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Depraved Kids' Show Host
The aim [of Channel Five Children's Hour] should be childhood innocence tinged with sinister corruption. So think Andi Peters.
Humphrey Lyttelton, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

Kids' show hosts. They laugh, they sing, they smile, they bring joy to children all over the world... at least, on the surface. But beneath that shiny, happy façade lies the Depraved Kids Show Host, a character you would not, under any circumstances, want your children around.

Unlike his zany-go-lucky cousin, who's excitable but pretty nice off set as well, the Depraved Kids Show Host is at the very least a Jerk Ass. When he's on air, he's Mr. Snuggles, happiest figure in Friendlytown. But in his down time, he (and it's usually a man) is a sex, drug and gambling addict who drinks, cavorts, and swears enough to make a sailor blush. He smokes like a tilt, lashes out at techies, and absolutely hates kids. Or likes them too much.

This trope plays on the irony of a jovial character who interacts with children actually being a horrible person. As such, it's related to Monster Clown and other like tropes.

This is especially popular in Real Life Urban Legends, the insinuations of which can ruin someone's career. For some reason, people just can't believe that a right-thinking adult would want to spend his life teaching kids manners and helping them grow as people. Fred Rogers would respectfully disagree; this is generally not Truth in Television. On the other hand, Fred Rogers wanted to be a kids TV presenter - many others only do it as a way into TV, and, as former kids TV presenter Dara Ó Briain attests, "those people are the most ambitious bunch of pricks you will ever meet." And he's a stand-up comic!

See also Nice Character, Mean Actor; Villain with Good Publicity. He may also Hate The Job Love The Limelight. May exist in a Subverted Kids Show, but most often they're villains in regular shows. In real life, they cause the show to be Undermined By Reality. Surprisingly, not related to the Depraved Homosexual or Depraved Bisexual, although sometimes they overlap.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 

  • This is the backstory for the modern incarnation of the Superman villain The Prankster.
  • The Sandman: "Hey kids, Dino the Dinosaur is trying to tell me something. Gee, Dino! I didn't know it was Terry Pteranodon's birthday today. Should we bake him a cake? And you want to tell me something else, do you Dino? We're all going to die. Dino says we're all going to die. Dino told me. He says we should slash our wrists now, and remember to slash down the wrist, boys and girls, not across the wrist." PLEASE STAND BY, WE ARE EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.
  • Hazel and Cha-Cha from The Umbrella Academy, sort of. See the back of issue 3: "The Hazel and Cha-Cha Show: Who needs drugs when you have cookies and guns?" And really, with those big cartoon characters heads...? The two are what the hosts of a kids show created by Quentin Tarantino would be like.
  • Crocky, a Barney parody in Robin.
  • MAD did a typical kiddie show parody starring one Uncle Nutzy, physically based on rude stand-up comic Jack E. Leonard, running a show featuring mindlessly violent cartoons and boot-licking sponsor worship. At show's end he's on the phone with his wife, angrily admonishing her for letting their kids watch his show.
  • Kyle Baker's The Cowboy Wally Show had a childrens' show hosted by Al Space, who "really, really really loved kids. A lot", with such essay competitions as "In 1000 words or less, describe how Amy Sue Sturdfetzer looked much older than 12".
  • Viz has the character of "Roger Mellie, the Man on the Telly," a foul-mouthed alcoholic and perverted TV presenter who in several strips lands a job on kids' TV and inevitably reverts to type in front of the horrified audience.
  • Clown from the Hellraiser comic series was originally a Saturday morning show host named Winky Dink who wound up becoming a Pseudo-Cenobite, charged with keeping the children who wind up in The Labyrinth occupied so they don't run amok, causing chaos. He does so through pretty disgusting ways (not entirely by choice though, since Leviathan punishes him if he does anything remotely pleasant). A later story reveals he'd been upgraded to a complete, overly-sadistic Cenobite at some point, having finally gotten his "routine" right.
  • Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #4 featured Barney Stryker. On-air, host of Uncle Barney's Good Neighbor Hour. Off-air, possessed by a demon which fed on the suffering of children and responsible for the gruesome death of eleven kids.

    Fanfic 

  • Day of the Barney Trilogy: wherein Barney the dinosaur is some incarnation of a demonic being that reappears every few centuries to wreak havoc. At the start of the fanfic, he held a special broadcast to persuade his young viewers to murder their parents and any other adults around, then inducted them into a cult. When any of them reached 13, he killed them (or worse). Flashbacks also show that he helped the Black Plague spread, and also saved Adolf Hitler during WW1 and set him on his path.
  • Parodied in The Pokemon Squad. A scene features Henry and June finishing up a KaBlam! episode, and as the director says "CUT!", June proceeds to ask for her cigarettes.

