The truth about the legendary alleged Michael Jackson appearance on The Simpsons

It’s a debate that’s raged for a couple of decades. Was that really an uncredited Michael Jackson appearance on The Simpsons back on September 19, 1991?

To recap. In an episode called “Stark Raving Dad,” Homer is accidentally sent to a mental institution where his roommate is a large white man named Leon Kompowsky. Leon seems to think that he’s actually Michael Jackson. And damn, he sure sounds like him. But was it MJ?

The answer is both “yes” and “no.”

To be fair, this whole controversy was settled back in 2003 in the commentary on a Simpsons DVD compilation. But never mind. Show creator Matt Groening has laid it out all again in an interview.

The story goes like this. One night, Groening received a phone call from Jackson saying that he loved Bart and would love to contribute to the show in some way. Arrangements were made and Jackson did come in to voice Leon’s speaking parts.

However, due to a variety of legal obligations, Jackson was prohibited from singing on The Simpsons. That means this is someone else singing to Lisa. In this case, the singer is Kipp Lennon, who we also singing other songs through the years, including in the episode “Flamin’ Moe’s.”

Jackson’s name doesn’t appear in the credits, either. All we have is the name John Jay Smith.

Glad we settled that once and for all.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38031 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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