Posts Tagged ‘Harry Shearer


Quote of the Day

“Smithers! I want my tea!” – C.M. Burns
“Doesn’t it bother you that he orders you around like that?” – Marge Simpson
“Oh, actually, I value every second we’re together. From the moment I squeeze his orange juice in the morning til I tuck him in at night. He’s not just my boss. He’s my best friend, too.” – Mr. Smithers
“Bah! Too hot!” – C.M. Burns
“You’re right, sir. It’s scalding me as we speak.” – Mr. Smithers

Happy Birthday, Harry Shearer!


Makeup Quote of the Day

“Ice to see you.” – McBain

Happy (belated) birthday, Harry Shearer!


Quote of the Day


“Ninety seconds to core meltdown.” – SNPP Computer Voice
“Sir, there may never be another time to say: I love you, sir.” – Mr. Smithers
“Oh, hot dog. Thank you for making my last few moments on Earth socially awkward!” – C.M. Burns

Happy birthday, Harry Shearer!


Quote of the Day

Mother Simpson18

“My germs!  My precious germs!  They never harmed a soul!  They never even had a chance!” – C.M. Burns

Happy birthday Harry Shearer!


Please Stop With the $14 Million Number

The Old Man and the Lisa17

“If I’d spent my life listening to Dismal Doras like you, I wouldn’t be worth two-hundred-million dollars today.” – C.M. Burns
“But according to your most recent biography, you only have one-hundred-million dollars today.” – Lisa Simpson
“I’ve ha-, . . . I’ve . . . ” – C.M. Burns
“Um, actually, sir, it’s, uh, considerably less than that.” – Mr. Smithers

A nice, headline grabbing number, preferably with a dollar sign next to it, is a well known pageview booster.  So let this be my usual renewal related reminder that there is no creditable public information on what the current or past salaries of the Simpsons voice actors are/were.  Back before the 2011 renewal, the widely cited figure was $400,000 per episode.  After that it came down somewhat to $300,000 (though I saw it mentioned as low as $200,000).  Now, thanks to the feckless morons at CNN Money (a backwater in an already grossly negligent and irresponsible news outfit), the current deal is being touted at $7,000,000 per year, or $318,182 per episode:

‘Simpsons’ Mr. Burns walking away from $14 million deal

What is their source for that eye catching number?  You’ll be shocked (shocked, I tell you!) to learn it’s an anonymous source:

The actor was offered a guaranteed $14 million for two years of work, according to someone with direct knowledge of the matter.

Okay, sometimes people don’t want to go on record, and that’s okay.  That factual information reaches the public is supposed to be the important part, right?  Well, here’s the kicker:

“To me, the deal he rejected would be the dream of a lifetime for the rest of the world,” the source said.

That’s not information.  That’s spin.  Moreover, it almost certainly marks this source as someone at FOX since s/he’s painting Shearer as walking away from “the dream of a lifetime for the rest of the world”, that ungrateful bastard.

Shearer himself has said in the past that the reported salary numbers are inaccurate, and I’m far more inclined to believe him than some nameless insider who feeds bullshit like that to CNN Money.  Remember, Shearer and the rest of the cast are forbidden from discussing what they’re actually paid, so FOX and their anonymous flacks have a free hand to inflate the numbers and paint the cast as greedy jackasses, and CNN Money is only too happy to help them do it.

Shoddy information coming from CNN is nothing new, of course.  The real problem is that people repeat these numbers so many times that they seem credible even when transparent horseshit like the above link is the only basis for it.  It’s happening already:


And it’s not just Simpsons or entertainment related outlets that unquestioningly repeat this.  The Chicago Tribune already picked it up, and I even saw it on freaking Slashdot.

So, pretty please, with sugar on top, remember that you don’t know how much money the Simpsons voice actors make.  I don’t know how much the Simpsons voice actors make.  And the business/entertainment press for damn sure doesn’t know how much the Simpsons voice actors make.


Rumor Control: Harry Shearer (Possibly/Probably) Leaving Zombie Simpsons

Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song15

“Nobody’s mentioned me, have they?” – Principal Skinner
“I thought I heard someone say your name in the cafeteria, but they might have been saying ‘skim milk’.” – Bart Simpson

The internet is full of reports that Harry Shearer will not be doing voices for the recently announced two season renewal.  This being the internet, the certitude of the headlines ran a bit ahead of the actual information.  Here are the facts:

1.  Over the last couple of days, TMZ (I know, gross) reported that Shearer was not on board with the most recent renewal.

2.  Late last night (though since I think he’s in Britain it might have been morning for him), Shearer tweeted the following:

from James L. Brooks’ lawyer: “show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.”. (1/2)

This because I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best. (2/2)

Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support.

