"I'd like to think that 'The Simpsons' made popular culture smarter and that it actually encouraged people to look things up."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Al Jean discusses his decision to become a comedy writer. He recalls his first professional writing job for the feature film "Airplane 2", and speaks of his first television job writing jokes for The Tonight ShowStarring Johnny Carson. He chronicles writing for several television shows in the '80s, including HBO's Not Necessarily the News, ALF, Charles in Charge, It's Garry Shandling's Show and Sledge Hammer!. He describes becoming involved with The Simpsons and establishing the show's characters and tone during its early years. He delves into the rich history of the show, explains how it has developed and changed over the years, and shares how the writers keep it fresh. Jean speaks of leaving The Simpsons to create the animated series The Critic with Jon Lovitz and returning to The Simpsons when that show didn't work out. He discusses writing animated series for the web and concludes by discussing his advice to aspiring writers and where he sees himself in the future. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on March 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.