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"They say any publicity is good publicity."
―Sideshow Mel[src]
"I am Melvin Van Horne, and this is my associate, Herschel Krustofsky."
―Sideshow Mel[src]
"Everyone's always kissing your ass. Well, I'm not afraid to tell you you're a (*bleep*)!"
―Sideshow Mel to Krusty the Clown[src]

Melvin Van Horne (also known as Sideshow Mel) is Krusty's current sidekick on The Krusty the Clown Show, after Sideshow Bob. When he is not in character, Mel speaks in a grandiose English/Shakespearean/British accent and owns a lot of poodles. He is a recurring character in The Simpsons and a minor antagonist in The Simpsons Movie.



Mel as a dice.

Mel joined the cast of the Krusty the Clown Show to replace Sideshow Bob, who was sentenced to prison for attempting to frame Krusty for armed robbery.


Mel with his son.

Sideshow Mel uses a slide whistle to communicate on camera. When not in character, Mel speaks in a grandiose English/Shakespearean accent and owns many poodles. His main accomplishment so far has been successfully removing Mr. Smithers from suspicion of having shot Mr. Burns.[2] Off-screen, Mel is generally very eloquent, educated, poetic and intelligent, with a beautiful singing voice - it is implied that as with Sideshow Bob before him, his true talents are wasted on Krusty's show. He attended Cornell University. When Lisa Simpson won the "Entertainer of the Year Award," it was revealed that Melvin also won the award previously for his portrayal of Biff in Death of a Salesman, but his desire to keep his stardom eventually led him to become the sidekick he is today.[3] He was once forced to conduct an orchestra of kazoo-playing monkeys. When he pleaded with Krusty to not force him to do it, Krusty simply shouted at him to "shut up and conduct".

Although ultimately loyal to Krusty, he also is known to not be a doormat to some of Krusty's antics. In one instance, when Krusty's 29th anniversary was occurring, one of the clips that was to be shown was Mel, while drunk on "wowie-sauce", made clear that he viewed Krusty as a word that can't be repeated, unlike the others who kissed Krusty's butt. In addition, when the series was about to get canceled, Mel ended up quitting citing the abuse he frequently had to undergo, although he ultimately ends up returning to Krusty's side by the time of the Comeback Special.

He was apparently a fan of the Cosmic Wars franchise since childhood, and like several other people hated Episodes I, II, and III, as when he saw in the opening blurb for Episode VII: A New Take that the aforementioned episodes had been erased from continuity via a space-time rift, he not only celebrated with the others at the news, but also proceeded to declare his childhood "unruined."[4]

Mel tends to dramatically point out anything notable (though obvious) to various sized crowds around him, which he does more often in later episodes. He also seems to have some kind of friendship with Moe.

IMG 0829

Sideshow Mel is blowing the slidewhistle.

Religion and Education[]

Little is known about Mel, aside from him being a Cornell University graduate. It is also shown that Mel could be a recovering alcoholic as he had attended several Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Although he is occasionally seen at the Presbylutheran church, Mel was retroactively an atheist until the episode "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass," where he converted to religion after watching Ned's home movies depicting Bible stories. He also seemed to have disgust for atheism in spite of his formerly being that, as in "Sky Police", when imagining the worst that could happen if Homer ends up inadvertently blowing their operation to save the church, he imagines alongside the rest of the plotters the destruction of the church and it being replaced with an Atheist Strip Club and reacts with horror and disgust at the idea.


Aside from the bone, Mel has a light blue curly hair in a sort of the beehive-like style similar to Marge's, only shorter and rounded at the top. His hair also appears to be "fashioned/poised/set" in an upward position because it seems to sit atop his head, showing that he has no sideburns or even a hair "tail". Mel perpetually wears a bone in his hair, which may or may not be permanently affixed. He once warned Lisa not to use a bone to try and get gum out of her hair, as he did and it became permanently stuck there.[5] However, he has been seen removing the bone to use it as a weapon during a duel, and to whack at the dome under which Springfield was trapped by the EPA.[6] Bart also took the bone out of his hair to prank Martin Prince, after which Mel was shown to have long flowing hair. Homer also took the bone out of his hair and used it as a murdering weapon. He indicated that he could feel meteorological conditions in the bone, such as incoming storms.[7] Before he got his bone, Mel was famous in both London and Hollywood and was able to comb his hair.

The comic "All Fired Up" reveals that the main purpose of the bone is to hold Mel's hair up in the beehive-like style; if the bone is removed, his hair will drop into a style so beautiful that he gets attacked by a swarm of ladies on sight (something he particularly doesn't like).

IMG 9197

Mel wacking the dome with his bone.


It was revealed in "Bart Gets Famous" that Sideshow Mel was lactose-intolerant when Bart gave him a grilled cheese sandwich.


He may be married to or living with a woman named Barbara, who may or may not be Krusty's sister[8] with whom he wished to purchase a house from Marge Simpson.[9] Mel once complained that Barbara no longer pleasured him with the French Arts.[10] It is revealed that he has at least one child when he says "Krusty, please, my wife is giving birth as we speak." He has also been seen with a son, Warren, a daughter, Becca, and several unnamed children. Mel also has a deceased father, whose funeral he attended shortly before performing at an ice rink with Krusty. He once said his father was a monster.

Mel may be divorced from Barbara or another wife or girlfriend. The papers say he is having a contentious custody battle with the mother of at least one of his children ("Homerazzi").

Barbara was reconfigured/redesigned in Barbara Belfry in the episodes " A Serious Flanders: Part One" and "A Serious Flanders: Part Two", where they are in an open relationship. However, she is not canon.

Krusty reveals to Mel that he has been secretly having an affair with Mel's wife, and that he wants to dump her after 11 years since the thrill is gone.[11]

Other Jobs[]

After Krusty's show was cancelled following the rise of Gabbo, Mel worked at a fast food restaurant where he initially refused Krusty's pleas to return to his show.

He was the jury foreman for the Mona Simpson trial. The jury was sequestered at a Quality Inn which "more than lived up to its name."[12]

In a comic, it is revealed he was a racer and got 15 trophies, and maybe he earned even more.

Behind the Laughter[]

He has his own comic story of how he became a sideshow, where his parents and house are present.


  • He is the first character to get bleeped on the show due to swearing.
  • He is lactose intolerant, as shown in "Bart Gets Famous" when he throws up after accidentally not realizing cheese was on his sandwich.



Sideshow Mel - shading
The full image gallery for Melvin Van Horne may be viewed at Melvin Van Horne/Gallery.


Krusty The ClownKrusty the Clown Show Characters, Locations and Key Episodes
Krusty the Clown | Sideshow Bob | Sideshow Mel | Sophie Krustofsky | Mr. Teeny

Krusty Burger | Clown College | Kamp Krusty
Krusty Gets Busted | Itchy & Scratchy & Marge | Like Father, Like Clown | Kamp Krusty | Krusty Gets Kancelled | Bart Gets Famous | Homie the Clown | Bart the Fink | The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show | The Last Temptation of Krust | Insane Clown Poppy | Day of the Jackanapes | Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington | Today, I Am a Clown | Yokel Chords | All About Lisa | Once Upon a Time in Springfield | The Ten-Per-Cent Solution | Clown in the Dumps | The Nightmare After Krustmas | Fears of a Clown | Krusty the Clown (episode) | The Clown Stays in the Picture | Clown V. Board of Education