Shearer subsequently turned down a couple of media interview requests.

3.  That was followed a couple of hours later by Jean tweeting:

.@TheSimpsons #everysimpsonsever The show will go on, made by people who love it and see in it the most wonderful vehicle for satire ever.

@simpsonswiki @TheSimpsons recast if Harry does not return. No yellow wedding.

Jean was very active, replying to people and generally doing his job as the public face of the show.

4.  A couple of hours later, James L. Brooks replied (also on Twitter):

Hey, we tried. We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.

5.  After speaking with a couple of media outlets, Jean did a quick interview with Entertainment Weekly in which he said that they were still hoping to work things out, but that if Shearer was out the door, they would recast his parts, probably with multiple people.  As to the question of why, he gave a round-about answer (bold italics are mine):

What is that period of time? Weeks? Well, it’s pretty vague because we have seven holdover [episodes] that Harry did in the fall, so there’s a big period of time. Obviously, we just want to know what he wants. We’ve rededicated ourselves this season to making the show better and not just saying, ‘Okay, we’re just happy for the pickup.’ We really care about it and everybody’s coming to more [table reads] and doing more on the show, so if he’d like to be a part of that, we’d love him. And if not, we’d like to know and then we’ll go another way.

Would you describe yourself as hopeful then that this could be resolved? I have no idea. I didn’t know he was going to tweet last night. That was very surprising. And the tweets were confusing because he had an offer. It wasn’t like we didn’t offer him a substantial thing. No. 2, he mentioned that he wanted to do outside projects. Everybody on the show does lots of outside projects. He actually gets to record on the phone and do the [table] reads on the phone. So we’ve never kept him from doing that stuff. So that’s one confusion I had. For the last several years, he’s done reads on the phone. He doesn’t always participate. We’ve excused him for several and he records, as long as it’s done in time, when it’s convenient for him. So it’s not a scheduling thing and he says it’s not a money thing, so I’m not sure what he’s thinking.

So, all the sturm und drang aside, all that appears to have happened is that, through a couple of unexpected tweets, Shearer broke off a negotiation and dropped a big, steaming PR shitpile in the collective lap of Jean, Brooks, and FOX.

What does all this mean?  Well, it could end up meaning nothing.  This isn’t the first time Shearer has been unhappy in public during negotiations for renewal.  In the linked interview, Jean was deliberately cagey about how long they could go on without Shearer, but based on what we know about production schedules, it could easily be months before they’d actually need him to record new episodes.  If they announce new cast members, that’d probably mean it’s a done deal, but I’d guess we’re a ways away from that.

There are, however, a couple of circumstantial pieces of evidence that this isn’t a public negotiating ploy on Shearer’s part and does indeed mean he’s leaving the show.  The first and biggest is that the other five main cast members have already signed.  Jean makes it clear in that interview that Shearer has been given the same offer the rest of them already took, so even just negotiating with him at this point would upset a deal that already took them months longer than usual to reach.

There’s also the fact that Shearer has never actually called it quits before.  He’s needled the show and ragged on FOX, but to my knowledge he’s never said he was done.

Finally, there are Jean’s highlighted comments above.  If it’s true that they’ve “rededicated” themselves and want more active participation from people, Shearer might not want the hassle.  He’s been content to (literally) phone it in these last few years, but he values his time a lot more than a few extra million bucks he may never spend anyway, so why bother?  He knows damn well the show is a shadow of itself, and if everyone’s just there for the money and he doesn’t need the money . . . well, that may be all she wrote.

Whatever his specific reasons, at the moment the safest assumption is that Harry Shearer will not be a member of the cast for the UABF production run.  If that holds, the last episode with his voice will be broadcast next season, probably in November or December.  We’ll see what happens, but unlike the renewal that always seemed like it was going to get done, this is uncharted territory.


Quote of the Day

Homer the Smithers11

“This novelty foam hand is ludicrously oversized.  Go swap it for a smaller one.” – C.M. Burns
“It is a bit ostentatious, sir.  I’ll be right back.” – Mr. Smithers

Happy birthday Harry Shearer! 


Quote of the Day

Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 1i

“Sir, have you had enough exercise for this morning?” – Mr. Smithers
“No.  Let’s go another twenty miles.” – C.M. Burns

Happy birthday Harry Shearer!


Quote of the Day

Mother Simpson9

“Well that nice lady set the cause of biological warfare back thirty years!” – C.M. Burns
“We’re only now finally caught up.” – Mr. Smithers

Happy birthday Harry Shearer!


Quote of the Day

Subtle Flattery

“I’ve never seen such an obvious attempt to curry my favor.” – C.M. Burns
“Fabulous observation, sir.  Just fabulous.” – Mr. Smithers

Happy birthday Harry Shearer! 