    Film 

  • In Death to Smoochy every host is deranged, and the whole industry is backed by the mob. When pushed, even Smoochy reveals some anger management issues.
  • There were plans for a sequel for William Lustig's Maniac, which was supposed to follow such a character but it was scrapped due to its main star's untimely death. It sounded like a remake of The Psychopath.
  • Meet the Feebles is this trope dialed up to 11.
  • Floop from the first Spy Kids film was a subversion. The movie paints him as the Affably Evil Big Bad almost immediately: his "Fooglies" are actually secret agents subjected to Baleful Polymorph, and he's building an army of super-powered robots to take over the world. However, it's later revealed that neither of those were his ideas, they were Mr. Minion's. Floop is too preoccupied with genuine concern for his show.
    • Even before he turns, he clearly cares more about the quality of the show than about the plans of world domination. When he turns a spy into one of the creatures on his show, the first thing he comments on is how the new "character" will be a holiday rush favorite.
  • Mr. Jingles from Jingles the Clown was the host of a children's TV show, as well as a Satanist and serial killer who butchered roughly thirty children before being shot to death by the police, though not before filming himself murdering his co-host (whose wife he was having an affair with) and most of the man's family. It's also mentioned that he was born of an incestuous relationship between his mother and grandfather, who the mother killed with a cleaver before committing suicide.
  • Chuckles the Chipmunk (a.k.a., Leo Herman) from the theatrical and film versions of A Thousand Clowns is not so much depraved as he is egotistical, boorish, insulting, self-hating, neurotic, and desperately unfunny. Also, by his own admission, he doesn't "get along too good with kids." (The self-named brand of potato chips he shills on his program is lousy too.)

    Literature 

  • Somewhat meta example: Uncle Jingle, host of an insanely popular 'Net kids show in Tad Williams' Cyberpunk novel Otherland, is more or less a nice fellow, if heavily Merchandise-Driven. (In fact, he's actually played by actors working in shifts, since the show is on 24/7.) However, the character itself was inspired by the Monster Clown figure Mr. Jingo who haunts the Big Bad's nightmares.
  • Shel Silverstein's "Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book"
  • In High Society by Ben Elton, Tommy mentions that almost every children's TV presenter he has met was a heavy drug user, which he imagines is because it drives them insane to constantly have to act perky and cheerful for their audience.

