David Mirkin

AOL Chat, May 1995. © America Online
OnlineHost: Your emcee for tonight is CSEmcee6 (MichelleJC).

OnlineHost: In 1982, David Mirkin began his career writing freelance scripts for both television series and movies while working as a stand-up comic in the Los Angeles Comedy Clubs THE COMEDY STORE and THE IMPROV.

OnlineHost: Mirkin's television career took off when he joined the staff of "Newhart," serving as executive producer, writer and occasionally as director from 1984 to 1988. In 1987, he received an Emmy nomination for a "Newhart" episode he wrote.

OnlineHost: His other television credits include three Fox series: "Get a Life," on which he was executive producer, co-creator and director; "The Tracey Ullman Show," for which he was a writer; and "The Edge," of which he was creator and executive producer. He was also a consultant on "It's Gary Shandling's Show" and "The Larry Sanders Show."

OnlineHost: Mirkin, a Philadelphia native, resides in Los Angeles. Ladies and gentlemen, meet David Mirkin!

CSEmcee6: Welcome David!

MirkinD: It's great to be here being interviewed in this electronic forum.

MirkinD: I just hope I don't do anything to make a foole of miselff...!

Question: Most people would love to see the actual people who do the voice. Is there any special sceduled?

MirkinD: There's no special plan...a couple years ago a episode of 20/20 showed a behind the scenes segment on the Simpsons....But we generally try not to destroy the illusion.

Question: What is your favorite part about working on The Simpsons?

MirkinD: Living in an insane animated world and not having to deal with the real world...

Question: How many episodes of Homer are there? I'd love to know how many times he's said DOLT!

MirkinD: I think you mean D'oh... and we're not nerdy enough to actually count them.

Question: Why is it that Burns hasn't been featured as much this season?

MirkinD: Because we have been getting ready to shoot him at the end of the season.

Question: Will the Simpsons ever be released on laserdisc?

MirkinD: We will probably do everything we can to squeeze every last penny out of this franchise.

Question: will maggie ever talk??

MirkinD: Maggie has now talked twice. And you will just have to keep watching to see if it happens again...

Question: Is a simpson movie in the works?

MirkinD: Not at this time, there's only very few people who can write the Simpsons and we are all busy doing the show.

Question: what does each episode cost?

MirkinD: Each episode costs a staggering 1.5 million dollars and we would appreciate any donations.

Question: Do you ever get bad comments for the "violence" on the show

MirkinD: That kind of question makes me want to kill.

Question: how many more years do you see the simpsons continuing?

MirkinD: We will do a least eight seasons and then we will decide at that point if we have the energy to go further...

Question: is there a god in the land of the simpsons?

MirkinD: Yes, and we have seen Him/Her several times...including once walking hand in hand with Homer.

Question: Do you follow the Simpsons Usenet group?

MirkinD: Once in a while we may take a look around in there.

Question: How many people work on the Simpsons production team?

MirkinD: Over 300 hard-working demented people...

Question: how long does it take to make a cartoon

MirkinD: You can probably draw one in your home in about a minute. But it takes us eight months to do one episode and a year and a half to do an entire season of 22 episodes.

Question: Have you recieved any complaints from racial groups on your period stereotyping on the show? Do you believe the stereotyping is done in good taste?

MirkinD: We attack all peoples of the world equally. We think the person that by far the worst portrayed is Homer - a WASP.

MirkinD: (sorry for typos there)

Question: Do you still talk to Conan [O'Brien] these days?

MirkinD: Yes, I do. And he seems to be doing great. I am still waiting on one more script he promised me.

Question: Has the focus of the show switched from Bart to Homer Simpson?

MirkinD: Actually it swung back and forth over the years. I think we are in a fairly heavy period

MirkinD: Bart period at the moment.

Question: MirkinD--Do you have anything to do with the people who do the character's voices?

MirkinD: I direct all the character's voices on the Simpsons. Including all our wonderful guest stars.

Question: Mr Merkin, welcome. How do you feel about the views of some people that "The Simpsons" is merely trash catering to the lowest common denominator, and perpetuates violence on television?

MirkinD: I think that everyone has a right to their opinion just as we have a right to produce a show that appeals to us.

Question: Will any of the characters ever get any older or Maggie grow up a little?

MirkinD: No. The children are perpetually stuck at their present ages; however we do flashbacks as well as flash forwards which show the characters at different ages.

Question: Why did you opt for a cliffhanger to this season's finale?

MirkinD: It was an interesting challenge to come up with a plausible mystery story in some ways not

MirkinD: unlike a mystery game CD Rom.

Question: Will Bleeding Gums reappear as a Ghost?

MirkinD: You never know.

Question: Loved "get a life." Any chance of Chris Elliot guesting on the Simpsons?

MirkinD: That's a great idea but I think Chris is too cartoon-y for the Simpsons.

Question: Where did the great character of Barney Gumbel come from? He is great!!!

MirkinD: Any drunk in any bar you know. You might examine the fact that he is your favorite character.

Question: My question is from the last episode (Sunday Night). What is the real name of that song and artist of the "Jazz Man"? -cfree

MirkinD: Carol King originally recorded Jazz Man.

Question: Do the Republicans hassle you for what is on the show?

MirkinD: I can't answer that because my modem line is tapped.

Question: You said each simpsons episode in prod for 8 months, how many episodes at once are in production?

MirkinD: I am probably dealing with seven or eight episodes at once in various stages of production

Question: Hey, I got a question for you. Do you pronounce Groening (matt) Gray-ning or growning, or what? I just want to know.

MirkinD: The accepted way is Gray-ning but I prefer "or what?"

Question: Q: Does one of the writers like Prince or something because I've noticed quite a few references to "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" in various episodes.

MirkinD: Yes, Prince is on staff and I am now considering whether or not to pick up his option.

Question: Do all Simpsons writers contribute jokes to each show? Or do just the credited writers?

MirkinD: All of us writers contribute to every script.

MirkinD: In a re-write that can sometimes last up to seven days depending on how exhausted we are.

Question: Who does whose voice? I know they list the credits at the end but nothing to connect a voice and character with

MirkinD: I can't tell you all but here's a few: Dan Castellaneta does Homer, Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby, Grampa and Barney.

MirkinD: Harry Shearer does Mr. Burns, Smithers, Flanders, Principal Skinner and Otto.

CSEmcee6: Thanks so much for being here with us tonight Dave!

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