The episode: “The Horror of Party Beach,” ep. 817
The riff: Asked quizzically by Servo as some teens motor around in their car, followed by a motorcycle gang. I believe Tom is referring to one wearing a beret.
The explanation: Jacques Brel was a famous Belgian singer-songwriter who is among the most famous lyrical figures in French music. He is considered a major innovator in “Chanson,” which is essentially the art of singing in French. He wasn’t really well known in the U.S., but as a singer he was cited as an inspiration by countless artists, from Neil Diamond to Nirvana.
Novelty factor: I must admit, I’ve never even heard of this guy before. How odd.