"Today in writers' rooms on sitcoms they require three jokes per page; they have checkmarks on the pages of how many jokes there are. I don't buy it. I don't think the audience cares about it, and I don't think it's good writing. 'Sam' and 'Diane' going at it for three pages where it's subtext and the audience knows there's going to be a pay off is great TV, but no one does it anymore."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Sam Simon (1955-2015) talks about growing up in Beverly Hills, and shares tales of his early encounters with the likes of Elvis Presley and Groucho Marx. He describes his first show business jobs in animation, drawing for Bill Cosby's Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and for other Filmation animated series. He chronicles breaking into sitcoms by writing a spec script for Taxi, which got produced and led to a job on the show's writing staff. Simon recounts his time as a writer and showrunner on Cheers, discusses the various personalities involved with creating and producing the show, and explains what he feels made the show a success. He outlines his time as a consultant for It's Garry Shandling's Show, as well as for The Tracey Ullman Show. He speaks of being writer, producer, and showrunner for The Simpsons in its early years, and gives his opinion on what has made the show a cultural phenomenon. He recalls various other projects, such as consulting for The Drew Carey Show, creating his poker show Sam's Game, and working with the animal rights organization, PETA. Karen Herman conducted the interview on April 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.