     Live Action TV  
  • The demonic puppet hosts of "Smile Time" from Angel, though one of them Became the Mask and started to genuinely enjoy entertaining kids (didn't stop Gunn from beheading him).
  • In the Frasier episode "Juvenilia", Frasier is railroaded into a harsh interrogation from the three hosts of "Teen Scene".
    Ryan: According to the Boston Globe you spent two hours on a ledge threatening to jump if your wife left you. How many of your listeners are aware that they're taking advice from a man who was nearly a stain on the sidewalk?
    • And then there was Nanny G, Frasier's first wife. She had become a Raffi-style children's entertainer in the meantime. During a concert she gave, she started singing a song that Lilith immediately interpreted as sexual, but Frasier explained as being sung to a child... until the next line...
  • Mexican clown Brozo's entire schtick is this; he's a depraved, homeless, bitter and a tad misogynistic. This is played for laughs... currently he has a The Daily Show type of program.
  • Shirty the Slightly Agressive Bear from The Late Show
  • Pate Biscuit from The Big Gig
  • The Happy Smile Patrol sketch from SNL. Read a transcript here. It's guaranteed to make you laugh and gasp with horror simultaneously.
  • From Finnish sketch comedy, there's the legendary "Nasse-setä" who is chronically hung over, and irritated at the anatomically incorrect drawings kids send him, taking offense at exceptionally large nose holes and lack of an actual nose in one of them and coming to the conclusion that the kid who drew it is a lazy slob who doesn't bother to draw any noses, let alone blow them because "you can't possibly blow a nose like this neatly!". His Catch Phrase was "Nasse-setä on harvinaisen vihainen!" [Uncle-Nasse is exceptionally angry!].
  • Germany's sketch show "Switch" parodies the host of an actual children show on public TV channel Kika sometimes, much in the same way as the Finnish one above. In one sketch he threatened to kill the show's mascot Uhu (a real-life owl) when the children don't call him and give him the credit card numbers of their parents because he wanted to get a better apartment. He also has an alcohol-problem.
  • The Seattle sketch comedy show Almost Live! had a recurring sketch called "Uncle Fran's Musical Forest." Uncle Fran was a VERY bitter Deadpan Snarker who liked to sing songs about his ex-wives and ex-girlfriends ("Greedy Whores"), or parenting styles ("The Modern Day Dad...doesn't have a spine."). When his furry mascot objected to the content, he would beat the tar out of the puppeteer controlling it.
  • Several of the characters in Greg the Bunny, in one respect or another. In particular, Warren is a heavy drinker and former drug addict with severe marital problems, while Junction Jack seems to be inspired by the aforementioned false rumours of Fred Rogers having been a sniper in 'Nam.
  • An episode of Mathnet featured Vicious Vinnie, a villainous children's show host who taught kids incorrect information like that Chicago was the capital of Illinois.
  • "Tia Penha" (Aunt Penha), one of the many characters of Brazilian Comedian Marcelo Médici, is a gender flipped version of this. But unlike other examples, she's an outright bitch even on air. She subverts upbeat children' songs by telling that everyboy died in the end and that everybody WILL die (your mommy included). She's also particularly fond of telling some truths about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
    Tia Penha: Today's show will be a little bit different for three reasons. First, Tia Penha doesn't like lies, second, Tia Penha doesn't like children and third, what Tia Penha really likes is money so let's start it quickly!
  • Boxcar Burt, a briefly-seen in-universe host watched by Brak and Meatwad in an [adult swim] New Year's Eve sketch.
    "Heeey everybody! I hope you're rockin' out! But if ya ain't rockin' out, I hope you're drunk! Just like Boxcar Burt! Now come back after the break you little brats, or I'll kick your asses in! (raspy Evil Laugh)"
  • A man who played Dougie the Whale in one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A complete jackass even onstage (at least to his backstage crew) and got into a fight with Will, in front of the child audiences no less.
  • Laugh In often featured the demented "Uncle Al, the Kiddie's Pal!" who was usually hungover and kept cracking bad double-entendre jokes and running around like a maniac.
  • SCTV had Muley's Roundhouse, featuring ol' Muley, who sulks and mopes throughout his program, in addition to critically ignoring the trains on his watch. This includes his criticism of the children's artwork sent to him: "These are the worst ones yet! You probably send the good ones to people you like!"
  • Two and a Half Men's Charlie Harper might qualify after he became a Children's Songs Star.
  • Little Britain has the character of Des Kaye, the disgraced former host of a children's show called "Fun Bus." It's eventually revealed that he was fired because a child lost an eye while appearing on his show, and the Little Britain live stage show hints that Des's "Hide the Sausage'' audience participation game might also have had something to do with it ...
  • Back in The Eighties, an episode of Les Dennis's Laughter Show featured Les parodying then-CBBC host Phillip Schofield. Dennis's version of Schofield gets steadily more drunk, attempts to murder Non-Human Sidekick Gordon T. Gopher, and eventually has a prostitute/groupie in the studio who he tries to pass off as "Gordon's mum"! Bizarrely, Schofield himself, long after his CBBC career, was interviewed for Channel Four's Zippy & George's Puppet Legends, where he claimed that Gordon had a drink problem.
  • In universe, Jane from Coupling almost became this... she had the depraved part down pat, it was just the "Kid's show host" part that was up in the air... after all, her sidekick was a sock puppet named Jake the Truth-Snake.
    Jane: I am not self-centered!
    Jake: Oh, shut up, you deluded bitch!
  • Inverted by The State with "Blueberry Muffins in the Morning", a show proposed by Blueberry, a children's television producer who looks and acts like a clown in real life.
    Blueberry: BECAUSE I LOOK LIKE A F***ING BLUEBERRY!
  • Reno911 had an odd example. Reading Ron is actually a great host, who does his best to put his dark past behind him. Enter the Reno Sheriff's Department, who so thoroughly ruin Reading Ron's Police episode that it sends Ron into a cocaine fueled rampage on the roof of the station.
  • Season 2 of The Armstrong And Miller Show has a recurring gag with the hosts of a children's TV program (a spoof of Blue Peter) apologizing to its viewers for various drunken, lewd, violent and illegal acts - in kid-friendly language.
    Alistair: Yes, by collecting all those stamps and unwanted clothes, you raised nearly a million pounds towards a holiday center for disabled people in the New Forest.
    Tina: Now, Jason came up with an idea for making even more money from the amount you'd already raised.
    Alistair: He transferred that money into another bank account...
    Tina: And spent it on a large amount of special powder. This powder, like the holiday center, is designed to make people feel very happy...
  • Ernie Kovacs was very fond of this trope. His character Uncle Buddy would allow kids to walk backwards blindfolded on the Staten Island Ferry railing. Another of Kovacs' characters, Mr. Science, could barely hide his exasperation toward his easily distracted kid helper Billy. Kovac's Hungarian chef character Miklos Molnar would show up to host a Howdy Doody knockoff show as "Buffalo Miklos". In addition to treating the Claribel knockoff with utter contempt, Miklos would get drunk, cut Howdy's strings, and yell at the kids in the peanut gallery to shut up.
  • The short-lived Science Fiction series Special Unit 2 featured a children's show host (an ersatz of Barney the Dinosaur) who turned out to be a "Link" with a Pied Piper of Hamlin power.
  • Sherlock villain, Psycho for Hire (And Fun!) Jim Moriarty is also a children's television presenter under an assumed name for the purposes of his evil plan to kill Sherlock Holmes, in a particularly creepy twist on his literary counterpart's cover identity as a math professor.
  • Castle features "America's Dad", Bobby Stark, in the episode "Pretty Dead". While not guilty of murder, his off-air persona is a comically drug-addled, skirt-chasing, abusive man who bears no relation to his wholesome on-air characters.
    • Played with in "Fool Me Once..." Dr. Stephen Fletcher is supposedly a lovable Arctic adventurer and wildlife expert who is presenting his adventures to little kids via web-cast from the wilderness. Instead, he's a con man faking the whole thing from his apartment, until he's murdered. Eventually it turns out that the con man really had a heart of gold: although he'd already gotten the money in advance, he put on a fun show for the kids long after he'd already gotten his money and even personally wrote replies to every kid who wrote him. He was quitting his con man ways out of love for his fiance, a woman he'd originally intended to con. So the lovable scientist is really a scheming conman who turns out to be murdered because he's redeemed himself... whew.
  • In Living Color! loved this trope, with kiddie hosts who don't even try to hide the tons of personal issues that bedevil them from their viewers.
    • Homey D. Clown (Damon Wayans) rants about The Man while ostensibly performing as a hired entertainer for kids.
    • Candy Cane's (Alexandra Wentworth) various failed relationships become grist for her mill.
    • Scary Larry (Jim Carrey) is a psychotic Vietnam veteran. (He also works as a mailman.) "This is the way we lock and load, lock and load, lock and load..."
    • The Pee-Wee Herman example under Real Life below was the basis for a skit in which Pee-Wee (Carrey) sells a doll modeled after Paul Reubens's mugshot!
    • Subverted with a skit in which Mister Rogers (Carrey) visits a store and hits on the female customers as a prelude to holding the place up, but the policeman brought in to stop him doesn't believe he's capable of such a thing, and he goes on to pick up a hooker with his ill-gotten gains. The subversion comes in the punchline: He's actually an excellent impersonator using the real deal's clean reputation to get away with his crimes!
  • Captain Crocodile from The Monkees, especially after he worries that the band will become more popular than him!
  • Made In Canada has Captain McGee, a jovial seafarer who, offscreen, is a compulsive sex addict and wife-swapper. In the episode "For the Children", his sex addiction is used by unscrupulous production executive Richard Strong to blackmail him into agreeing to a merchandise deal for his series.
  • Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! gives us Pierre, who teaches kids fun activities including dancing (which involves moves such as "Get sexy, kids!," "Slap your face," and "Have a glass a wine. Don't worry, kids, I won't tell!"). Interestingly, the dancing sketch was Pierre's first appearance; in his later shows, he became less of a pedophile and got a lot more interested in his intended audience's dads, to the point where he uses meditation to hypnotize children into giving him "their dad's e-mail address."

