Mike Scully

AT&T Worldnet Chat, March 8, 2000

MODERATOR: Welcome to the AT&T WorldNet(R) Community Port(sm) Chat, Mr. Scully, we're very excited to have you here today. How are you doing?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Great.

Doe Berrick: The simpsons has been on for 11+ years, how many more years do you think the show will last for?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I've stopped predicting. My old prediction was season #9, then season #10. I think we'll keep going until America gets sick of us.

alge12: Have the same people been the voices of Homer and Bart Simpson since the series started??

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Yes.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Dan Castellaneta is Homer and Nancy Cartwright is Bart. Dan also does the voices of Grandpa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby, Sideshow Mel, Barney and either Itchy or Scratchy. I forget which one.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Nancy also does the voices of Ralph Wiggum and Nelson Muntz.

MODERATOR: Here's a question about your pre-Simpsons life...

MikeGibb: I think you wrote some stand-up material before the Simpsons, has the quick and witty style that requires influenced your contribution to the Simpsons?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Yes. It influenced me as a comedy writer in general. When you're writing standup, you learn to get to the joke really fast. It lent itself to the fast-pace of the Simpsons' jokes.

Doe Berrick: how do the writers get away with taking so many shots at the fox network and rupert murdoch? has there been any backlash from management?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: We don't tell them in advance!

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Actually, they've been very good sports about the FOX jokes. Rupert Murdoch even portrayed himself in one episode. He had to introduce himself as the "Billionaire Tyrant."

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: That was the first time I met him. He came in about 20 minutes late and I said "You're lucky you got here pal. I was gonna give you 5 more minutes!" He looked at me like "Who the heck are you?"

DiscoStud: recently published information about an upcoming Simpsons episode entitled "And Gerry Makes Four." Is this information true?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: No. I've never heard of that.

MODERATOR: Here's an interesting question...

bee0r: Lately I've noticed The Simpsons' humor has been a little... well "low brow" (i.e. testicle jokes) than it has been in the past. Is this intentional or just a sign of the times?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: We just do whatever strikes us funny. We don't make any conscious effort. We don't sit around the table and say "You know ... we're not doing enough testicle jokes." I may be slightly more open to low-brow than my predecessors because I have children.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Those are their favorite jokes....the low-brow ones.

MODERATOR: The show has always been known to have famous people's the next question

MikeGibb: Is there any one in particular you would like to have guest-star on the show?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I would love to have Bruce Springsteen.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Since I was 16 I've been a big fan. I'm 43 now.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: We did have Clarence on this past Christmas. That was fun. Also...I'd like to have CarrotTop on the show. It's always been a dream of mine.

MODERATOR: The Simpsons are all over the web, which leads us to the next question...

BDugan: Do you ever visit fan websites? Ones like Evergreen Terrace, The Simpsons Archive, LETS, and SS come to mind as the big ones...

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I've been to the Simpsons Archive and to Alt.TV.Simpsons.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I didn't really understand AltTVSimpsons. It seems to be people that hate the show. I wasn't sure why they kept watching if they hated it so much. They also seem to want me fired.

Doe Berrick: The show has a real hardcore following. Have rabid fans ever stopped you on the street to talk about the show? The comic book store owner character on the show comes to mind...

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: The advantage of being a writer is that nobody usually recognizes you. Whenever I have talked to fans, I'm always interested to hear the things they respond to. We compare them to what we think is funny.

smeagol88: Any plans for a Simpsons movie???

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: We talk about it from time to time, but we have not even taken step 1. The show takes up too much time right now to get involved in a movie. I don't think we'll do it until after the show goes off the air. We want to do it right.

MODERATOR: Here's a tough question from Homer Jay...

HomerJay: What is your favorite Simpsons moment?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Right Now!!!!

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I would have to say it's from an episode that I didn't even work on. The s equence where Homer jumps over the gorge on the skateboard is one of the funniest TV moments ever.

arpulver: How do you feel about those fan-written episodes (I know you aren't allowed to read them). I have to ask, I'm write them myself.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: To be very honest, I've never read one. Apparently in some of the websites people write their own scripts and post them, but I haven't spent enough time on the sites to see them. Maybe I've been on the wrong sites. At least that's what the FOX lawyers told me to say!

