The latest issue of The New Yorker (Jun. 18) offers a six-page profile of Family Guy creator and Ted director Seth MacFarlane. The article isn’t available online yet. Here, ten takeaways from the piece:
1. Seth MacFarlane is the highest-paid writer-producer in television history, the article claims. His current contract guarantees him around $33 million a year.
2. MacFarlane feels that animation doesn’t get any respect. He says, “There’s a prejudice against the medium of animation. I don’t care about winning awards, but it’ll be nice to do something that is perceived as slightly more significant. . . . The Simpsons is a show that outclasses any number of live-action sitcoms, and it has never got any recognition. It’s like Sammy Davis, Jr., at the Sands. Everyone recognized that he was a great entertainer and an enormous talent, but, you know: Stay out of the casino.”
3. Seth MacFarlane once worked for fifteen months straight, seven days a week, and had to be hospitalized for exhaustion. Nowadays, he sometimes doesn’t show up for table reads, even if there are dozens of writers, voice actors and network execs waiting for him. He says he’s less stressed “by not rushing and giving myself a heart attack trying to get everywhere exactly on time.”
4. MacFarlane lives in a $13.5 million gated villa in Beverly Hills (visit it here), drives an Aston Martin, owns a replica of the DeLorean that Michael J. Fox drove in Back to the Future, and owns a share in a private jet.
5. On dating D-list starlets like Christa Campbell, Eliza Dushku, Kate Todd and Amanda Bynes: “It’s exhausting dating several people at once. It gets tiresome, because people think they have you prematurely figured out. . . .I’m not somebody who has to go home and talk about theoretical physics at the end of a day when I’ve already been wringing my brain dry. I don’t necessarily look for an intellectual equal. I’d rather have somebody whose company excites me. That’s what my father had. My father and my mother were not–they were not intellectual equals by any means.”
6. Seth MacFarlane’s mom, Perry, who died in 2010, masturbated a dog once, which is a source of humor around the office.
7. MacFarlane attributes the crude ethnic humor in his shows to his predominantly Jewish writing staff: “We are presenting the Archie Bunker point of view and making fun of the stereotypes–not making fun of the groups. But if I’m really being honest, then maybe there’s a part of me that’s stuck in high school and we’re laughing because we’re not supposed to. I don’t know the psychology. At the core, I know none of us gives a shit. Some people say that stereotypes exist for a reason. I’m in no way qualified to make that determination. But I’m sitting in a room with a writing staff that is in large part Jewish, and those are the guys pitching the jokes.”
8. Seth MacFarlane is a fan of the classics: he prefers Frank Sinatra over Nirvana (a band that makes him want to blow his brains out), and prefers to watch old movies like Red River and Hope-and-Crosby films over new TV shows.
9. MacFarlane likes to get spray-on tans. From the article: During Family Guy‘s seventh season, a young woman began showing up at the office. Without explanation, she would wheel a large piece of equipment into a lavatory just off the writers’ room and wait there for MacFarlane, who would excuse himself and disappear into the bathroom. Several former staff members told me that although everyone could hear the whooshing sound of a spray-tan machine, no one dared make a joke about it when MacFarlane emerged, bronzed and burnished.
10. The simple reason MacFarlane’s Flintstones reboot fizzled: Fox asked him to redo the script that he turned in and he declined.
(Photo of Seth MacFarlane via Shutterstock)