The Simpsons

Season 3 Episode 6

Like Father, Like Clown

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 24, 1991 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
250 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Bart and Lisa team up to try and reunite Krusty the Clown with his estranged Rabbi father.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Great

    We have reached the grand finale for another rousing episode of The Krusty the Clown Show, and after he cheerfully finishes waving goodbye to all the kids until next time, the real Krusty comes out. He ends his afternoon by canceling each and every appointment Miss Pennycandy has lined up, including a thank-you supper Krusty arranged with Bart for clearing his name under armed robbery charges from his former sideshow. At home, Miss Pennycandy calls Marge to tell her the unfortunate news about Krusty's cancellation, for the fifth time. She tells Marge an important last-minute issue had come up, which Krusty is establishing by scrubbing mildew from his shower. Bart is collecting an autograph order from Milhouse, getting ready for the big night, but Marge must deliver the bad news to her son. Disappointed with yet another cancellation, Bart goes to write an angry letter to Krusty, officially turning in his Krusty Buddy Badge. Miss Pennycandy goes to forward Bart's letter to Krusty, telling him the boy that never lost faith in him just lost faith in him. She threatens to quit her job if Krusty doesn't go to have supper with Bart and his family. So, Krusty gives in. Bart is still disconcerted with Krusty, until Marge informs him this time Krusty is coming for real. He gets excited. Milhouse invites himself over for the occasion, and once Krusty arrives, he starts to act like he is still on camera. He is relived to know in the Simpsons' house, he can be himself. At the table, the family, Milhouse and Krusty are all seated and Krusty is asked to say grace. He starts to pray in Hebrew and Lisa figures that Krusty must be Jewish. When Lisa starts to tell Homer about all the famous Jewish entertainers in the business, Krusty begins crying. He tells them the exact reason: the Jewish prayer reminds him of his childhood...and his father. Krusty tells the story of his past: he grew up as a boy named Herschel Krustofsky, who was born in a family with a long line of rabbis. His father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, was a very wise and highly respected rabbi. He would be the wise man people would go to to seek advice, however, he had forbade his son to pursue a career as a clown. Time continued, and Herschel, in clown makeup, began entertaining the Rabbis at a Talmudic conference in the Catskills while his father was in the audience. When one Rabbi sprayed him with a seltzer bottle, Rabbi Krustofsky immediately recognized his son. Feeling as though his son had brought shame to the family, Rabbi Krustofsky disowned him, saying he never wanted to see him again. Krusty explains that since that day, he and his father had not spoken since; 25 years have passed since then. Many hours later that evening, Krusty had begun to wear out his welcome. After a long goodbye, he starts to return home. Upon returning home, Krusty tries to call his father, but can't work up the courage to say anything. Bart and Lisa are watching The Krusty the Clown Show, and after seeing an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon with a father/son theme, Krusty breaks down crying on camera. Bart and Lisa know what must be done: they must attempt to have Rabbi Krustofsky forgive Krusty. Bart and Lisa go to see Reverend Lovejoy, and ask him if he knows where to find Rabbi Krustofsky. After learning of a radio program that he does with the good Rabbi called Gabbin' about God, he gives them his address. Bart and Lisa go to see Rabbi Krustofsky to talk about Krusty. His only response is of a simple exclamation of a feud: he has no son. Over at KBBL studios, Rev. Reverend Lovejoy, Msgr. Kenneth Daly and Rabbi Krustofsky are on air with another episode of Gabbin' about God. They answer a few religion-themed questions when Bart publicly asks about wheter a father should forgive his son if they are making so many children happy. This causes Rabbi Krustofsky to blurt out his disdain over the air, asking who screens these calls. After Bart fails to pass himself off as a Rabbi, Bart and Lisa attempt to arrange a 'by chance' meeting. Rabbi Krustofsky is conned into thinking he gets a lunch date with Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow, and Krusty is conned into thinking the French government wants to award him the Legion of Honor. At Izzy's Deli, Bart and Lisa watch as Rabbi Krustofsky, at the reminder that his son sponsors a pork-heavy meal on white bread at this restaurant, storms off before Krusty arrives. Bart and Lisa try a new tactic: impress Rabbi Krustofsky with knowledge. Bart and Lisa spend hours at the library, where they try time and time again to duel with the wise Rabbi using bits of knowledge and wisdom to make Rabbi Krustofsky reconcile with his son. Ultimately, Rabbi Krustofsky counters them with contradicting knowledge. Many attempts later, Lisa gives Bart a new philosophy on paper, saying it's a long shot, but she can't do anymore without learning ancient Hebrew...and Lisa insists she's not learning Ancient Hebrew. While during a chess game, Bart deals the final card: "The Jews are a swinging bunch of people, I mean, I've heard of persecution, but what they went through is ridiculous. But the great thing is, after thousands of years of waiting and holding on and fighting, they finally made it." This quote very much impresses Rabbi Krustofsky, who is curious about this wise man. Bart gives the answer: it is from the book Yes, I Can, as written by Sammy Davis, Jr. This wise man was a Jewish entertainer, just like Krusty. Having been won over by this quote, Rabbi Krustofsky is driven to tears by the idea that he had lost so many years of joy under a small degree of short-sightedness. Lisa consoles him, saying it is not too late. While Krusty opens his show with absolutely no zing, he tells them to roll an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon while he goes to have a cigarette. Miss Pennycandy lets Bart and Lisa inside. At this time, Rabbi Krustofsky finds Krusty, having come to forgive his son. They have a joyous reunion the moment the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon has ended, and Krusty enters back inside, introducing his father to all the kids. His shares a reconciling song with his father, which proves to move everyone. At the conclusion of the song, Bart hands Rabbi Krustofsky a cream pie, which he throws his son's face. Krusty hugs his father, spreading laughs all around

