August 30, 2018
Mike Reiss
Springfield Confidential
The Great Hall

Reflection  | Photos

After 29 seasons, fans know a lot about The Simpsons, but they haven't heard it the way Mike Reiss tells it in his new book, Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets and Outright Lies From a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons (Dey Street).

The irreverent, wry Reiss has been with The Simpsons, with some breaks, since its uncertain beginning, when fellow writers thought the animated comedy starring Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa would last only six episodes. Executive producer Sam Simon, who developed the series with creator Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, was the optimist. He predicted 13.

More than 630 episodes later, the Emmy-winning Reiss, a former head writer for the satirical show who remains part of the writing staff, has plenty to say about the animated classic.

Join us as Mike talks about his book and is also available for a book signing afterwards!

Event Reflection

As laughter poured from the Great Hall, comedy writer Mike Reiss, best known for his work on "The Simpsons," discussed his experiences working on the show.

Nothing was off limits for Reiss, who shared many of the stories from his book "Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons."

For example, he explained to the audience how celebrities love being made fun of on the show, which can't be said for countries; the writers usually get complaints, and sometimes sued, because of jokes they make about foreign countries during vacation episodes.

Reiss also poked fun at presidents, none of whom have ever made an appearance, and told the story of how he spent some time writing jokes for the Pope.

Perhaps one of the most entertaining stories came from near the end of the lecture. Because shows are written months in advance, writers can run into some issues, such as the time a celebrity who was the butt of a joke died a few days before the show was going to air.

The punchline was changed and rerecorded, which would have solved the problem, except that the new person being referenced died that morning. After laughter from the audience died down, Reiss recalled his grandfather telling him as a child, "God hates you," which got another rise out of the crowd.

Despite the sticky situations, Reiss said he's glad that he gets paid to write jokes, because if he didn't, he would likely be unemployed.

Following the lecture, Reiss took questions from the audience, one of which was whether or not he ever gets annoyed by Lisa. He responded, saying "I know you don't like her because she studies. All the writers wanted to be Bart when they were younger but we were all little Lisas."

Join A.P.E.X. on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Theater for a screening of the film "Ugly Delicious Tacos," which will be a precursor to Gustavo Arellano's lecture next week.

On Friday, we invite you to join us in the Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center between noon and 2 p.m. for "Space Debates."