Two seasons ago, The Simpsons decided that it was time for Rabbi Krustofski to meet his maker. Now it’s time to bring him back to life — at least in Krusty’s head.
The stern rabbi, voiced by Jackie Mason, will return in a holiday episode airing this December, EW has learned. In the installment titled “The Nightmare After Krustmas,” Krusty converts to Christianity after an incident with his daugher (who will be voiced by… well, we’ll get to that in a minute). He is being baptized in the winter and winds up falling through some ice, prompting the reappearance of his father in his hallucinatory state.
“Krusty is nearly going to die, so his mind flashes to the hackiest thing it can think of which is a Frozen parody, and then he sees his dad and his dad talks to him in this hallucination,” Simpsons executive producer Al Jean tells EW. “It’s the last thing Krusty sees before he’s about to die.”
(About to die? Don’t worry, it is not a like-father-like-son scenario: Krusty does not perish, assures Jean.)
There was considerable intrigue leading up to the season 26 premiere featuring the Rabbi’s death, with hints being dropped that a “beloved” character — voiced by an actor who won an Emmy for the role — would be grimly reaped. Believing a bigger name was on the chopping block, let-down fans voiced some disappointment after seeing the episode. “I’m hoping fans are even angrier we bring him back,” jokes Jean.
Jean says that he has always assumed that the rabbi — whose last words to his despondent son were, “If you want to know my honest opinion of you, you’ve always been… eh” — would reappear in one form or another, noting that Homer’s mother (voiced by Glenn Close) passed away, yet she has popped up a number of times since. Indeed, in last year’s post-mortem interview following Rabbi K’s death, Jean said to EW, “We told the actor that didn’t mean the end of his part in the show. He certainly could come back as a memory of Krusty.” (And speaking of deceased characters reemerging this season, Frank Grimes — or rather, the ghost of Frank Grimes — will rise up from the grave in “Treehouse of Horror XXVII” to seek revenge against Homer.)
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Let’s get back to that casting news from a few paragraphs ago: Natasha Lyonne of Orange Os the New Black fame will voice Krusty’s daughter Sophie (who was originally voiced by Drew Barrymore in a season 12 episode). “She has converted to Christianty and he really disappoints her,” says Jean, “so he converts to try to get her love back.”
Lyonne has also recently popped up on such shows as Portlandia, Inside Amy Schumer, and Comedy Bang! Bang! She’ll appear on the big screen next year in the National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
Other guests on the Simpsons‘ season 28 roster include Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Jason Alexander, Michael Sheen, and Lizzy Caplan. The season kicks off Sept. 25 on Fox.