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Lawrence "Moe" Curls is a circus clown and ringmaster at Berry Big Circus. He took over the ringmaster's position after the murder of the previous ringmaster, Russell Berry. Moe was a witness to said murder.
Life in the circus
A long-time friend of the Berry Big Circus ringmaster Russell Berry, Moe has been part of the Berry Big Circus since it opened in roughly 1997. Berry was good to his employees; when there were no customers he would pay Moe out of his own pocket since he had a family to support.
Moe took his role as the circus's clown very seriously, spending every free moment either practicing his style of physical comedy or studying his reading materials. Both his equipment and room suffered at the hands of his act's theme: "How many ways can a fat funny guy fall down?"
Unfortunately, possibly as a result of his over-zealousness, his wife eventually left him, taking their daughter Larina with her. Also, despite spending so much time working on his act, Moe had not made anyone laugh in a long time. This was mainly due to his extremely bad jokes, which he tried to compensate for by laughing at himself. When the ringmaster took on an egotistical magician called Max Galactica, Moe was amongst those who took a disliking to the newcomer. This was mainly due to Galactica's habit of rubbing people the wrong way, including asking Moe if he was "one of those funny ones, right?"
Moe the witness
- Main article: Turnabout Big Top
At 10 p.m. on the night of Russell Berry's murder, Moe was tired after rehearsals and so Benjamin Woodman walked him back to his room and he went to bed. Suddenly, Moe heard a loud noise, like a thump, and looked out his window to see Berry lying dead across a large wooden box. Next to him, he saw a shadowy figure in a hat and cape that looked very like Max Galactica. The clown was startled when said figure then flew away from the crime scene. Moe offered himself as an eyewitness to the crime and eventually crossed paths with Phoenix Wright, who was defending Galactica in court. Although Wright was unimpressed with Moe's sense of humor, Maya Fey, Wright's assistant, quite enjoyed it. Moe told them partly about what he had seen that night and about Galactica's unpopularity amongst the circus performers.
Before being called as a witness, Franziska von Karma demanded, with her whip, that he not tell the court about the suspect's flight. However, during Moe's actual appearance in court, Wright was able to cast doubt on what Moe had seen that night, so much so that the clown became angry at the court for doubting his memory. His credibility was reduced even further when he was forced to reveal that he had seen Galactica fly away from the crime scene.
Wright was later able to prove what had really happened that night. What Moe had actually seen was merely a bust of Galactica. Russell had grabbed Galactica's stage coat on his way out from a meeting with the magician and put it on. When he was hit with the bust, the cape flew off him, and got stuck on it. Because it was dark outside, and the silhouette was clear, Moe thought he had seen Galactica himself.
What added to this illusion was that the "Max" he saw began to fly up into the air. This cast immediate suspicion onto Galactica. It eventually turned out that the bust was being pulled up into the air by the real murderer, Acro, who had no knowledge of the cape sticking to the bust, nor of Moe witnessing it, because he could not look down from his window.
Upon the resolution of the case, Moe took over as the circus's ringmaster and lead it on a worldwide tour. At some point before March 2019, he split the circus into various specialized independent departments, which included animal taming (led by Regina Berry), ventriloquism, and magician departments.
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Moe is a classic example of a man hiding his sadness behind laughter. At first, he seems to be a happy and immature man who constantly makes bad jokes. However, he quickly becomes sad at the mention of his daughter, Larina, who lives with his estranged wife and so he doesn't see her often. He also suddenly becomes serious if the ringmaster or Bat come up in conversation.
Moe takes his job as a clown very seriously. He practices falling down 100 times every night to perfect his breakfall after slipping on a banana peel and his desk is crammed full of joke and clown books, which he claims to spend every free moment studying or reading. His room also has a large collection of clown costumes, even sleeping in one and stating that, aside from a single T-shirt, all his clothes are clown costumes. Moe's theme as a clown is "How many ways can a fat funny guy fall down?" and the numerous broken props in his room are a testament to this. He even punched a hole through his ceiling while on a pogo stick.
Moe's jokes are so bad that he claims to have not made anyone laugh in a long time. To cheer himself up, he laughs at his own jokes. When under pressure, he tends to ramble. Maya seems to have appreciated his brand of humor. He also has another side to his personality; when the judge insulted his memory and eyesight during his court appearance he responded angrily, accusing the judge of thinking he was better than him and, in fact, acting generally rather childishly.
Carrots are his theme and he eats about five a day for his act. He is constantly changing the type he uses. Maya Fey guessed that the reason for this is that he believes in a carrot and no stick approach, putting the carrot out for motivation and judging what flavor he wants each day. Moe completely agreed with this, praising her for paying attention during his show. Phoenix Wright, on the other hand, found the entire conversation baffling.
His eyesight is a perfect 20/20 or, as he put it, "like a hawk from [his] left eye, and an eagle out of [his] right eye". He also knows pi to 30 decimal places, as demonstrated during one of his panicked rambles after being whipped by von Karma. His nose reminds him of his Italian heritage and is a sore topic for him..
Moe is the one responsible for all the circus animals' names, including Money the Monkey and Regent the Tiger. However, the ringmaster was the one responsible for Léon the Lion's name after pointing out that Moe's choice for the big cat, "Lyin' the Lion", was "awful".
The clown is apparently also quite the burger cook and uses quality beef, toasted buns, and special sauce for his creations. He even has his own special "Moe Moo Burgers", which are "beefy burgers filled with laughs and a sauce that tastes like [his] jokes". Wright thought this meant that they left just as bad of a taste in the mouth as his poor puns did.
- His Japanese names "Matsuo Tomida" (富田松夫) and "Tommy" (トミー), are a reference to a Japanese comedy duo known as "Tommy and Matsu".
- "Moe" and "Lawrence Curls" are references to the comedy act The Three Stooges, who most famously consisted of "Moe", "Larry", and "Curly". The English nickname for Lawrence is Larry, Curls could refer to Curly, and Moe is his stage name.
- His French stage name "Frisé" means "curled", and his real name "Jeff Rizet" comes from "J'ai frisé", which means "I curled". These are both likely meant to be in reference to his hair.
- The mouth on Moe's hat changes to match his facial expression.
- In the English and Spanish versions of the game, Moe, upon being whipped by Franziska von Karma during his testimony, starts to recite a clown-themed version of the opening sequence/theme song for the 1990's sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This is cut short when he is whipped further by von Karma. Curiously, the Spanish version does not refer to any Spanish dub of the show, but instead uses a different section of the English version translated into Spanish.
- At another point Moe once again panics, except this time it is the opening of the 1980's action/adventure show The A-Team that gets recited, with a clown twist. For example, the name of the team is changed to the "C-Team", with the "C" likely meant to stand for "clown". Moe's rambling is once again cut short by von Karma's whip.
- "Moe: Ah!
Maya: What's the matter?
Moe: Whenever I see my own nose I am reminded of my Italian heritage...
Maya: Ahhhh... I see...
Maya: It must be because you have one of those "Roman Noses"... Roamin' all over your face.
Maya: I didn't cross the line there did I?
Phoenix: You went so far past it, you'll need a map to get back!"
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All. Capcom. Episode: Turnabout Big Top (in English). 2005.
- (2009). "The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney". UDON. ISBN 1-897376-19-7.