Krusty the Clown never had a bar mitzvah. It’s a startling confession “Simpsons” fans will hear this Sunday when the Springfield celebrity discovers he doesn’t have a star on the town’s Jewish Walk of Fame.
In the episode, “Today, I Am a Clown,” written by Joel H. Cohen, the sardonic Krusty turns to his Orthodox father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky (Jackie Mason), and Mr. T for help.
Now in its 15th season, “The Simpsons” regularly pokes fun at Christianity via neighbor Ned Flanders and Hinduism through Kwik-E-Mart’s Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. However, it’s been 12 years since the show has done anything more than an occasional Jewish aside via Krusty or his kin.
In the 1991 episode, “Like Father, Like Clown,” Bart Simpson studies and quotes from the Talmud to help reunite the estranged father and son. Krusty (né Hershel Krustofsky) was disowned when he became a clown, rather than following the long-standing family tradition of entering the rabbinate (“A jazz singer, this I could forgive,” Rabbi Krustofsky says. “But a clown!”).
Rabbi Krustofsky returns to help his son study for his big day — which he originally opposed for the young Hershel, fearing that he might make a mockery out of it. When Krusty realizes that his show’s shooting schedule has him working on Shabbat, he brings in Homer Simpson as a guest host.
Unfortunately, Homer wins over the audience with buddies Lenny, Moe and Carl and talk of everyday subjects like doughnuts. Krusty, in turn, gets canned.
In a bid to reclaim his audience, Krusty turns his bar mitzvah into a reality TV show, slating the event for Isotope Stadium and inviting Mr. T to read from the Torah.
What else might we expect from a “Simpsons” bar mitzvah? In keeping with tradition, maybe a little “D’oh.”
“Today I Am a Clown” airs Sunday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m. on Fox.