Quote of the Day

Blood Feud4

“Mr. Burns is suffering from what we medical men call hypohemia.  In layman’s terms, it’s quite simply a lack of blood.” – Dr. Hibbert
“Damn it doctor, I’m no idiot, I know what hypohemia is!  What I want to know is what can we do about it?” – Mr. Smithers
“Well, at this point our only hope is a transfusion.” – Dr. Hibbert
“How long does it take to sterilize a needle?” – Mr. Smithers
“A few seconds.” – Dr. Hibbert
“Well skip it!  Just leave me enough to get home!” – Mr. Smithers

Happy birthday Harry Shearer!


Simpsons Alumni Update: Lovitz & Shearer Interviews

Two quick alumni updates for you:

1)  Lovitz takes his show on the road – with a stop in Calgary – This is an extensive Calgary Herald interview with Jon Lovitz about three nights of standup he’s doing there this weekend.  This makes me sad that we missed another season or two of The Critic:

Arguably, Lovitz’s finest post-SNL moment came in 1994-95 with his animated series, The Critic, in which he voiced the lead role of movie critic Jay Sherman. The Critic got off to a shaky start on the ABC network but things were looking up for the show when it was picked up by FOX and programmed following The Simpsons on Sunday nights.

The Critic’s ultimate cancellation still baffles Lovitz to this day.

"We retained 90 per cent of The Simpsons’ audience, and The Simpsons’ ratings were way higher then than they are now. . . . People loved it. They watched it. . . . It was a hit. And they cancelled it anyway. I don’t know why. . . .

"That’s showbiz. There’s no rhyme or reason sometimes."

2)  Q&A With Harry Shearer: Voice of The Simpsons Speaking Up for New Orleans – Via Defend New Orleans comes an even longer interview with Harry Shearer.  With the exception of the sweet photo montage of Shearer with all of his Simpsons characters, there isn’t a lot of entertainment content here.  (It is a cool image though.)  But if you feel like finding out once again how obtuse and scientifically illiterate the American media is, this is pure heroin.  Also, Shearer rules.  But you knew that already.


Simpsons Alumni Update: Harry Shearer (He Just Won’t Stop!)

Harry Shearer’s documentary about how Katrina and the Army Corps of Engineers fucked New Orleans will be going to theaters one night only: Monday August 30th.  Trailer:

Local show times all across the US can be found here.  Give ’em hell, Harry.


Simpsons Alumni Update: Harry Shearer (Yet Again)

Harry Shearer went on the local New York FOX affiliate’s morning program yesterday to flog his new album, “Greed and Fear”.  It contains humorous songs about the recession, one of which you can listen to on YouTube.  The FOX affiliate’s website has video of his four minute appearance here

Far and away the best part is when he does a couple of Simpsons voices over the halfhearted yet squirming objections of the eminently replaceable local FOX morning people.  It starts around the 2:15 mark of the video.  The hostess implies that he’s not allowed to do any of the voices and he then proceeds to do Burns and Smithers.  She then, as if this would do anything but encourage him, mentions that he’s under contract not to do those things.  She’s laughing all through this, but it’s a nervous laugh and you you can tell she’s at least a little skittish about violating FOX rules like that.  Hi-larious. 

The only piece of Simpsons news, and it’s not really that, is comes when Generic FOX Morning Guy asks about a sequel to the movie and he calls it “inevitable”.  But then points out that the actors are the last to know. 


Bonus Quote of the Day


“It’s me sir, Bobo!  Hug me, squeeze me, tug at my fur.” – Mr. Smithers
“Enough!  Stop this grotesque charade.  Now find my teddy.  Oh, and uh, leave the costume.” – C.M. Burns

Happy birthday Harry Shearer! 


Simpsons Alumni Update: Harry Shearer (Again)

At this rate Harry Shearer is going to wear out our “Simpsons Alumni” category, but I guess you can’t keep a funny man down.  Besides, there’s simply too much awesome in this interview to just bury it in tomorrow’s Reading Digest.  In it he talks about why liberal talk radio can’t get a foothold, the processes of comedy, and his upcoming documentary about Hurricane Katrina (which he hopes to have ready in time for the fifth anniversary next year).

The whole thing is a fun read, but two quotes jumped out at me.  In reverse order (bold mine to denote questions):

It’s all dandy until you get censor notes from the network.

Funny, in the “Unplugged” Spinal Tap Tour last spring, during one of the comedy parts of the show, Michael McKean had gotten a hold of the censor notes from NBC of what they would have to do to show “This Is Spinal Tap” on NBC — and he reads them out. That stuff is always funny. There was a legendary book an old gag writer named Leonard Stern wrote, he worked for Jackie Gleason and Steve Allen and those guys, and I think he worked on “My Favorite Martian.” The script note he got from the network one day, next to a particular line, became the title of his book. And the note was, “a Martian wouldn’t say this.” You just can’t do better than that.

