheDreaded: Creator/BetteMidler, apparently.
-->'''Snake Jailbird:''' Oh no, Bette Midler!
* DubNameChange: An odd case overlapping with CulturalTranslation: in the Latin American dub, Luke Perry is renamed Creator/RobertRedford.
* DyingCurse: See the second example from DisproportionateRetribution above.
-->'''Driver''': I'll get you for this, Midler!
* EngineeredPublicConfession: Gabbo's rant about how children are sons of bitches; these are, unknown to anyone at the studio -- including and especially Mr. Crandall and Gabbo -- being broadcast live over Channel 5; Bart had sneaked into the studio and secretly flipped the switch, allowing the camera to transmit Gabbo's comments over the air.
* FollowTheLeader: InUniverse, Krusty tries his hand at ventriloquism in the wake of Gabbo's success.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: At the afterparty at Moe's Tavern, Elizabeth Taylor can be seen peering through the window as Bart salutes Krusty.
* GameShowAppearance: ''[[Series/TheHollywoodSquares The Springfield Squares]]'' is a parody; it is a hybrid of the original 1966 version -- celebrities Wally Cox (lower left) and Charlie Weaver (lower right), who had long since died -- and the 1986 syndicated version, which frequently went "on location" (this episode was taped in Springfield Harbor); also appearing as "celebrities" are Rainier Wolfcastle, Lurleen Lumpkin, the Capitol City Goofball, Princess Kashmir, Troy [=McClure=], Barry White and an unknown celebrity. The tidal wave that interrupts the game (and in this case, washes a stubborn Charlie Weaver away) is a reference to an actual incident during the original NBC daytime show, where in 1971 a mild earthquake stopped taping briefly, and everyone but Paul Lynde fled the set.
* GiantWallOfWateryDoom: A fifty-foot tidal wave hits Springfield Harbor right in the middle of ''The Springfield Squares''.
* {{Homage}}
** Gabbo is named after the ventriloquist dummy that provided the title of the 1929 film ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gabbo The Great Gabbo]]''. He also resembles Howdy Doody, a cowboy dummy that became one of the first TV stars, with the oldest crewmembers having seen the show in the 1950s.
** ''Series/TheHollywoodSquares'': ''The Springfield Squares'' is a localized version with local celebrities
** The finale of Gabbo's introductory song has puppets and choreography pulled straight out of ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'''s "I've Got No Strings" number.
** As noted at this episode's Wikipedia page, the light-up KRUSTY letters that open the show reference [[Music/ElvisNBCTVSpecial the famous Elvis Presley TV "comeback special" from 1968]]. Indeed, the whole concept of a comeback special effectively comes from Elvis's show.
** Bette Midler performing "Wind Beneath My Wings" for Krusty is a deliberate homage to her singing for Johnny Carson on his second-to-last episode of ''Series/TheTonightShow'', to the point that it's performed on a ''Tonight Show''-esque set.
** The scene of Krusty and The Red Hot Chili Peppers (see {{Bowdlerise}} above) is a parody of an couple of incidents involving [[Series/TheEdSullivanShow Ed Sullivan]] asking musicians to change the lyrics of their songs before they could perform on his show:
*** Music/TheRollingStones were asked to change [[Music/BetweenTheButtons "Let's Spend the Night Together"]] to "Let's Spend Some Time Together", as "spend the night" was seen as too sexually suggestive at the time. Mick Jagger didn't warm up to the change.
*** Music/TheDoors were asked to change a line in [[Music/TheDoorsAlbum "Light My Fire"]] from "girl, we couldn't get much higher" to "girl, we couldn't get much better", due to fears that the line "higher" would be seen as condoning drug use. Jim Morrison ended up singing the original lyrics on air; the band was banned from making further appearances on the show.
** A deleted scene has Krusty promoting a parody of Music/{{Madonna}}'s "Sex" book, "featuring me in a variety of sexually explicit positions" (though he used a "stunt butt").
* JustForFun/IReadThatAs: Mr. Burns sees a "GABBO IS COMING" billboard and cries "Look Smithers! [[Creator/GretaGarbo Garbo]] is coming!" "Um, yes sir!" (Creator/GretaGarbo died in 1990; this episode was made in '93.)
* IsThisThingStillOn: Shortly after Kent Brockman gives a self-serving rebuke for Gabbo's "all the kids in Springfield are [=SOB=]s" remark (during his "My Two Cents" opinion spot), he thinks that the newscast has gone to commercial and, snickering, says, "That oughta hold the little [=SOB=]s" ... shortly before a hastily-created graphic appears on the screen saying "Brockman in Trouble" ... and Brockman [[OhCrap realizing he's been caught]].
** The incident that led to Brockman's moralizing, hypocritical editorial was an unknown-to-its-perpetrator instance. Gabbo and his puppeteer, Mr. Crandall, were aware that the station had gone to commercial and the live camera was off, during which time they make disparaging remarks about children and that they had to lower themselves to this sort of entertainment. Bart, however, sneaks into the studio and without anyone's knowledge, turns the camera back on, capturing Gabbo's rant live on the air and prompting an outrage.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: When Bart and Lisa are recruiting celebrities for Krusty's comeback special, it cuts to Elizabeth Taylor's agent, who tells her two kids came by asking if she would appear on a TV special, so he told them to buzz off, to which she replies "Good". She's later shown watching the special (as Hugh Hefner is performing), commenting "I've got to fire that agent".