    Radio 

  • Taken to its ultimate conclusion by The Burkiss Way's "Childrens Favourites with Uncle Hitler."
    "HELLO CHILDREN, EVERYVHERE! Und today, der first record ist der request from Norman und Edith Carruthers, for their little son Villie! Vally Vhyton, mit der disken kiddiewinks: DER RUNAWAY TRAIN! Unfortunately, ve haf some bad news for you! Der BBC Record Library cannot manage der aktual recording by Vally Vhyton! So! Inshtead, ve haf decided... TO INVADE POLAND!"
  • In Radio Active, one presenter was "The kiddies' favourite, Uncle Mike Stand." In later series, he was stated to be in prison for molesting children.

    Stand-Up Comedy 

  • Comedian Justin Edwards has the character Jeremy Lion, an unsuccessful children's entertainer who comes on stage drunk, uses nightmarish puppets and costumes in his acts, used to entertain himself as a child with "a box of matches and a kitten", and makes references to his sad depressing life. On one occasion, he had to sell the puppets he used in his act and used cans and bottles of alcohol as replacements, which he ended up drinking every couple of seconds.
  • In one of their sketches, the French comedian trio "Les Inconnus" portray the team from "Club Dorothée", a very popular French kid show from the 80's, as this, harshly fending off a kid asking for an autograph once the camera is off by threatening him to call the show host Dorothée (the kid is frightened by this).
  • While he's never explicitly stated to be a kids' show host, this is pretty much the shtick of Stephen Lynch. A lot of his songs sound as if they were written for children ... at least at first, before they turn either dark or depraved.
    If you could be a super hero, would you be Justice Guy?
    Making sure people get what they deserve, especially women who lie.
    Like if a wife left her husband with three kids and no job
    To run off to Hawaii with some doctor named Bob
    You could kill them and drain them of blood so they die
    ... especially Bob ...
    Then you would be Justice Guy.
  • As alluded to above, Dara Ó Briain has riffed on his former career as a kid's show host in this fashion. The way he describes it the behind the scenes world of children's television is, if not exactly depraved, then certainly full of bitchy competitiveness.

