Closet Clown is episode 46a of Rocko's Modern Life. In this episode Ed Bighead, whom normally hates clowns, tries to hide his new secret identity, Ed the Clown.
One evening, a van that's being driven by a clown and his sidekick duck - their act is appropriately titled, ‘Clown and Duck’ - drives peacefully down the quiet streets of O-Town and plays an accompanying tune (a-la an Ice Cream Truck); when suddenly, the van's front driver side tire blows out (colored streamers also oddly fly out of it as well) and the duo stops in front of the Bighead's House to address the problem. As the duo examines the flat tire, we shift focus to inside the Bighead's house; Ed is sitting in his armchair and watching a game on TV, and his wife, Bev, is sitting nearby on their couch and is just finishing up talking with someone over the phone: “What’s that? [chatter] Ok, ok I’ll tell him. [chatter] Alright, you too sissy; bye-bye.” Bev hangs up the phone and tells her husband “Sis sends her love”; Ed, looking and soundly a tad bit grouchy, reminds his wife that she doesn't have a sister. A confused Bev remarks, “Well that’s peculiar.”
Back outside, the clown tries to pump up his van's flat tire with a bicycle air pump and his sidekick looks onward; this doesn't make any progress, but the pump makes a silly honking sound with each pump, and Ed hears this from inside the house. Ed asks his wife if she heard something, she replies “What?”; Ed rebuttals “Did you just say ‘Honk, Honk’?” and Bev replies “I don’t think so.” The clown then tries pumping faster; and while this doesn't make any progress on the tire, it somehow inflates the duck's body (the clown doesn't notice this at first and examines his air pump). Back inside, Ed angrily says out loud that it sounds like a clown, and he - apparently having a hatred for clowns - gets up and walks over to the window to see; a nervous Bev replies “Oh, Ed! Don’t!” Ed peeks out the window and sees the duo and their van and rushes outside to confront them; we shift focus back on the clown, who tries to rapidly pump up the tire once more. Again, this is ineffective, but it somehow inflates the Duck's head; the frustrated clown examines the air pump and takes a quick gander at his inflated partner, and after looking back, he's startled to see his partner's head inflated and stumbles to the front of his van and down onto his bottom where Ed is standing angrily with a rake. Ed asks the clown “Having a little car trouble, Jingles?”; he, apparently mute (or perhaps just acting that way), only smiles back nervously and nods his head as if to say “yes”, and Ed angrily replies “WE DON’T LIKE YOUR KIND AROUND HERE!” The clown's sidekick nervously interjects - trying to clam Ed down - “Look pal, we don’t want any trouble”; Ed replies “SHUT UP, DUCK!” and the duck's inflated head deflates.
Ed angrily goes on, “You people make me sick with your floppy feet, and your…”, but he is interrupted by his wife who shouts from the front door, “Ed! Ed! Why don’t you leave them alone!?” Ed orders Bev to get back inside as he doesn't want her involved; she does as she is told, but not before rebutting “Well, put a sweater on for crying out loud.” Ed turns his attention back toward the clown and his sidekick (“Where was I?”), and the clown attempts to make peace with Ed by making him a balloon animal; Ed looks onward with a cross look on his face, and both the clown and his sidekick look nervously at each other as he forms a balloon into a dog. The clown then offers the finished balloon animal to Ed, smiling nervously at him; this seems to be working as Ed is touched by this peace offering and begins to smile back, but the balloon pops as soon as Ed touches it, infuriating him and spoiling any hopes of making peace. An infuriated Ed then chases the duo with the rake around their van, shouting “WHY YOU SNEEKY, ROTTEN CIRCUS MIME!! TAKE YOU FREAKISH CAR-SHOW BACK TO SCANDINAVIA! BEFORE, BEFORE I, [an exhausted Ed runs out of breath and starts to cough], BEFORE I…” Just then however, the clown sees a bus bound for Norway coming their way, and he holds up a sign and sticks out his thumb (a-la hitchhiking), and gets the bus to stop; and as quick as lightening, the clown and his sidekick jump aboard the bus and they all speed away, leaving both the sign and their van behind. Ed shouts to the duo on the speeding bus, pointing to their van, “HEY!! GET THIS EYESORE OFF MY PROPERTY!” But the duo never comes back for their van, and it stays where it is until the next morning, when a tow truck - driven by a purple male buffalo - comes to take it away; as the caravan finally gets going, a red, round clown nose rolls out through van's passenger side door and bounces over to Ed's feet (making a honking noise with each bounce).
