Out of the giant supporting cast of The Simpsons, Krusty the Clown is one of the most endearing mainstays. He’s been there since the very beginning – ever since he was framed by Sideshow Bob and subsequently saved from conviction by Bart and Lisa in the first season – and he’s easily one of the show’s most hilarious characters.
This is helped by the fact that he’s a comedian and The Simpsons’ writers’ room is filled with some of the best joke writers in the world, so he’s a one-liner machine, despite being a hack in the context of the show. Here are the 10 Funniest Krusty The Clown Quotes.
10 “I will personally spit into every fiftieth burger!”
Krusty’s chain of fast food restaurants, Krusty Burger, is a biting satirical take on the fast food industry. He makes no secret of the fact that he cuts costs wherever he can and doesn’t put anything of nutritional value into any of the meals at Krusty Burger.
At the same time, the series shows us that even though we’re aware of this in real fast food restaurants, it doesn’t stop millions of consumers from lapping it up. When Krusty pledges to personally spit in every fiftieth burger in his TV commercial, Homer simply says, “Ooh, I like those odds.”
9 “A great man once observed: ‘90% of success is showing up on time.’ Sorry I’m four hours late...”
Krusty the Clown is The Simpsons’ proxy for every terrible celebrity who has completely sold out and takes advantage of anyone who is paid less than him. This quote is taken from the season 19 finale episode, “All About Lisa,” which sees Lisa get hired as Krusty’s sidekick and later his replacement.
The episode was criticized for copying the basic premise of “Bart Gets Famous,” but whereas in that episode, Bart’s fame was fleeting and eventually no one cared, Lisa realized her fame was unsustainable and gave it up. It’s the same story, but with two different characters at the center.
8 “Put five thousand bucks on the Lakers. Hire Kenny G to play for me in the elevator. My house is dirty, buy me a clean one.”
Krusty the Clown’s level of celebrity is pretty vaguely defined. He’s a clown on a local TV variety series, so realistically, he should only be famous to a small group of people. He doesn’t live in Hollywood; he lives in Springfield with regular blue-collar joes like Homer Simpson.
However, he is shown to be old friends with some of the biggest stars in the world and he seems to have an endless supply of money. Not only is he able to hire a renowned saxophonist to play for a short elevator ride, but he also has enough left over to buy a new house when the old one is too dirty.
7 “I’m not the kind of dad who, y’know, does things, or says stuff, or looks at you. But the love is there!”
Drew Barrymore is one of the few actors to have guest-starred on both The Simpsons and Family Guy. In Family Guy, she plays Brian’s dim on-and-off girlfriend Jillian (and also played Chris’ teacher Mrs. Lockhart). In The Simpsons, she played Krusty the Clown’s long-lost daughter Sophie in season 12’s “Insane Clown Poppy.”
Krusty impregnated Sophie’s mother, a soldier, while he was on a USO tour, and he tried to reconnect with her when she tracked him down. Krusty ended up losing Sophie’s prized violin in a mob poker game, but then he sneaked into the mafia’s compound with Homer to get it back.
6 “There are only two rules in TV: don’t swear, and don’t whip it out. It’s not rocket science!”
Krusty is a great parody of seasoned TV stars who have been on TV so many times and for so many years that it’s nothing special anymore. After starring in hundreds of episodes of his own TV show, Krusty has become indifferent towards the glitz and glamor of television.
He phones in most of his shows at this point. But at the end of the day, he is a professional. He understands that there are two essential truths that you can’t swear or “whip it out” on television, and if you stick to those two rules, you will be fine.
5 “I work like I drink – alone, but with a monkey watching me.”
The character of Krusty the Clown takes the tacky, overdone idea of the sad clown and makes it funny again. Clowns themselves are supposed to be funny, but comedy has changed so much that they’re not anymore (they’re actually, statistically, one of the most terrifying things in the world), so dramatists started to play on the idea of the sad clown – a character that was really miserable behind all the makeup.
Now, The Simpsons has taken that dramatic idea and used it to make a clown that’s funny again with some postmodern twists. Krusty drinks alone under the observation of a monkey, which is sad, but funny.
4 “Krustyland has a new ride: The Eyeballs of Death. It only passed the safety by a 3-to-2 vote, and that third didn’t come cheap.”
One of the pillars of Krusty the Clown’s merchandising empire is his theme park, Krustyland. This is a parody of Disney’s theme park, Disneyland. In this announcement for his newest ride, The Eyeballs of Death, he says that the ride scraped by the safety test, and it shouldn’t technically have passed it.
They had to pay off the final panelist to gain the majority vote, which Krusty himself admits in the announcement. He’s pretty shameless in his advertising, because he knows that whatever he says, he’s going to get customers. Any rollercoaster that is generally unsafe will still attract tourists.
3 “I thought the Generals were due!”
"He's spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it! Take it! That game was fixed! They were using a freakin' ladder, for God's sake!"
The Washington Generals’ defining characteristic as a team is that they lose games to the Harlem Globetrotters. That’s what they’re known for. So, when Krusty the Clown took every last penny he earned from franchising his own name and identity and bet it on the Generals, everyone could predict what was going to happen next.
Of course, the Globetrotters beat the Generals, as they pretty much always do, and Krusty lost all the money he made from his own name. He tried to argue that the game had been fixed, because the Globetrotters had been using a ladder to reach the hoop.
2 “The Arctic Circle, or as I call it, my wife’s side of the bed. For the purposes of that joke, I’m married.”
The Simpsons writers are always one step ahead of their audience. When Krusty tells an off-cuff one-liner about his wife that was probably stolen from another comedian’s act, our immediate reaction is that we didn’t realize he was married. Then, he says that for that joke to work, you have to imagine that he’s married, even though he isn’t.
Over the past half a century or so, standup comedy has moved towards every comedian having their own material that is personal to them, as opposed to simply sharing one-liners like the first generation of comics did, but Krusty still hasn’t adapted to the times.
1 “Homer gave me a kidney – it wasn’t his, I didn’t need it, and it came postage due – but still, a lovely gesture.”
When Matt Groening was first conceiving the supporting cast of The Simpsons as he expanding the shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show into their own half-hour series, he originally planned a twist in which it would be revealed that Homer was secretly living a double life as Krusty the Clown. That’s why, aside from the makeup, they’re basically identical.
The joke would’ve been that Bart’s hero turned out to be the one man he has no respect for. It’s fair to say that they made the right decision by scrapping this twist, but it’s interesting to think how different the show could’ve been.