    Urban Legends 

  • Urban legends adore this. Quick, think of a kids' show host! Got one? At some point, you've probably heard the rumour that he's a convicted child molester who's on the show as part of his community service note , some sort of deranged murderer, or a drug addict. Some notable examples of this trope (courtesy of Snopes):
    • Fred Rogers was a heavily tattooed, cold-blooded sniper (or possibly a child molester).
    • During the Golden Age of Radio, a legend was created whereby a local children's radio host named Uncle Don uttered the comment, "That ought to hold those little bastards!" after one of his shows. Uncle Don was the genial grandfatherly type gent who would read a bedtime story for children at 7 p.m. (local time), after which he said a gentle good night ... until the night where after his show he snarled the infamous remark, unaware his radio mike was still on and could clearly pick up his statement; the story goes on to claim that a flood of calls to the radio station's management resulted in Uncle Don's swift cancellation and his dismissal from radio. The legend has been told about many radio and television performers over the course of several decades, and predates Uncle Don's career by a few years.
    • Steve from Blues Clues committed drug-induced suicide, a rumor probably started when he played a drug addict on Law & Order.
    • Barney is a crack dealer. Also, he committed suicide. In his costume!
      • He swore at a kid that stepped on his foot. On live national TV.
    • Comedian Soupy Sales has also been a victim of urban legends fitting this trope, most often those where he supposedly tried to sneak the word "fuck" into his comedy bits on his children's TV show Lunch With Soupy Sales. The most common example is Soupy and Fang reciting the alphabet, but Fang forever identifying the letter "F" as "K," and finally a frustrated Soupy admonishing the puppet, "How comes every time I see 'F,' you see 'K'?"
      • On the other hand, the story about how he once instructed his young viewers to get the "funny green pieces of paper" out of their parents' wallets and purses and send them to him happens to be true.note 
  • Supposedly, one of the Teletubbies was replaced for standing on a rabbit and swearing.
    • It was Twinky-Winky; there was a rumour that he attacked somebody with his purse.
  • Equally supposedly, one of the people on Bananas in Pajamas was replaced after drunken brawling. This detail often appears in these stories, probably because you can replace an actor in a suit more easily than another kind of host.
  • Might better fit in Real Life, but this blog post, suggesting that the Wiggles have plumbed the depths of sexual depravity as no man has since Mick Jagger was mummified.

     Video Games  

  • Played for laughs in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice with the final Diez Gentleman. A rare female example.
  • Captain Cutlass from Critical Depth was a nautically-themed kids-show host turned actual pirate.
  • Crotchy the nutsack from Postal 2.
  • In Ace Attorney, Matt Engarde is a children's show actor (specifically, the protagonist of in-universe tokusatsu The Nickel Samurai) who goes to great lengths to preserve his "fresh as a spring breeze" image. Like most other defendants, he carries a tragic secret. However, unlike every other defendant, he is in fact guilty of the crime he's accused of. He's a sociopath who drove his ex-girlfriend to suicide just to piss off his rival Juan Corrida, and later hired an assassin to murder Corrida while he videotaped it with a secret camera, all so he could blackmail said assassin. And he was entirely willing to frame his agent, Adrian Andrews, so he could get away scot-free. His rival, Juan Corrida, wasn't much better.

    Webcomics 

  • Perry Bible Fellowship did a comic about a Depressed Kids Show Host: "Gee Golly Jeepers!" Notably, it is no longer on the original PBF site.
  • Used for a oneshot gag in Ghastly's Ghastly Comic, with plushophiliac Bunny Boy violating a stuffed rabbit in front of the audience. "What kind of world is it where it's okay to buy toys for children but bad to teach them how to play with them?"

     Web Original 

  • Bobble the Clown of the SCP Foundation mixes this trope with Monster Clown to frightening effect. For starters, he's an Eldritch Abomination, and anyone over the age of 10 who tries to watch his show gets knocked out instantly. Most of the time, he's just an Affably Evil character who cheerfully teaches children how to become arsonists and cannibals, but in one "episode" he lets his facade slip and he just glares at the kids for a half hour straight. Long story short, he's pissed that the foundation is blocking his "show" from being aired.
  • Taken Up to Eleven by Mickey the Dick of Wacky Game Jokez 4 Kidz. He literally does not give a single shit about the show or anyone watching it (since he's being forced to host it against his will). He swears, drinks beer, makes sexual comments, insults the viewers, and assaults his coworkers all on camera. And his bosses still air the footage, completely uncut.
  • In the flash game Pico vs. Bear from Newgrounds, Pico takes on Big Brown Bary, the host of one of his favorite shows. Bary forces the other residents to labor to his benefit, and is suspected of molesting his daughter Hoe-Joe. His costars are equally messed up.
  • The Strong Bad Email "For Kids" sees Strong Bad imagining himself hosting a kids show in which he challenges kids to find The Cheat. The problem is he doesn't show the kids a lot of respect, as we first see when he gives them an "F-minus-minus" because one of them said "Christopher Columbus" instead of "The Cheat". Immediately after, he gets increasingly frustrated when the kids try to tell him where The Cheat is hiding but only give vague answers like "He's over there!", leading him to start freaking out.
    Strong Bad: Look, the Cheat is behind the freakin' box! HE'S BEHIND THE BOX! I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL ALL YOUR DOGS!