MODERATOR: Here's a question that relates to the power of the Internet...

bee0r: What do you think of the rather large Simpsons' episode piracy "scene", Where people trade/download full episodes? Do you think it hurts Fox or helps them?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Actually, we weren't aware of them until right now. So...Rupert will be calling you in the morning.

MikeGibb: Have you ever thought about writing yourself or a friend of yourself into an episode?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Yeah. I've already had all my kids in the show, twice. There's a band that I'm a big fan of called "NRBQ" and I had them in an episode earlier this year. They are a rock band. They're in the episode where Homer joins the motorcycle gang. It was a shameless abuse of power on my part.

MODERATOR: Here's one about competition...

HomerJay: What do you think about other shows like South Park?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I haven't seen much of South Park, but what I did see was very funny. They've helped my kids learn lots of new words!

MODERATOR: Relating to a question a moment ago...

BDugan: When did you animate your kids in? What eps?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: In the Bible Stories episode and in the Marge Road Rage episode...they are being charged by rhinos.

MODERATOR: Ponytails67 has some advice for you...

ponytails67: I think you should do more should do more eppisodes about horses.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Ponytails67 - Do your homework Taylor! (one of his kids)

MODERATOR: Ok, enough about horses!

Zordac: Does Matt Groening spend most of his time on Futurama or The Simpsons?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Futurama. He spends 90% of his time on Futurama. It's much harder to get a new show off the ground.

Doe Berrick: Are there any spinoff shows planned?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: No spinoffs plans. We might do "Moe Loves Barney" (reference to "Joanie Loves Chachi")

MODERATOR: In relation to the last question...

Villimucho: Can you give us any information about your new show for Fox?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: It stars standup comic Robert Schimmel. At this point, it's just a pilot. It doesn't mean it will ever get on the air. It's a Roseanne-style family comedy with FOX attitude. Gotta have that.

BobbyWard: When will we see more of Cletus, the Slack-Jawed Yokel?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: He'll be on again in a couple of weeks in episode 14. It's in 2-3 weeks. It's a brief scene of he and his wife digging through people's trash.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: It's a very special episode.

ArchieGoodwin: You make a big deal about not saying where Springfield is -- but you have clearly shown it is near the ocean, where the sun sets over the horizon. Homer is near Las Vegas and the prairie. Kind of all adds up to California, right?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully:Exactly! (mocking tone) Congratulations. You've won a Butterfinger!

bee0r: Has anyone you've ever poked fun of (Bill Gates, etc.) who wasn't actually doing their own voice been upset? Or do they usually take it in good humor?

MODERATOR: Folks, please feel free to submit questions now to our special guest.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Most of the time they take it in good humor. We did hear, through the grapevine, that George and Barbara Bush were not pleased with their portrayal. I do not know if that is true.

prytanis: Who will be the next "special guest" on the simpsons?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Kid Rock is in our Spring Break episode. In a couple of weeks I'm recording a major rock band for the show, but I can't say who it is yet.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: You'll just have to watch EVERY week!

MODERATOR: Here's an interesting question from alge12...

alge12: How long does it take to make one episode?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Alge...9 months. From the time we start working on the script til the show hits the air. We have about 15-16 writers. At any given time, we're working on 7-8 different episodes. We're breaking stories now for episodes that will air next February.

Liberator: How do you choose your writers?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: We choose them by height.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I like the writers room to look symmetrical.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I read sample scripts from various writers. I take personal recommendations from current writers. They come from a variety of backgrounds.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: The show is not all Harvard like it used to be. Maybe that's why there are more testicle jokes!

MikeGibb: Have you ever cut scenes as a result of events that have occurred during the production of an episode?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I'm sure we have or changed jokes if some tragedy occurred. We don't go out of way to hurt anyone's feelings. It also makes the joke very un-funny when something like that happens. There's no point in doing it.

MODERATOR: Following up with the last question...

prytanis: If it takes nine months to write a Simpsons episode, how do you keep it so up to date with current world issues?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: We're able to change jokes up to about a week before the show airs. We take an existing joke OUT...and substitute a more topical joke if it doesn't effect the mouth movement of the character.

MODERATOR: Here's a question from a big fan...

johnfiedler: Will you marry me, mike?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: John... Well, I'd have to get to know you first.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Only on a FOX special.

dahotboyz: How often do you watch the show when it's on your TV?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I need to be wooed!

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I always watch the Sunday night episodes. I am able to laugh, because I'm watching it with my family. That changes my perspective on it.

Shalamar: Is Homer Simpson based on former president Gerald Ford?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Definitely.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I don't know who he's based on. I know Matt named him after his father, but I don't know if they share any other characteristics.

MODERATOR: Folks, we're now going to take a moment to pass along this important announcement: Be sure not to miss the Women in the Arts chat tomorrow night at 8 p.m. EST in this chat space.

Neuman: Can you give us any information about the upcoming Simpsons Fanfest in Hollywood in October?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: The what?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: LOL

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: It's going to be at Rupert's house and I'll get you all the address.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I don't have too many details, although I understand they're flying in 1,000 people from around the country. They're bringing in another 1,000 from California.

bee0r: The few times there's been computer jokes on the show (Homer's company... the Internet Cafe) I noticed the technical information was pretty accurate... are most of the writers computer enthusiasts?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: With the exception of me, yes. I'm the least computer-literate writer on the staff. This is my first chat!

MODERATOR: Villimucho has an interesting question...

Villimucho: Do you live in the Simpsons house that was built for the Pepsi contest?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: LOL - No, but I rent it out.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I actually don't know where that house is now. I had heard they were moving it to Florida....or burning it for the insurance money.

MODERATOR: About ten minutes left! Submit your questions!

prytanis: Will we see homer's mom again soon?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: No plans to have her back at this time. I found her very difficult to work with.

Homer-J-Coyote: Can you please tell us something about the upcoming episode "Behind the Laughter"?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: No.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Next question.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: It's a parody of the VH1 series "Behind the Music." We chronicle the rise and fall and rise again of "The Simpsons." The episode takes you behind the scenes to all of the backstage fighting between the family members, that nobody saw...not to mention Homer's addiction to painkillers. Willie Nelson is a guest star in that episode.

Space Coyote: What Simpsons character would you relate yourself to?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Definitely Homer. I find it pretty easy to think like a moron.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Although I do have a lot of Moe's anger inside me.

RyanIsGod: Who's your favorite Simpsons writer - past or present?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: There have been many talented writers on the show over the years. It's like trying to pick your favorite child...very simple.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: If I had to single out one writer who has had the most impact, it would be George Mayer. He's been with the show since the first season and I consider him to be the heart of the writing staff.

MODERATOR: Folks, we are almost out of time...only a couple questions left!

Villimucho: Was Dana Scully in The X-Files named after you?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: (Previous question) In this week's New Yorker magazine...there's a big article about George. You should all buy it.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: As far as Dana Scully....No. But Fox Mulder was.

C133125: Can you send me the scripts for the rest of the season?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Sure, no problem.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: I'll drop them off on my way home tonight.

MODERATOR: Here's our last question....

Space Coyote: Is there anyone or anything that really influenced your career?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: There were several teachers, many hours watching the Dick Van Dyke Show and thinking Rob Petrie had the coolest job in the world and the writing of James L. Brooks. My wife Julie Thacker, who's also a writer, has also been a big influence. She writes for the show too.

MODERATOR: Well, we're just about out of time for this chat event, Mr. Scully. Do you have any final comments you'd like to share with us?

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: Thanks for writing in. Enjoy your Internet. Continue to use it learn how to build better bombs.

SPEAKER_Mike Scully: (kidding)

MODERATOR: Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us, Mr. Scully -- this has been an extremely interesting chat. Also, I'd like to thank all the users who attended and participated in the chat event; we hope to see you again soon!

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