- “I'm a bad widdle boy!”
- ―Gabbo's catchphrase
Before Gabbo's show premiered, numerous advertisements mentioning him were posted on TV and in the streets. The town was abuzz with anticipation, with everyone eager to find out who (or what) Gabbo was.
Gabbo's TV show then began, airing opposite Krusty the Clown, and was an instant hit. A colorful, vivacious puppet (even by the standards of Springfield), he was offset by his more rigid and refined puppeteer, Arthur Crandall, and the combination was very successful. They were so successful, in fact, that they became more popular than Krusty for a brief time, forcing his show into cancellation. In an effort to bail out his idol, Bart Simpson sneaked into the studio where Gabbo's show was being filmed. During a commercial break, Bart caught Gabbo badmouthing his fan base—the children of Springfield—in spite of Arthur Crandall's urging for him to relent. Bart switched the camera back onto the air before the commercial break was over, broadcasting Gabbo uttering the words, "All the kids in Springfield are S.O.B.s." Despite this, Gabbo was still number one, according to a newspaper headline the next day (although it is implied that the only reason Gabbo retained his #1 spot was because Kent Brockman repeated Gabbo's gaffe of referring to his audience as SOBs before the camera was actually turned off shortly after reporting on it).
Following Gabbo's gaffe, Krusty (with the aid of Bart and Lisa) launched a spectacular comeback special which included a number of his celebrity friends. The special was a huge success and re-established Krusty's stranglehold on the hearts of the children of Springfield.
Arthur Crandall and Gabbo were later hired as part of an act for the Native American Casino. Gabbo had noticeably deteriorated from wear and tear with the passage of time and was also shown as simply being a dummy when not in use.
When the EPA trapped Springfield in a dome during Trappuccino, Gabbo's jaws comically fell off as he (along with the rest of the townspeople) gaped in surprise at the sight of the dome moving into position and then being lowered.
He was shown walking on his own out of Tears of a Clown grief counseling building behind Arthur.
Behind the Laughter
- Gabbo gets his name from the title character of the 1929 film The Great Gabbo. In the film, Gabbo is a ventriloquist who operates a dummy named Otto.
- Gabbo's face looks just like the famous dummy Howdy Doody, who hosted an afternoon children's program from 1947 to 1960. The resemblance is due in part to both Gabbo and Howdy having red hair and freckles.
- Gabbo, when not in use, is simply a dummy. This could mean that his remarks about the children being "S.O.B.s" are Arthur Crandall's own and that Crandall has dissociative identity disorder, expressing one personality through Gabbo.
- On the other hand, Gabbo has been seen moving across the stage unaided by Arthur Crandall during the show.
- "Bart to the Future" makes the whole situation quite ambiguous. Bart removes an obviously inanimate Gabbo out of his case in order to hide inside it. When Crandall picks it up, and Bart makes nose, Crandall whispers "quiet Gabbo," as if Gabbo is usually able to function independently of him.
- Gabbo's off-the-cuff comment "All the kids in Springfield are S.O.B.'s" is believed to be a reference to an apocryphal show business tale involving a beloved children's radio host named "Uncle Don". The claimed (but refuted) statement that supposedly slipped out on air was: "There, that outta hold the little bastards!"
- In profile, Gabbo's head is shaped similarly to the State of New York.
- when Gabbo comes to life his eyes change from black to red, possibly implying he is cursed.
- Episode – "Krusty Gets Kancelled"
- Episode – "Bart to the Future"
- Episode – "Homerazzi"
- Episode – "All About Lisa"
- Episode – "Wedding for Disaster" (Seen on Reverend Lovejoy's contacts)
- – The Simpsons Movie
- Episode – "Clown in the Dumps"
- Video game – The Simpsons: Tapped Out