     Western Animation  

  • Total Drama's Chris McLean is a teenage show example. Unlike most examples, he's openly sadistic and cold-blooded as the host of a reality show full of teenagers.
  • The Simpsons: Krusty the Clown: When the cameras are rolling, he's the zany clown kids love! In his off hours, he's cynical, in debt to the mob, willing to do anything to his show for money, lewd, rude, addicted to everything, treats his biggest fan (Bart) like crap (despite the numerous things Bart did for Krusty — i.e., clear him of a robbery charge, reunite Krusty with his rabbi father, and save his show from cancellation with a celebrity-packed comeback special), and is more of a Jerkass than post-season 9 Homer Simpson. And still manages to be one of the good guys in comparison to his sidekick, Sideshow Bob, although he's Wicked Cultured and has a decent side. Speaking of which, Krusty also treated Bob extremely poorly back when he was a sidekick, which lead to Bob framing Krusty for said robbery charge so that Bob could be the one in charge of the show.
    • Krusty's first TV appearance – on a Tracy Ullman Show-era Simpsons short called "The Krusty the Clown Show" – sees the clown portrayed as boorish and having a normal voice, wearing normal hair and no face makeup. His over-the-top characteristics were not added until the show was picked up for series and the Season 1 episode "Krusty Gets Framed."
    • Gabbo and his puppetteer, who briefly got Krusty kicked off the air in "Krusty Gets Cancelled"; Bart produced a film of Gabbo referring to the kids as "little S.O.B.s.", which didn't quite work — it actually caused a public outcry until Kent Brockman made the same flub while reporting the Gabbo story, everyone got angry at HIM, and instantly forgot about Gabbo. His ratings actually went up when all was said and done. (In the world of the Simpsons, it's true that the Viewers Are Goldfish.)
  • Rugrats had a rare female example: The host of a show Angelica wanted to be on turned out to hate kids and actually swore about what she thought about the kids on her show when she was offstage. Angelica overhears this, and later goes on the show, then is asked what the hostess thinks of the children. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Robot Chicken had a parody of this when the old host of the Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? game show goes crazy after finding out his girlfriend is cheating on him. He drives them to her house and makes them memorize the day they met, the day she said she loved him. The skit ended with him crashing his car and dying.
  • In The Secret Saturdays, the Big Bad actually has his own TV show, of which their young Genre Savvy son Zak is a fan. Unusually for this trope, Argost is the same on-camera as he is off-camera... a Faux Affably Evil Large Ham.
  • Family Guy
    • In "Road to Europe," it is revealed that the characters on Jolly Farm Revue, a show Stewie likes are Depraved Kids Show Hosts.
    • Season 10's "You Can't Do That On Television, Peter" had Peter host his own risqué "children's" program, "Petey's Funhouse," where all of his material is clearly unsuitable for children's ears (and in the real world, would have him jailed if not at least banned from television forever). Later, when Peter and Lois are arguing about devoting all his time on the show, Peter makes a sick, perhaps (unintentionally) very revealing if not very dark comment about himself: "I can have all the 3-year-old girls I want!"
  • Binky the Clown from Garfield and Friends qualifies, although he was the same on and off camera. Sidney the Dinosaur was a better example in his episode.
  • In The Mask, recurring crime boss Lonnie the Shark's original day job was as the costumed host of the kids' show "Barnaby".
  • Potato Head Kids: The episode "Small Potatoes" was framed around "Pee Wee" Small, a cantankerous, frustrated children's TV show host who hates his job and children even more. He is forced to give free tickets away to his show, and when the Potato Head Kids show him up on his own show, he fires them.
  • The Powerpuff Girls had a children's show host as the Villain of the Week pretending one of his co-actors needed "happy paper" (money) to cheer up. Bubbles, who always watched the show, and believed it, rounded up all the money she could find, until Blossom and Buttercup managed to expose the truth.
    • This is a Shout-Out to Soupy Sales (though Sales said it as a joke and didn't think any kids would actually do it).
  • Quacky the Duck from T.U.F.F. Puppy.

