Want to make it big in tv comedy writing? Aim to create jokes that you find funny, avoid monkeys, and — if possible — install a diner booth in your home.
These are among the pro tips provided by John Swartzwelder, onetime Simpsons supremo, in an unprecedented interview with The New Yorker (read it here). Swartzwelder wrote 59 episodes of the Fox sitcom — more than any other writer — between the late 1980s and 2003, coming up with many of the show’s most memorable storylines and jokes. (My favorite Simpsons gag of all time, the Soviet cartoon Worker and Parasite, is one of his.)
Swartzwelder enjoys a very high standing among comedy writers but has kept a low public profile, avoiding interviews. He’s now made an exception for The New Yorker, answering (via email) the magazine’s questions about a career that has ranged from advertising copywriting to self-published novels.