    8.5 out of 10moreless
  • this was a good ep i thought

    in this ep of the simpsons the simpsons have krusty the clown over for dinner and they learn that krusty had a father that was rabi and he did not approve of krusty job and that it was no good. and so bart and lisa team up to help reunite krusty and his father by getting his father to think krusty has a good job being a clown. this ep had some good moments in it like trying to get krusty and his fahter to reconcile on air in front of the whole krusty audience. this was a good ep i toughtmoreless
  • Like Father Like Clown

    When Krusty is invited over to the Simpson house for dinner, he accepts, and the Simpson family learns he is Jewish. They also learn he doesn't get along well with his father, a famous rabbi, because he did not like the path Krusty chose for his career {he wanted him to be a rabbi}. So now Bart and Lisa try to reunite Krusty with his father. In the end they do and Krusty and his rabbi Father hug on Krusty's show.

    A good episode, the description doesn't sound like my type of plot, but it worked well and had good emotion in the endmoreless
  • I can't think of a better way to break my review drought than with this very fine Simpsons episode

    It is an unspoken rule that originality is the key to a good episode of any TV show so you can't blame this critic for having low expectations prior to viewing an episode that promised to be a continuous reference to an old movie.

    However relatively early on; every pre – conceived notion was thrown at the window as for the first time this season; The Simpsons presents an episode that is outstanding across the board.

    Upon Krusty the Clown's visit to the Simpson home we all learn of his secret anguish of his estranged father, the stern Rabbi Krustofski (brilliantly voiced by Jackie Mason). Bart and Lisa attempt to to reunite the Rabbi with the increasingly depressed Clown but find that it is much harder than first thought.

    Yes, the father and son theme has been done to death. Yes, the Bart and Lisa going on a mission theme has been done to death and yes, jokes where Jewish people are the target have been done to death but no, person having seen this episode will have let those minor points deter them from the undeniable quality.

    I have not seen "The Jazz Singer", the film for which this movie is based and i'm doubtful that too many viewers of a cartoon show will be adept with relatively unknown movies from the 1930's so therefore its unoriginality is not a problem for the vast majority of viewers. The episode is split into two halves which are clearly defined as the news of Krusty's father is what seperates them. The first has a much lighter tone with more Simpson – esque jokes while the second has a much more semi – serious tone with the jokes becoming rather symptomatic with Jewish humour of not having punchlines as such but rather more subtle, knowing humor which can most probably be attributed to the monologues from Mason. The contrast is not only effective but is done with enough subtly so that the two halves are not vastly disproportionate in nature. This episode certainly looks different to previous and subsequent ones in that the colours are a little more dimmed with more cinematic lighting and facial expressions that are a lot more intricately drawn. These changes (which in case you didn't gather are entirely for the better) can be attributed to this episode having two directors one of which is the Oscar – winning animation director Brad Bird.