     Real Life  

  • Now for the often-cited Real Life example: In 1991, Pee-Wee Herman's actor, Paul Reubens, was arrested for "lewd conduct" in a porn theatre, which effectively ruined his career as a kids' show host (although at that point Pee-Wee's Playhouse had been over for more than a year). Later, in 2002, he was charged with possession of child pornography (it's complicated: the DA's office looked at the evidence and found there were no grounds for a felony conviction, but the city prosecutor did bring him up on a misdemeanor charge, though that charge was later dropped as well). This is slightly odd in that the character of Pee-Wee Herman was created for an adult audience and co-opted for children's television.
  • Monster Clown Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy was a clown for kids birthday parties, block parties, etc.
  • Though obviously not depraved, several children's entertainers (such as Roahl Dahl and Chicago-based host Ray Rayner) have been veterans of WWII or other wars, and as such have seen wartime action. This is probably where the whole military angle stems from, playing on the contrast between the hardened soldier with a few kills under his belt and the calm, friendly kids show host. (Similarly, Dr Dolittle was actually written in the trenches of the First World War.)
    • Roald Dahl also wrote some fairly racy (for the time) books (anything involving the lothario Uncle Oswald) and some pretty dark short stories. And his kids books rank rather low on the fluffy scale.
      • He was also a womanizer on an epic scale, in Washington DC during the war and still during his marriage to Patricia Neal.
      • Dahl has also been accused of being anti-Semitic off the record and not without good reason.
    • Maurice Sendak is another author in this vein, more bitter than outright depraved, though, at least according to this interview. Interestingly, among the people and things he skewers, Roald Dahl.
  • Richard Bacon was fired from Blue Peter following a drug scandal. A later Reunion Show-cum-Panto featured him as the (off-screen) baddie.
    • Thanks to this Bacon managed to play with his "bad-boy" image and move over to the more adult show The Big Breakfast and not fall off the face of the earth like most Blue Peter presenters.
  • Not officially confirmed, but Italian singer Cristina d'Avena is said to hate children, despite having a long (since 1982) career in shows with singing children, and as singer/songwriter of cartoon themes note . It's possibly justified by the fact that her career is exclusively child related: the only other work she's done with theme songs has been Christmas carols, and her only acknowledged acting role has been a cartoon character in a real life short series.
  • Dara Ó Briain, speaking from personal experience, claims that this is ALWAYS the case.
    Paul Merton: I notice that you were trying to shut up Mother Goose there?
    Dara O Briain: Oh god, that prick in the bird.
  • Brazilian children show's host Xuxa, before her success, acted in the film Amor Estranho Amor ("Love, Strange Love"), in which her character had sex with a 12-year-old boy. The film is actually an artsy film, but when the internet discovered it, they treated it as a disgusting act of child pornography. Xuxa already had a lot of haters, and her popularity kinda plummeted.
    • For added hilarity, Jeff Dunham made frequent appearances on the show, though his career hadn't quite taken off at that point.
  • George Carlin Lampshaded his Mr. Conductor role in his "Fuck the Children" bit. Carlin was well known for his incredibly racy, foul mouthed persona long before having anything to do with Kids' Television. Overall, it's more of a Pet the Dog moment for him.
  • This video of the Canadian game show Just Like Mom seems to imply that this is Truth in Television.
  • In January 1965 on his morning children's show, the performer Soupy Sales suggested to his young viewers that they find the wallets of their sleeping fathers and take out "some of those funny green pieces of paper with all those nice pictures of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Hamilton, and send them along to your old pal, Soupy, care of WNEW, New York.". He also said: "Hey kids, last night was New Year's Eve, and your mother and dad were out having a great time. They are probably still sleeping and what I want you to do is tiptoe in their bedroom and go in your mom's pocketbook and your dad's pants, which are probably on the floor. You'll see a lot of green pieces of paper with pictures of guys in beards. Put them in an envelope and send them to me at Soupy Sales, Channel 5,New York, New York. And you know what I'm going to send you? A post card from Puerto Rico!". The reaction from outraged parents came fast and furious, and WNEW-TV pulled Soupy Sales' program off the air by the following Monday. Anyways, Soupy Sales program resumed broadcasting two weeks later, and his program ran on WNEW for close to another two years.
    • The assertion after-the-fact was that he was testing to see just how much attention parents were paying to what their kids were watching. The jury's out on whether that's the truth, though.
    • In his support, the fact that most of the envelopes contained Monopoly money showed that the majority of viewers figured out it was a joke and wanted to play along. Not all of them, though, and he wound up donating the actual money received to charity.
    • Also, almost all of the actual money was sent in by adults, often accompanied with fawning letters to Sales about how much his show had lifted their spirits in hard times, and they wanted to give something back to him.
  • As of 28th September 2012, Jimmy Savile has officially moved here from the urban myth section. Jimmy Savile was part of British television for nearly 50 years (he hosted Top of the Pops in The Sixties and The Seventies), probably the most famous and beloved children's presenter in British history with Jim'll Fix It, and one of the most flamboyantly eccentric figures in British pop culture. His death in 2011 was met with near-universal mourning. However, there had long been rumors floating around about him pertaining to a much nastier interest in kids; at least one children's hospital stopped letting him in to do meet-and-greets, but nobody could prove anything conclusively enough to take it to the police. Almost a year after his death, these rumours have exploded into the papers, with increasing numbers of women (and at least one man) coming forward with accounts of sexual abuse at Savile's hands, admissions from multiple associates of his that they ignored what he was doing, and the revelation that BBC's Newsnight had been investigating these accounts at the end of 2011 but declined to report on them. note  Needless to say, a metric fuckload of Harsher in Hindsight has just been dropped into British pop culture.