Ed looks down and sees the red nose; he picks it up, briefly examines it, and then mocks the clown by holding up to his face and mocking to himself “Look at me. I’m a clown. I’m a clown.” He then comments to himself “Give me a break, heh!”, and proceeds to toss it into his trash can; but just before he does so, a wave of uncanny curiosity overpowers him and he holds the nose up to his face once again - making sure that no one is looking. He then curiously squeezes the nose, and it makes a loud “HONK!” and a startled Ed makes sure no one heard the noise as he doesn't want anyone to see him trying on the nose - he being a serious businessman, he'd never live it down if anyone saw what he was doing. Bev then walks up to Ed - who is facing the other way, so she doesn't see the clown nose - and gets her husband's attention; a startled Ed turns to his wife and hides the nose behind his back; she asks if the tow truck has come; and Ed nervously replies “Tow truck! Oh-uh yes, yes! It come [stutter and head shake] it came!” Bev replies “That’s good; well, I’m off to see the girls, darling. You have a nice day at work.” Ed stutters back nervously “Right-right-ri, work, yes wor-.” and then smiles back nervously. We then fast forward to later on at the Conglom-O building, where Ed is in a meeting with his superior, Mr. Dupette and a few Conglom-O lizards; this is a rather unusual meeting though as they don't seem to be doing anything productive and are just playing a name game. Mr. Dupette thanks a lizard named Ninamin, and asks to hear from another lizard named Smellings; Smellings stands up and recites “Smellings, mo-mellings, fee-fi-fo-fellings”, and everyone else responds “Smellings.” Mr. Dupette complements Smellings and then asks to hear from a lizard named Heathwood; Heathwood stands up and starts, but he screws up - “Heathwood, fo-farnand; NO, NO WAIT!” - and an irritated Mr. Dupette fires him on the spot and launches him out the window by pushing a green button on the table. Mr. Dupette continues the “meeting” and a disinterested Mr. Bighead holds his head up with his right hand and taps his left fingers on the table; and though Ed is doing his best to follow along, the red clown nose he found remains on his mind. Ed peaks inside his brief case where he put the clown nose (being careful to make sure no one else sees), and a thought bubble with the clown nose appears above his head and a Conglom-O lizard sitting next to him sees this - a startled Ed also sees this and stuffs the thought bubble into his brief case and then twiddles this thumbs. At last, Mr. Dupette dismisses the meeting, and Ed dashes off to quench his tempting curiosity as everyone else packs up.
Ed squirrels away in one of the “Executive Washrooms” - he peaks through the door's window to make sure no one else is around and locks said door - and he goes over to the sinks to try the clown nose in secret; he opens his briefcase, takes the nose out, takes one more brief look around to make doubly sure he's all to himself, and he puts the nose on. While looking at himself in the mirror, Ed begins to honk the nose and put on a goofy smile and demeanor, and he says to himself in a goofy voice “[Chuckle] Hello there, I’m a clown. [Laughter]”. Ed feels he isn't doing it quite right and tries again, putting on an even goofier smile and demeanor: “[Chuckle] Hello everyone! I’m a clown! I’m a clown! I’m a clown! [Laughter]” Just then however, Ed hears a toilet flushing and realizes in embarrassment that he's not alone in the washroom; and making matters worse, the person who flushed the toilet is none other than Mr. Dupette! Without saying anything, though with a lightly irritated look in his face, Mr. Dupette walks over to another sink adjacent to a stiff and mortified Ed, and washes his hands; he then tells Ed to come see him in his office, and walks away - and Ed, deeply embarrassed and fearing the worst, nearly begins to cry! We then fade to a little later on and see Ed in front of his boss's office; he knocks on the door and Mr. Dupette hollers “Come in!” Ed enters and begins to try and explain himself “Mr. Dupette, I…”, but he's immediately interrupted as he's pelted with 2 cream pies in the face and squirted with a seltzer bottle; and we cut to a different angle and see that Mr. Dupette is dressed from top to tow in clown attire and is feeling quite excited to see Ed instead of cross. In a high pitched voiced, he says “A ring-a-ding-ding!”, and a flabbergasted Ed replies: “[Gasp] Mr. Dupette!?” Mr. Dupette dashes over to Ed, jumps into his arms, and says to him “I have a funny feeling about you Bighead!”; he briefly fiddles with Ed's eyes and then dashes back to his desk, and an appropriately confused Ed remarks that he doesn't understand what's going on.