    Not since the last time i have listened to a Jack Black song have i used the phrase "verbally chewing on the scenery" but with Dan Castellaneta's performance as Krusty it is very applicable. Dan is a terrific voice artist who captures the zaniness of Krusty while remaining very measured and never is there a hint of force behind his very exaggerated speech patterns and sobs. However, the real star of this episode is Jackie Mason as the Rabbi. Mason doesn't really need to extend his range since he is essentially playing a bearded version of himself but every word uttered by him is thoroughly entertaining and very, very convincing and for a real old school comedian to master this on his first try while many other s who appear better suited have tried and failed is really what makes his role so memorable. Like father, like clown is a refreshing episode that was one of the most notable examples of The Simpsons transcending from just another animated show to THE animated show. Check it out now.moreless
  • Krusty and his problems strike once again...

    I never really liked clowns after all. I thought this episode could've been done without with, and that it was a little dull and boring, but still touching and had its comedic moments. So basically it is discovered that Krusty is a Jew and his father is a Rabbi, but Krusty had always wanted to be a comedian. So he was shunned by his father for like 25 years I think. Then with the help of Lisa and Bart they are re-united. I particulary enjoyed the parts Lisa had in this episode, her line something like "A man who envies this family is a man who needs help", and how she came up with all the arguments against Krusty's father. So overall it was a good episode.moreless
Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta

Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, and others

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Lou, and others

Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, and others

Julie Kavner

Julie Kavner

Marge Simpson, Patty Bouvier, and Selma Bouvier

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, and others

Yeardley Smith

Yeardley Smith

Lisa Simpson

Jackie Mason

Jackie Mason

Rabbi Krustofski

Guest Star

Doris Grau

Doris Grau

Lunchlady Doris

Recurring Role

Pamela Hayden

Pamela Hayden

Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones, and others

Recurring Role

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Agnes Skinner, Brandine Del Roy, Dolph and others

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

  • QUOTES (23)

    • Rabbi Krustofski: A rabbi would never exaggerate. A rabbi composes. He creates thoughts. He tells stories that may never have happened. But he does not exaggerate.

    • Bart: Poor Krusty.
      Lisa: A man who envies our family is a man who needs help.

    • Lisa: Here you go, Bart. It's a long shot, but that's all I can do without learning ancient Hebrew. (Bart stares at her) Bart! I am not going to learn ancient Hebrew!

    • Bart: Hello, my name's Dimitri. I'm a first-time caller, long-time listener. My question is, if a son defies his father and chooses a career that makes millions of children happy; shouldn't the father forgive the son?
      Rev. Lovejoy: I think so.
      Msgr. D: Yes, of course.
      Rabbi Krustofski: No way! Absolutely not! Never, never! Who screens these calls? Who's in charge here? There's nobody in charge? They leave a building without people watching it...

    • Bart: Krusty, are you all right?
      Krusty: Yes, it's just that saying the bracha brings back a lot of painful memories, the old days, my... my father...
      Homer: Hey, Krusty, you going to finish that meatloaf or what?

    • Homer: He's talking funny-talk!
      Lisa: No Dad, that's Hebrew! Krusty must be Jewish.
      Homer: A Jewish entertainer? Get out of here!

    • Bart: Krusty, you don't have to be `on' tonight.
      Homer: What are you talking about! Of course he does!
      Lisa: No Dad, Krusty is our guest. Your pratfalls and Punchinello antics aren't necessary here.

    • Krusty: (Singing) Oh Mein Papa, to me he was so wonderful, Oh Mein Papa, to me he was so good, no one could be, so gentle and so loveable, Oh Mein Papa he always understood!
      Moe: I've got something in my eye.
      Barney: Here, take my hanky.
      Moe: Euueeh!

    • Krusty: Boys and girls, I'd like to be serious for a moment if I may. Spotlight, please. I just wanted (spotlight moves away from Krusty) I just wan… (spotlight moves away again) Come on guys, I'm not doing the spotlight bit.

    • Lisa: Bart, we've been going about this all wrong. What's the one thing Rabbi's prize above everything else?
      Bart: Those stupid hats?
      Lisa: No, Bart! Knowledge!

    • Lovejoy: I do a radio call-in show with him every Sunday night!
      Bart: Really?
      Lisa: I didn't know that.
      Lovejoy: Gee, uh, I mention it in my sermon every week.
      Bart: Oh, oh, that radio show!
      Lisa: Oh yeah! It's all the kids talk about on Monday at school.
      Lovejoy: Oh, well, why don't you have a free t-shirt. You'll be the coolest kids in the playground!
      Bart: He, he we'll put 'em on later -- now.

    • Krusty: Didn't Itchy Junior look happy playing with his father? And didn't Scratchy Junior look happy playing with his dad until they got run over by a thresher?