    • Following the Savile revelations, the press finally picked up on allegations made in the 1999 autobiography of the newscaster John Simpson that the BBC's original radio childrens' host, Derek "Uncle Mac" McCulloch, had habitually molested kids who had won visits to the studio.
    • Savile is now believed to have molested 1000 kids on BBC premises alone, 34 of whom he raped.
    • Savile was also given free reign of numerous hospitals, where he abused patients and staff alike. And now there are suspicions that he had access to the morgues...
    • And worse yet, it's starting to look like he wasn't the only kiddy-fiddler flying under the radar in this role.
    • Savile admitted that he hated kids, yet he created for himself a job (presenter of Jim'll Fix It) that he knew would bring him into contact with kids by the hundred. Why this combination didn't cause loud alarm bells to ring is a mystery for the ages.
    • A now-deceased producer of Doctor Who, who worked on the show in the 1970's when it was largely dismissed as a childrens' TV production, has since been outed for his tendency to use meet-and-greets as opportunity to groom the right sort of young male fan for sexual purposes. He was only marginally a paedophile, however, as he favoured boys around sixteen - then regarded in British law as of-age for heterosexual interaction, but well under-age for homosexuality. He was warned about his conduct several times but still regarded Who conventions as a pick-up ground.
    • An article in mens' mag Loaded in the late 1990's was written by a female journalist who explained that her petite figure and build often led to her being mistaken for a young teenager. She recalled interactions with creepy men who found this a turn on, including an un-named TV presenter who begged her to dress and act as if she were only twelve or thirteen, rather than 25. This man was a presenter of a very well-regarded BBC childrens' show...
  • Ronald William Brown was a puppeteer on Joy Junction, a children's program on the Christian Television Network. He also collected child pornography, including what authorities described as "images of children that appear to be deceased", and engaged in online conversations about detailed plans for child cannibalism.
  • Ex-Hey Dad..! actor Robert Hughes was reported to have molested a regular cast member, and an unknown guest actor.
  • A Polish kids show Miś z okienka (The bear in the window) caused a small scandal in the early 60s, when its host Bronisław Pawlik (who would usually discuss various book-related topics with a teddy bear) snarked "And now, kids, kiss the bear's ass" after a particularly tiring shoot, not realizing that the cameras were still on and he was on air. As a result, he was fired from the show and replaced with a slightly tamer host. Contrary to some of the above examples, it was actually beneficial for Pawlik, since quitting the show allowed him to mature as a stage and movie actor.
  • Two Doctors in Doctor Who - William Hartnell and Tom Baker - have reputations for being Jerkasses. William Hartnell was paranoid about the direction the show was taking, was at best hot-and-cold to the other actors and at worst a bully, and held racist views that interfered occasionally with the show. Tom Baker bullied people on set, smoked like a trooper, would show up to work drunk and throw up in the BBC carpark, had all sorts of outrageously kinky sex with his Estrogen Brigade in costume (and occasionally in character) and some incredibly tempestuous long term romantic relationships (one even with the actress playing his companion), had difficulty separating characters' written behaviour from the personality of the actors, and could barely get through a sentence without saying some derivative of 'fuck'. But in both cases, they absolutely loved their child fans and used them as a Morality Chain - out of all the Doctors, both were best known for attending events in character for free, visiting children in hospital to tell them that the Doctor was looking after them, playing Daleks with children in the street, and presenting as the character in real life, Contractual Purity included, so that their fans would always feel they met the Doctor. Tom Baker has since mellowed out a great deal, patched things up with his costars, and credits the role with saving his life - his autobiography reveals that before he got the job he had given away everything he owned and was struggling with suicidal ideas; he was working on a building site after some roles fell through. And William Hartnell begged and begged to come back to film "The Three Doctors", even though he was dying at the time and knew it, because the role meant so much to him. In those cases, they're instances of Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • In 1994, a LP by Spanish children TV hosts Fofito and Rody Aragón was recalled because of a song that incited children to stab and mutilate each other, and ended with a line telling them to jump off a ninth-floor window, called "The Song of the Sons". The two argued that it was an absurdist song that shouldn't be taken literally, but the Law didn't agree. This incident did not cause the cancellation of their show Tras Tres Tris, as it is sometimes reported (it actually continued to air for another year), but it is true that they never sung that song again.
  • Stuart Hall, host of It's A Knockout pled guilty to 14 charges of indecent assault involving young girls (including one on location for the show) in 2013 and was convicted of another in 2014.
  • Rolf Harris has also joined this section after being found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault on 30 June 2014 and consequently sentenced to 5 years and 9 months imprisonment. Amongst his many kids TV roles was a special video made to warn children about child molesters!


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