Mr. Dupette offers Ed a seat and excitingly asks him if he's into birthdays, barbecues or bat-mitzvahs; Ed, still slightly confused, replies nervously “Well, I don’t, I don’t know; I never, I never…” Mr. Dupette cuts him off and interjects “Don’t tell me you haven’t gone public yet”; Ed, shocked at the notion that he'd perform something as seemingly mortifying as a clown act in public, rebuttals: “Public!? You, you must be joking!” Mr. Dupette gets on Ed's lap, replies “Do I look like I’m joking to you?” and squirts him with a squirting flower he's wearing. Mr. Dupette clearly sees potential in Ed as a clown and encourages him to accept it as a part of who he is; an uncertain Ed however remarks that he doesn't know how as he feels too afraid. Without another word, Mr. Dupette gets on the phone and books Ed a job as a clown at a real children's birthday party! Ed starts to feel excited at this job, and Mr. Dupette tells Ed to “break a leg” before sending him down a chute in the chair he's sitting in and on his way to the party; Ed, still feeling hesitant to accept the job, remarks on the way down “But, I’m not READYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!” Ed arrives at the household where the party is taking place and rings the doorbell; the front door opens and 7 crying children - 3 cats, 2 beavers, 1 koala and 1 elephant dotting glasses - all dotting party hats run outside and surround ed, and are followed by the matriarch of the household (a weasel) who's carrying three more crying children - 2 cats and a beaver, and also each wearing a party hat - and is feeling quite overwhelmed. She asks in desperation where the clown is, grabs Ed by the suspenders and begs him to “DO SOMETHING!” Ed puts on the clown nose and all the children stop crying; Ed then honks his nose twice and the children begin to cheer, and the matriarch remarks in relief “Oh! Thank heavens!” Ed, in his goofy clown voice, remarks “Hello boys and girls” and follows everyone back inside the house.
We then fade to later on that same evening as the party is ending and Ed is getting ready to leave; he lifts an excited cat child into the air (who cheers in excitement) and places him down gently on the ground and tells him “There you go.” He then tells the children goodnight and they all cheer; the matriarch remarks “Thank goodness for clowns like you!”, Ed then proceeds on his way and replies “My pleasure ma’am.” The matriarch then remarks to Ed “But wait; we never learned your name!”, and Ed nervously replies “My name is Ed” and then enthusiastically adds in “ED THE CLOWN!” With Ed's first clown job a success, Conglom-O puts an ad in the newspaper-
Ed The Clown; Funny - Funny - Funny; Parties - Events; No job too big or too small!
-and Ed comes to embrace at his hidden aptitude for clowning and acquires a full set of clown attire, balloons and other clowning accessories. Ed's new side career takes him to parties, restaurants, grand openings, and other places where clowns usually perform (or not usually perform) - he even learns how to juggle, ride a unicycle and make balloon animals. Nevertheless, he continues to keep his true identity a secret and doesn't tell anyone he knows personally that he's a clown, including his own wife, Bev; but as Ed's new side career keeps him very busy, he has much less time to spend with Bev - he has no time to spend breakfast with Bev and he doesn't get home until way after Bev is already asleep - and she begins to feel lonely and concerned for her husband.
