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Renowned Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder gives his first major interview – Deadline

The revered and famous loner Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder gave his first major interview after leaving the series almost twenty years ago. In an exclusive interview released today by the New Yorker, Swartzwelder provided insight into his early career and time writing on Fox’s iconic animated sitcom.

Swartzwelder is known to have written some of the Simpsons’ best episodes, writing 59 in his entire career – more than anything by a single personal writer in the show’s history. He is widely regarded as “one of the greatest comedic minds of all time”, his work influencing a generation of comedy writers.

In the interview, the writer recalled his candidacy to work at Late Night with David Letterman in 1983. “I gave him two or three pages of jokes, along with a cover letter, with name, address and phone number. All of this was packaged in a regular letter size envelope, which had the words “Free Jokes inside!” outside. Jim later told me that it was the surprisingly unprofessional nature of the submission that intrigued him enough to open the letter. And he called me right away, ”Swartzwelder said.

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From his time on Saturday Night Live, Swartzwelder recalled a joke he said he always wished he had ever aired. “Tragedy hit the slopes of Mount Rainier this week when a stranded hiker had to eat the people saving him just to stay alive. It made a big laugh in the dress rehearsal, but only one big laugh, from a big guy behind the back. Everyone sat quietly in their seats, waiting for someone to tell them a joke. So it was cut. Too bad, ”Swartzwelder said.

Swartzwelder revealed the process of writing the Simpsons was not aimed at children or adults, but rather to make other writers laugh. He remarked, “Fortunately, a lot of other people, kids and adults alike, liked the same jokes that we liked.”

Of all the episodes Swartzwelder wrote, he named some of his favorite episodes, including “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge, “”Bart the murderer, “”Death dog, “”Homer with the bat, “”Homie the clown, “”Bart gets an elephant, “”Homer’s enemy, “and”Homer against the Eighteenth Amendment. “

Asked about its eternal impact on the Simpsons, Swartzwelder warmly commented that he was grateful that the show’s legacy made viewers at home look at TV writers in a new light. “the Simpsons did something I didn’t think was possible: it got viewers to watch the writers’ credits on TV shows. When I was growing up, we looked at the names of the actors, and maybe the director, but that’s it. Now, a whole generation of viewers not only know writers, but wonder what we really look like in real life. And they want to know what we’re thinking. And look through our windows. It’s progress, in a way, and we have The simpsons to thank him, ”said Swartzwelder.

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