Krusty is down on his luck when the show gets cancelled and loses his talent agent. To help him, the Simpsons find a veteran agent, who happened to be his first, Annie Dubinsky (Joan Rivers). Despite their troubled past, Krusty gives Annie another chance. The move to bring the retro style helps revive his show. However, it has downside, Krusty must decide who should help him afterwards, his agent or the network.
Krusty becomes depressed after getting fired from his television show for being unpopular with children. The Simpson family encourages him to make a comeback, suggesting that he seek help from an agent they met earlier at a television museum. This agent turns out to be Annie Dubinsky, who was Krusty's first agent and former girlfriend. Krusty left her when he became successful but now he begs her to take him as a client again. She accepts and together they are able to get him back on television, hosting a show for adults that features his clown tricks. However, Annie soon begins to interfere too much, which frustrates the network executives.
"The Ten-Per-Cent Solution" was written by Dan Castellaneta and his wife Deb Lacusta. American comedian and actress Joan Rivers guest starred in the episode as Annie. In an interview with E! News at that time, Rivers noted that this was not her first animated voice-over role, though it was her biggest one yet.She further added that she is a fan of the show because it is "so clever and so funny on so many levels. So when they called and said, 'Do you want to do it?' without even reading a script I said, 'Absolutely.'" Adam Buckman, a former television columnist at the New York Post, noted on his blog that the story of the episode is similar to a period in Rivers' life at the end of the 1980s. At that time, she was hosting The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers on the Fox network. When Rivers challenged Fox executives who wanted to fire her husband Edgar Rosenberg as the show's executive producer, the network fired them both. Rosenberg committed suicide just three months later. Buckman wrote that the story of "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution" was "no doubt devised with Rivers’ approval and possibly with her input", and that "only a comedian of her stature and experience" would attempt to spoof a personal tragedy such as this one. Other guest stars in the episode include actor Kevin Dillon and stand-up comedian Janeane Garofalo as themselves, and stand-up comedian Jackie Mason in a minor reprisal of his role as Krusty's father Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky , speaking only one line.