And then one day, Filburt and Dr. Hutchison throw a Birthday Party for their 4 infant children - Gilbert, Shellbert, Norbert and Missy - at their trailer home, and have hired “Ed The Clown” to entertain everyone, unaware he's Mr. Bighead; also at the party are Rocko, Heffer and Bev. As they're all waiting for Ed to arrive, everyone excitingly partakes in the festivities, except a sad and sobbing Bev - who's deeply misses her husband's company and is doing her best to hold back her tears. Bev confides her feelings in Dr. Hutchison, who's eating a slice of birthday cake and not paying enough attention to Bev; Bev briefly stops sobbing and asks Dr. Hutchison if she's listening, and she replies “Aww, that’s the pits Mrs. Bighead.” Dr. Hutchison then excuses herself and walks over to Heffer, who's playing with Missy and singling “The Yellow Rose Of Texas”; but Missy has apparently developed a bad habit of poking people with her hook hand, and she pokes the poor steer in the nose. Heffer hands Missy back to her mother and starts to sob in pain; Dr. Hutchison scoldingly tells her daughter that they'll have to get a scratching post for her, and Missy pokes her own mother in the snout as the doorbell rings. Dr. Hutchison asks Bev to hold Missy while she goes to answer the door, and Bev - though still deeply sad and holding back her tears - accepts and takes Missy from Dr. Hutchison. Bev apologizes to Missy as she doesn't have a nose that Missy can poke, and they both start to cry as Heffer continues crying in pain; fortunately however, the person at the door happens to be Ed in his clown alter-ego, who as arrived just in time to bring much needed cheer to the partygoers. Dr. Hutchison - who doesn't recognize that the clown at the door Bev's husband - shows Ed to the backyard and gets everyone's attention; Ed jumps out and says “Well hello!” in his goofy voice, but he immediately freezes up when he sees that the partygoers consist on his own wife, and his neighbor and his 2 fiends. While they don't recognize it's Mr. Bighead either, a horrified Ed is afraid that they will, and he blacks out and faints as his balloons and 2 eyes pop.
Everyone gasps in shock and the 4 excited infants jump out of everyone else's arms and run over to an unconscious Ed; and Bev sarcastically remarks to Heffer, “Great clown”, as it was apparently he who - as he had attended one of Ed's grand openings - suggested they hire him in the first place. Ed regains consciousness as the 4 infants hover over him and their impatient father remarks “Hey clown, you wanna ‘funny it up’ a little?”; but before Ed can say or do anything else, Missy pokes Ed’s clown nose and inadvertently pulls it off in the process, exposing Mr. Bighead! Missy giggles and runs away with the clown nose (and everyone laughs at this cute little gesture), and Ed orders that she give it back before he realizes that he’s exposed and covers himself in embarrassment. All the other adults except Heffer stop laughing as they shockingly realize the clown is Mr. Bighead; Heffer finds it funny, but Bev gives Heffer a look and he stops laughing and apologizes. A panicking Ed tells everyone “Wait! Wait! I can explain!”; but before he can say anything else, a confused and bewildered Bev remarks to her husband "Ed… You’re a clown!?” A mortified and ashamed Ed walks over and at first tries to defend himself - “I.. I, no I, I’m not a, Well…” - but then faces facts and confesses as he cries tears of shame “Yes! YES! I’m a clown!” and Bev gapes and shakes in shock - everyone else looks at each other and remains silent. But to Ed's surprise, Bev isn't ashamed of her husband, and in both relief and utmost joy, she lovingly hugs her husband tight and says she's so relieved; a confused Ed replies: “Relieved? Y-you’re not ashamed of me?” A slightly confused Bev rebuttals “Ashamed?” and Ed points out “I’m a clown!” Bev lovingly tells her husband that she doesn't care what he is as long as she can continue to enjoy his company as her loving husband, and Ed smiles in the utmost relief as his wife lovingly embraces him once more.
Rocko then explains to Mr. Bighead that he shouldn't be ashamed of being a clown as everyone else also has embarrassing secrets of their own and that it's part of what makes everyone special; Heffer adds in that he sometimes likes to pretend he's a pixie, and Dr. Hutchison adds in that she keeps a baboon heart under her pillow- Filburt asks her “What’s that?” and she replies “Nothing dear.” Filburt also adds in that he wears European style undergarments and blushes; and Rocko goes on “There, you see?” and also adds in that he sometimes likes “rainbows”. Unfortunately for Rocko however, everyone else finds his secret to be “disgusting” and Bev insists that they all “get him” as they all produce rakes! As the other adults all begin to chase the poor wallaby out of the trailer park and down the street, Rocko tries to take back what he said and calm everyone down, but to no avail; and the episode irises out and ends as the 4 infants - too young to understand what's happening - curiously follow everyone from behind.