The Simpsons's longest-serving writer/producer Mike Reiss celebrates the 30th anniversary of the longest running show in TV history and shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family. He talks about his early days writing for the Harvard Lampoon and why Lampoon alums make up half the writers rooms in Hollywood. He recalls working on The Tonight Show, how his only meeting with Johnny Carson was just like being a guest on his show, and a Carnac joke taught him that there’s just no science to comedy. He discusses coming on board the first episode of The Simpsons, why Fox had little faith in the first primetime cartoon since The Flintstones, and why The Simpsons became a cultural phenomenon right out of the gate. He reveals that Simpsons characters are just bad impersonations of old movie stars, how the writers add special guest roles into the script just to meet their childhood heroes, and Mike shares a few of favorite celebrity guests and some of the ones that got away. He talks about the fans' love/hate relationship with the show, some of the crazier conspiracy theories swirling around The Simpsons, and the show's complicated relationship with Seth McFarlane's Family Guy. Plus Mike Reiss tells me which countries have actually banned and even sued The Simpsons and how his own popular children's book got boycotted by the Texas Board of Education.
Order Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons on Amazon or Audible. Watch The Simpsons every Sunday night on Fox and follow Mike Reiss on Twitter at @MikeReissWriter. Today's podcast is sponsored by Michelin Premiere Tires and Dollar Shave Club.
New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff talks about the surprisingly patrician upbringing of Robin Williams, his time studying to be a serious actor at Julliard, and Robin's early influences as a comedian. Dave reveals how Star Wars helped Williams land the role of Mork the Ork, and why his shenangigans on Mork and Mindy might have landed him in hot water in the age of #MeToo. He discusses Robin’s gradual evolution as a movie star, and why Hollywood didn’t really know what to do with him at first. Dave shares how John Belushi’s overdose scared Robin Williams straight, what eventually caused him to fall back into addiction some 20 years later, and how a rare disease led to his tragic suicide. Plus Dave Itzkoff recalls his own favorite personal encounters with the comedian, and why Robin always wanted to give total strangers what he called “an authentic Robin Williams experience.”
Order Dave Itzkoff's book Robin on Amazon or Audible. Read more by Dave Itzkoff in the New York Times and follow Dave on Twitter at @ditzkoff. Today's podcast is sponsored by The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah: Ears Edition, LegalShield, and Dollar Shave Club.
The cast and creator of THE DEATH OF STALIN talk about mining one of Russia’s darkest chapters for comedy and some of absurd but true stories that make into THE DEATH OF STALIN. Writer/director Armando Ianucci (VEEP, THE THICK OF IT) talks about how fighting ruthless authoritarians is a family tradition for him, why Russian officials think his movie is part of a western plot destabilize that country, and why the creator of VEEP is finally ready to give politics a break for a while.
Steve Buscemi (BOARDWALK EMPIRE, RESERVOIR DOGS, FARGO) discusses playing Nikita Kruschev in THE DEATH OF STALIN, his early career in standup comedy, how he says Stalin’s inner circle was more like The Three Stooges, and why his old AOL account is the best insurance against Russia hackers. Andrea Riseborough (BIRDMAN, OBLIVION)who portrays Svetlana Stalina talks about the illusive relationship between the ruthless dictator and his daughter and some of her favorite British comedies.
THE DEATH OF STALIN opens in theaters on Friday, March 9. For more information, visit www.DeathOfStalin.co.uk or www.ifcfilms.com. Today’s podcast was sponsored by Grasshopper, ZQuiet, Hulu's The Looming Tower, Google Cloud Platform Podcast, and the VMWare Executive Perspective Podcast.
Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers are the creators, show-runners, and executive producers of AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, and today they talk about the real stories and personalities that inspired them to create the fictional series about the personal computer revolution that came out of the Texas "Silicon Prairie" in the 1980's.
We discuss the constant tug of war between the programmers and the visionaries in the tech industry and which Steve they'd rather be (Wozniak or Jobs). They hint at what we can expect in season 3 including moving the show's setting to Silicon Valley and a shift in focus from the PC boom to the birth of the internet. Plus, our collective love of dysfunctional 80's robots.
Be sure to watch the 2-hour season premiere of Halt and Catch Fire at 9PM Eastern on Tuesday (8/23) on AMC. For more information, visit www.AMC.com. You can follow Chris Cantwell on Twitter at @ifyoucantwell and Chris Rogers at @CCR.
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