* {{Japandering}}: Gabbo's crank call to Krusty has him tricking the clown into thinking a Japanese company wants him to appear in a commercial.
* KarmaHoudini:
** Mayor Quimby uses the city treasury to fund the murder of his enemies but gets away thanks to using Gabbo's catchphrase while publicly confessing. He even gets re-elected in a landslide. It's implied he had more people killed when the newspaper informing the election results also has a headline about two more bodies showing up.
** Gabbo calls all of the kids in Springfield "sons of bitches" on live television and keeps his show (Kent Brockman calls people that too and it's implied that he gets in trouble for being caught by a camera). It's only when Krusty does his special that things start going downhill for him.
* LimitedAnimation: "Worker and Parasite", the Eastern European ''Itchy & Scratchy'' knock-off.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: It's not revealed whether Gabbo truly has a mind of his own, or whether Crandall is simply an eccentric who knows some FX tricks.
* MeanBoss: Sideshow Mel considers Krusty this, hence his initial refusal to come back.
-->'''Sideshow Mel''': On our last show, you poured liquid nitrogen down my pants and cracked my buttocks with a hammer.
* {{Narm}}: In-universe. Krusty's trying out for a new acting career gets passed when his clown nose ruins the atmosphere of the romantic scene he's participating in.
* NegativeContinuity: Either that or Krusty considers the show where he had a cardiac arrest on the air (mentioned via {{flashback}} in "Krusty Gets Busted") better than the one with Ray-Jay Johnson.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Gabbo's voice was based on Creator/JerryLewis.
* NonStandardCharacterDesign: While the other celebrities look like ''Simpsons''-versions of themselves, Creator/BetteMidler looks more like a boardwalk caricature.
* PlagiarismInFiction: Bart points out that the "patented Gabbo crank call" is a bit stolen from Krusty. Lisa tops him by pointing out that "Krusty stole it from Steve Allen", and this is confirmed when Krusty realizes the call was a trick -- "If this is anyone but Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit!" Grampa Simpson even pointed out that everything is stolen nowadays, like the fax machine (which, to him, is a waffle iron with a phone attached).
* PlayboyBunny: Naturally, seeing as Hugh Hefner guest stars, although he also seems to have them in his R&D department.
* RattlingOffLegal: Krusty tries to keep children watching his show by offering them forty-dollar checks. A voice then says the checks won't be honored.
* RepurposedPopSong: Krusty performs "Send in the Clowns" by Music/StephenSondheim to open his special. It changes virtually all of the lyrics, since the original song is about a failed romance.
* TheRival: Gabbo instantly becomes this to Krusty.
* ShoutOut:
** Krusty mentions having beat Joey Bishop and Arsenio Hall in the ratings. Both of them attempted to compete with Carson.
** The ''Worker and Parasite'' cartoon is a parody of the early 1960s-era ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' cartoons, made in Czechoslovakia.
** After having his show cancelled, Krusty attempts to land a role in ''Series/MelrosePlace''.
** Krusty's photo with Liz Taylor features her dressed as ''Film/{{Cleopatra}}''.
* TheShowMustGoWrong: Krusty's sole attempt at ventriloquism is a small-scale example of this. First the puppet's jaw falls off and the kiddies scream. He tries assuring them that the puppet is not actually alive and taps on its head -- which caves in under the blows. More screams. He then frustratingly drop-kicks the grotesque remains of the puppet ''right into the screaming audience''.
* StatusQuoIsGod: The implication at the end is that Krusty will get his show back in the wake of his ''Komeback Special'''s success, while Gabbo becomes yesterday's news (Gabbo and Arthur Crandall have had only the occasional cameo since this episode, in fact).
* TakeThat:
** Krusty claims the only bad episodes in his series was the week Ray J. Johnson co-hosted the show.
--->'''Krusty:''' "You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay". Yeah, that was funny, for about five seconds.
* TemporaryBulkChange: Because Krusty doesn't realize that a milkshake diet only works with ''diet'' milkshakes (or that the milkshakes he drank have a laxative effect). Fortunately a TrainingMontage undoes its ill effects.
* ThemeTuneCameo: Johnny Carson plays this on the accordion for the final shot.
* TrainingMontage: Thanks to his milkshake diet, Krusty has to get back into shape for the special, which he accomplishes over the course of a ''Rocky''-style montage.
* TrueCompanions: Subverted, when Krusty is breaking the news of his cancellation to his staff.
-->'''Krusty:''' The important thing is, we're like a family.\\
'''Sideshow Mel:''' ''[tearfully]'' Krusty, I--\\
'''Krusty:''' ''[threateningly]'' SHUT YOUR HOLE!!!
%% The Voiceless is a characterization trope, it doesn't apply to a single episode.