    • Rabbi: Hello. Hello? Anybody there? What's this, I hear the phone ring, and suddenly there's nothing. I'm listening and there's no talking. Hello, mister, who are you? Why would they call if they don't want to talk to you?

    • Bart: Goodnight Krusty, sorry about your dad!
      Krusty: Don't worry about me. I'm a survivor. Hey did I leave my keys inside?
      Family: NOO!
      Krusty: Oh yeah, here they are.

    • Krusty: Milhouse, know any knock-knock jokes?
      Milhouse: (cries) I wanna go home!

    • Milhouse: Oh, Hi Bart. I was just in the neighborhood and wha? Krusty the Clown! What a surprise!
      Bart: Milhouse. You can come in, and, drop the charade.

    • Krusty: (knocks on door and laughs)
      Homer: You think it's him?

    • Krusty: (reading) Deeee...deee.. dear. Kruuuust. Y?

    • Krusty: Ooh! Sex Chat! (dials)
      Voice: You've reached the Party Line! In a moment, you'll be connected to a hot party, with some of the world's most beautiful women! Now, let's join the party!
      Krusty: Hello?
      Man 1: Hello?
      Man 2: Hello?
      Apu: Are there any women here?
      Krusty: Hello!?
      Apu: Are you a beautiful woman?
      Krusty: Do I sound like a beautiful woman?
      Apu: This is not as hot a party as I anticipated.

    • Bart: Okay Milhouse, how many Krusty autographs should I put you down for?
      Milhouse: Uh, a hundred.
      Bart: Consider it done. (singing) You're walking along the street or you're at a party! Or else you're alone and then you suddenly dig dig dig. This could be the start of something big.

    • Krusty: (singing) We've had lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of fun, but now the time has come... to go. If this old clown was found dead in his bed tomorrow, I'd be in heaven, still doing this show.

    • Bart: We came to talk to you about your son.
      Rabbi Krustofski: I have no son! (Slams door)
      Bart: Oh, great, we came all this way and it's the wrong guy.
      Rabbi Krustofski: (Re-opens door) I didn't mean that literally! (Re-slams door)

    • Homer: Son, you don't have to follow in my footsteps.
      Bart: That's okay, I don't even like using the bathroom after you.
      Homer: Why you little!

  • NOTES (5)

    • Bart and Lisa fool Rabbi Krustofski into "accidentally" meeting up with Krusty by telling him he is having lunch with novelist Saul Bellows. Originally, they were to tell him he was meeting Isaac Bashevis Singer. But between the first draft of the script and the final draft, Singer died so the name was changed.

    • First Appearance: Mr. Teeny

    • Itchy & Scratchy: "Field Of Screams"
      A combine comes bearing down on Scratchy and his son as they play catch in a wheat field. Itchy and his son look out from inside the combine as blood splashes up against the windshield. Afterwards, Itchy and his son play catch with Scratchy's head.

    • Blackboard Joke: I will finish what I sta
      Couch Gag: Everybody except Bart runs in. Bart then runs in and glides onto everybody's laps.

    • In 1992, Jackie Mason won an Emmy for, Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, for this episode.


    • Raging Bull
      The scene in which Krusty calls his father but doesn't say anything is borrowed from a scene in Martin Scorsese's 1980 film, Raging Bull, in which Jake LaMotta does the same thing.

    • Miss Moneypenny
      James Bond's secretary is referenced in the name of Krusty's secretary--Miss Pennycandy. Like her more famous counterpart, she secretly desires her co-worker/boss.

    • The movies playing at the Springfield Theater are For Your Thighs Only, Crocodile Done Me and Doctor Strangepants. They are allusions to the actual movies For Your Eyes Only (1981), Crocodile Dundee (1986) and Doctor Strangelove (1964).

    • Itchy & Scratchy: Field of Screams
      The title of the cartoon is a parody of the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

    • The Carol Burnett Show
      At the end of the show, Krusty tugs on his ear. This is a quick and funny homage to the end of The Carol Burnett Show.

    • The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
      In the opening scene, Krusty throws axes at a bound Sideshow Mel, the final one barely missing the hapless sidekick's crotch. This is just like the famous Ed Ames "tomahawk toss" skit on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where Ames' ax landed in the crotch area of an outlined drawing of a man on a piece of plywood.

    • The Jazz Singer
      The entire plot--Krusty's struggles with estrangement from his rabbinical father who disapproved of his career as an entertainer--is based on the 1952 film The Jazz Singer.