I was one of the original SIMPSONS writers from the very beginning. I helped created Mr. Burns, Smithers, Krusty, Hibbert, and many many more. I won a bunch of Emmy awards and had a great time. Since then I wrote and produced Malcolm in the Middle, Frasier, and I've created a new show a called "Wendell and Vinnie" about an idiot uncle (the hysterical Jerry Trainor) raising his nephew that will be on in November on Nick @ Nite. And even though it's on Nick @ Nite, it's for adults and it's actually funny.

Thanks to EternallyXIII

Thank you all very much for your questions and entusiasm. I have to get back to work now. It's been a pleasure. If you want I can come back in a few weeks to answer more.

Comments: 3481 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Pierrotten2931 karma

On the Itchy & Scratchy CD-ROM, is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizard key?

srutherf1890 karma

In episode 2F09 when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

JayKogen1079 karma


JayKogen757 karma

hah! I hope not.

JayKogen1306 karma

I was there at the very beginning and left after a few years thinking... "how long can this go?"

Sc00ta900 karma

Who was your favourite celebrity guest and any good stories about celebrity guests?

JayKogen2466 karma

Weirdest was Micheal Jackson who wouldn't let us use his name and we had to hire a guy to sing for him because he wasn't allowed to sing. He asked for 20 cases of evian water and a room full of room heaters and he never drank the water or went to the room.

ErikF841 karma

When you created Smithers, was it your intent from the start to make him gay or was that something that evolved?

JayKogen1569 karma

Originally he was gay and black. And we actually drew him purple in his first show. But we thought it was too much so we just kept him gay.

JayKogen780 karma

I'm sorry It took me a while to get on. I lost my password

nschug755 karma

What is your all time favorite Simpsons joke? Also thank you for doing this.

JayKogen2128 karma

We had to fight hard for Homer falling down the canyon in Bart the Daredevil and it worked well. My favorite was getting put in the ambulance then it crashing and him falling down again.

Cfeds77692 karma

Was there any thought after Phil Hartman died to continue his characters? What was it like when everyone heard about his passing?

JayKogen1451 karma

Phil was a pal of mine from the Groundlings improv group in L.A. I saw him the night before he died. It was a tragedy. Horrible. Phil's voice is pretty distinctive. Hard to replace. Easy to make new characters so, we just let it go. (I created Lionel Hutz)

sawtooth_grin630 karma

thanks for making childhood rule!

JayKogen735 karma

On behalf of the many many writers and artist who made that show, you are welcome.

bobjohnsonmilw553 karma

What characters did you create? Which one is your favorite?

JayKogen1507 karma

I wrote (with my partner Wallace Wolodarsky) the episodes that introduced OTTO, BURNS, SMITHERS, ABE SIMPSON, KANG AND KODOS, HIBBERT, NICK RIVERA, FRINK, and hundreds more. My favs are Kang and Kodos because I drew them.

JezusGhoti529 karma

How would you end The Simpsons? I'm talking a series finale. What would your story be? What would your final scene be?

JayKogen1285 karma

They are timeless. I would parody all the ends of shows like mash and the sopranos but keep the simpsons alive and well at the end.

Visize504 karma

I'm not sure which seasons they started in, but who came up with the following catch phrases:

  • D'Oh
  • Aye Carumba
  • Don't Have A Cow
  • El Barto
  • Okaly Doakly (Flanders)
  • Thank You Come Again

JayKogen375 karma

Sam Simon did "annoyed grunt" Aye Caraumba? Not sure. Jon Viti did "Don't have a cow." not sure about the rest.

postmodernlinguist486 karma

When you were writing "Last Exit to Springfield" did you guys know that it was going to be regarded by most as the greatest Simpsons episode ever? What was the atmosphere surrounding writing the episode?

JayKogen481 karma

No idea that people would like it so much and I'm still not sure why they do but I'm glad.

notlurker486 karma

Armand Tamzarian. What the hell happened there?

