There was originally supposed to be a twist on The Simpsons: Krusty the Clown was meant to be Homer Simpson in disguise, but that's not what happened in the end. All 30 seasons of TV's longest-running scripted primetime animated series will be available on Disney+ at launch. This means generations of Simpsons fans can experience one of the greatest TV shows ever from the very beginning - and they'll see just how much The Simpsons has changed since its awkward first season.
Of course, Krusty (voiced by Dan Castellaneta, who is also the voice of Homer) is one of The Simpsons' greatest characters and he's arguably the town of Springfield's biggest celebrity. Krusty hosts The Krusty the Clown Show, the favorite weekday program of Springfield's children. Krusty's show is the home of Itchy & Scratchy cartoons and, as Krusty once bragged, "It's the tightest three hours and ten minutes on TV". Krusty is also Bart Simpson's personal hero; Bart's pure-hearted worship of Krusty defies the realities and many failings of the narcissistic clown. Krusty never seems to remember all the things Bart has done for him like re-ignite his career with Krusty's Komeback Special, serving as his assistant, the "I Didn't Do It! Boy", and reuniting Krusty with his estranged father, Rabbi Krustofsky (Jackie Mason).
Ironically, Bart rarely does anything selflessly for his father Homer, but the way The Simpsons was originally conceived by creator Matt Groening, this dichotomy was going to be a key subplot of the show: Homer was once meant to live a double life where he was secretly Krusty the Clown all along. It would have potentially brought Bart and Homer closer together - but in the end, the twist was changed to something much better.
The Simpsons' Homer/Krusty Twist Explained
Krusty's first appearance was in The Simpsons short "The Krusty the Clown Show", which aired on The Tracy Ullman Show. Bart attends a taping of Krusty's show but he suspects the clown host isn't the real deal; Simpson yanks off his nose and it's revealed Krusty is an imposter - before a smash cut shows Homer and Marge watching the debacle on TV. But originally, Matt Groening planned for Bart to discover that Homer was Krusty before it was changed. As Groening told EW:
”The original idea behind Krusty the Clown was that he was Homer in disguise, but Homer still couldn’t get any respect from his son, who worshiped Krusty. If you look at Krusty, it’s just Homer with extended hair and a tuft on his head.
This explains the obvious physical resemblance between Homer and Krusty. Groening also said that it was too complicated a story to do during The Simpsons' tumultuous beginnings so they (wisely) dropped the idea and kept Homer and Krusty as separate characters. The Simpsons later did a hilarious spin on Homer being Krusty in season 6 episode, "Homie the Clown", where Homer enrolled in Krusty's Clown College but then the two identical harlequins ended up as targets of Springfield's Mafia because of Krusty's $48 debt to the mob.
The Simpsons Did Something Much Better With Krusty
Dropping the Homer-as-Krusty plot allowed Krusty to become a fan-favorite recurring character. The famous clown went on to become one of The Simpsons' best supporting cast members who has been featured in many great episodes. Moreso, Krusty fulfills an invaluable function in the series by encapsulating every negative stereotype about celebrities, thanks to Krusty's improbable 61 years in show business. This includes Krusty's penchant for slapping his image on any substandard product to support his lavish lifestyle of eating dodo eggs and lighting his cigars with $100 bills.
Krusty's venal nature has also been mined for laughs: In "Bart the Fink", the Clown once faked his death because of his IRS debts and posed as "Rory B. Bellows" until Bart and Lisa goaded him back to bring Krusty because he couldn't stand the idea of not being admired for being famous. When his outdated (and racist) comedy bombs in "The Last Temptation of Krust", Krusty stages a comeback by "telling it like it is", only to immediately sell out when he's offered the chance to be the spokes-clown for the Canyonero. While Homer secretly being Krusty would have been an interesting twist, it can't compare to the dividends reaped by Krusty's many hysterical adventures on The Simpsons over the decades.