O’Brien, Jean, Reiss, Kogen and Martin

Cartoon Writers

“Cartoons have writers?” – Bart Simpson
“Enh, sort of.” – Lisa Simpson

The 81 minute roundtable discussion Conan O’Brien hosted with Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen, and Jeff Martin is now live on O’Brien’s website.  (I couldn’t get the embedding to work here on WordPress.)  I must warn you: it is very addictive.  I started it thinking I’d watch a few minutes and then come back to it tonight when I had more time.  Nope.  Watched it straight through my lunch. 

As a Simpsons fan, it’s a must-see.  They talk about the origins of the show, joke about specific memories and episodes, and generally just crack each other up.  It’s funny from start to finish, and at one point O’Brien puts this picture up:

Simpsons Writers Clockwise from lower left: John Swartzwelder, David M. Stern, Mike Reiss, Conan O’Brien, Jeff Martin, Jon Vitti, Matt Groening, George Meyer, Al Jean (facing away from camera). Jean joked that this was a Potemkin village photo in that they brought in all the cutouts and cleaned the place up. 

There’s a lot of great stuff in here, but for now just let me note that at the 28:00 minute mark, Kogen says, “I remember when the show was at it’s, well, it’s still at it’s height.”  Heh.  Caught himself midsentence.

5 Responses to “O’Brien, Jean, Reiss, Kogen and Martin”

  1. 1 Smithers
    17 April 2013 at 4:34 pm

    That’s right…just wave and smile…everybody’s happy.

  2. 2 Stan
    17 April 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Dare I denote that there is no apostrophe in “its”… Nah.

  3. 3 Jeff
    18 April 2013 at 10:10 pm

    The actor that they mention who originally played Moe and Mr. Burns (who’s performance was never aired) is Christopher Collins, a.k.a Chris Latta. He’s most famous for playing Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe and Starscream in The Transformers.
    There’s video of him doing stand-up comedy here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqPCT9vwhdg

  4. 4 abra cadaver
    23 April 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Love that picture, it is rally cool ho everyone is posing; you can tell a LOT aboutm their personalities just based on that poicture… the wirey Conan is about to jump out of his chair and explode, he’s on the edge of his seat…. Swartzwleer isn’t facing te camera at all and is putting a cigarette out in his ashtray and has a cup of coffee and it looks like he has an Al Bundy-esque hand-down-pants thing going on… George Meyer looks like he’s meditating before he spouts off with 500 brilliant jokes in a row (or he’s just sleeping, probably exhausted from COMING UP WITH 500 jokes in a row!)… Al Jean is all business… Groening is the only guy there with his arms folded, which can suggest a thousand different things, mostly just impatience, like ‘hey, I’m posing in this photo so people will think I write for this show, hurry up and take that photo goddammit! I need to draw bunnies!!!!!!’

    This Conan thing was brilliant. All 80 minutes. Almost too good. Really makes me wonder why n the flying fuck have they not done something like this on a DVD before… Anyways, I downloaded it off of the tube and burnt it to DVD so I’ll have it forever, no matter what happens…. to get it in decent quality .mp4, it was only about 600mb.. not bad, not bad. Have a newfound respect for Kogen, who says “Family Guy is artless”, “Tracey Ullman is a bitch”, and says “Simpsons is a loss leader for Fox” … hilarious guy.

    Great stuff.

  5. 5 Cal
    26 April 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks for posting the video. I love the photo of the writers. It would be cool if that German TV special they mentioned is available online since I’d watch footage of the classic Simpsons writers working, even if it’s just them sitting around thinking and tossing out the occasional joke.

    I wonder if Jeff Martin is still writing for TV. He wrote some of my favorite episodes but his Imdb page doesn’t list anything since 2007.

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