JayKogen363 karma


hollaback_girl478 karma

What's your favorite moment from in the Simpsons writing room? What's your most memorable?

JayKogen1207 karma

My partner Wally threw a cup of mashed potatoes onto the ceiling tiles and they stuck as a clump there. The potatoes remained there for many many years.

JayKogen1956 karma

I also remember pitching a joke for one of the treehouse of horror episodes where Burns is taking Homer's brains out of his head and puts it on his own with the brain stem hanging down and says "Look at me! I'm Davey Crockett!" and then laughing at my own joke(which I never do and is not considered good form) for five minutes, falling on the floor and possibly farting. Embarrassing but true.

Geno098468 karma

Did you ever work with Conan O'Brien? Any interesting stories about him?

JayKogen1761 karma

On Conan's first day a pigeon flew threw a window and died in his office. I tried to convince him that somehow that was good luck.

urban-fox437 karma

What do you think of Family Guy?

JayKogen879 karma

it's amazingly funny. Not as warm and real but very funny. Sometimes it's mean for no reason but I do laugh alot when I watch.

JayKogen553 karma

Family Guy is great. The folks at the Simpsons think it's a ripoff of our show but it's not. It's a ripoff of many things but mostly it's very funny and different from our show. I have watched many episodes. Aside from being too mean, it's very dark and funny.

teardownthismall418 karma

When I was growing up, a lot of my friends had parents that wouldn't let them watch the Simpsons because they considered it too raunchy/(im)mature/inappropriate. There were also a lot of other concerns, such as how Homer was such a poor father figure and how Bart, the one most kids identified with, kept causing trouble and made it look fun.

Did you and the other creators have any idea that this would be the reception of The Simpsons? Over the years, have you tried to foster or quell this perception?

JayKogen1055 karma

We went in thinking the show is FOR ADULTS and kids under 5 should NOT be watching. We were fine with parents not letting their kids watch. We made it for ourselves and didn't think that Homer or Bart SHOULD be role models. They are simply characters. Flawed characters. But they do have good qualities but anyone basing their parenting style on a cartoon has bigger issues than our dumb show.

sterlingarcher0069361 karma

Whose idea was the chalkboard scene/Simpsons opening? Do you have a favourite one?

What was the worst idea you've ever heard in the writer's room?

When you watch Breaking Bad, do you still sometimes see him as Malcolm's dad running a meth lab?

JayKogen384 karma

I think the chalkboard came from Sam Simon or Matt. They worked hard to make that opening cool and have elements that were different for each episode like the chalk board and the coach gag.

OccupyTamriel316 karma

How's the atmosphere in the writers team?

JayKogen703 karma

The writers room is work. Sometimes fun, sometimes boring. We tend to work as a team. It's not competitive. If you hear a great joke from someone else you laugh. The more good jokes that you get, the faster you get to go home to your family.

EternallyXIII293 karma

Any funny stories of a young Conan?

JayKogen885 karma

Conan was never young. He'd admit to being a worried old man mentally.

ken27238286 karma

If you could base an entire episode around one historical figure who would it be and why?

JayKogen741 karma

Weird Al Yankovich and I think we did it.

aqlpswkodejifrhugty243 karma

What do you think modern television needs more than anything?

JayKogen719 karma

I think modern TV is pretty good. Better than the movies. Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire plus really funny shows like Community and Daily show. I don't think it's ever been better. What we need more of is just people putting their hearts into it. But most of us do.

menomenaa312 karma

What's it like seeing Bryan Cranston go from your character, Hal, to Walter? Is that weird for you in any way if you have an attachment to Hal and everything you wrote for him? I assume you're quite happy for Cranston, I'm just curious what it's like to see an actor embody a character you created and then go on to do something so drastically different.

JayKogen723 karma

I am thrilled for Bryan!!! I saw Bryan this weekend at the Malcolm reunion party. