Saturday, July 28, 2007

Archive of the Day

From a profile by David Owen in The New Yorker (in 2000) of George Meyer, a writer for The Simpsons:
The credits in recent years have listed (Meyer) as one of several executive producers, but no title could adequately describe his role. He has so thoroughly shaped the program that by now the comedic sensibility of "The Simpsons" could be viewed as mostly his. ... I recalled a story that Mike Scully had told me earlier, about the most intense laughter he had ever heard in the rewrite room. The incident had occurred several years before, on a day when the staff was working on a subplot in which Homer, at a police auction, buys an impounded muscle car that formerly belonged to the town's resident criminal, Snake. Snake wants the car back, so he escapes from jail and contrives a recovery scheme worthy of Wile E. Coyote: he stretches a wire across a road in the hope of decapitating Homer as he drives by. The wire misses Homer, but his car is followed closely by another.

"The driver of the second car is holding a sandwich at a ridiculous angle high up over his head and saying, 'I told that idiot to slice my sandwich,' " Scully explained. "That's where we were going with the joke. But then George suddenly said, 'What if the wire cuts off his arm?' That made the people in the room laugh so hard that they were coughing - they were literally choking - because the joke was so unexpected. It was a shocked kind of laugh, and it just started rolling, one of those laughs that build the more they reverberate through you."


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