A friend of mine saw that show and said the reading of the NBC censor list was funny as hell.  Wish I’d gone.  Also, this sent my heart aflutter:

How would you rate the current writing on “The Simpsons”?

Umm, no comment.

You don’t need to comment, Mr. Shearer; we’ll do it for you.


Simpsons Alumni Update: Harry Shearer Podcast

Harry Shearer was on this podcast last week (via).  His interview starts right at the 30:00 mark and goes for quite awhile.  There’s a lot of interesting info and it’s worth a listen, but here are some of the highlights:

  • He knew Mel Blanc when he was a child actor.
  • He does some Lovejoy and Flanders commentary about Marge in Playboy.
  • Said doing the table read with Michael Jackson (at Jackson’s manager’s house) was one of the most awkward moments ever.  Castellaneta was stuck in traffic but Jackson was right on time and instead of goofing off or chit chatting everyone just sat there in perfect silence until Castellaneta showed up.
  • Tactfully declines to discuss the current quality of the show, and implies that these comments were meant to be private.  I don’t doubt that some things can get said in the heat of negotiations that one may later want to retract but, and this may just be me reading too much into this, he sure sounds like he thinks the show’s gone downhill.  Shortly after that, in discussing how Hollywood in general has changed over his career, he laments that shows now have huge numbers of writers when once upon on time it was just a few funny people.  Hmmmmm.
  • He says he’s never watched an episode of Family Guy and jokes that it’s against the religion of Simpsons people to watch it.  Then a little later he drops the bomb that people on the Simpsons have always thought Family Guy was originally created as a low cost replacement for The Simpsons timeslot and hence there’s some resentment.  Hard to tell how serious he’s being, but at least on the surface that does make sense.

15 November Edit: Had the links backwards, they’re fixed now.


Simpsons Alumni Update: Harry Shearer

Shearer has created an art installation called The Silent Echo Chamber (hee hee).  I’ll let The Columbus Dispatch explain:

The installation — previously shown in Chicago; New York; and Ridgefield, Conn. — features news feeds of politicians, TV hosts and commentators captured in the moments before going on live television. They fidget with microphones, scratch, adjust clothing and watch themselves on monitors.

The vignettes, shown on a continuous loop, are from the 2008 presidential campaign and include candidates Barack Obama and John McCain; and James Carville, Anderson Cooper, David Gergen, Sean Hannity, Larry King and Henry Kissinger, among others.

It’s on display through January in Columbus, OH. 


Spinal Tap vs. The Lego Lawyers

The Otto Show2

“We salute you, our half-inflated Dark Lord!” – Derek Smalls

Simpsons all-star, and American Hero, Harry Shearer is also, of course, a member of Spinal Tap.  They went on tour this summer and they were using footage from this YouTube video in their show:

Now Lego is balking at letting them use it on the DVD:

As final editing was being done on a concert DVD of the tour, which included footage from the video projected on stage, Lego declined to grant permission to use its figures, which are protected by copyright.
“We love that our fans are so passionate and so creative with our products,” said Julie Stern, a spokeswoman for Lego Systems, the United States division of the Lego Group, a Danish company founded in the 1930s. “But it had some inappropriate language, and the tone wasn’t appropriate for our target audience of kids 6 to 12.”

As final editing was being done on a concert DVD of the tour, which included footage from the video projected on stage, Lego declined to grant permission to use its figures, which are protected by copyright.

“We love that our fans are so passionate and so creative with our products,” said Julie Stern, a spokeswoman for Lego Systems, the United States division of the Lego Group, a Danish company founded in the 1930s. “But it had some inappropriate language, and the tone wasn’t appropriate for our target audience of kids 6 to 12.”

First, who waits until they’re 6 to play with Legos?  Second, Legos have been around for decades in more or less their current form.  Most of the people who’ve used them are adults and most of the people who buy them are adults.  It stopped being an exclusively kid franchise a long time ago and trying to protect it as one is stupid.  By the logic stated above, Lego is worried that parents, who very likely used Legos when they were kids, won’t buy Legos for their own kids because all the fun they had as a kid has been negated by someone’s YouTube video.  That is epic, slow-clap worthy, stupid right there.

It’s really too bad because the video is sweet and the the Derek Smalls Lego guy is awesome.  Also, the YouTube user account account is “BortMcClinenburg” and there are a couple of other Spinal Tap Lego videos there, including “Lick My Love Pump“.

“Are you linking to me?”

“No, my YouTube account is also named Bort.”


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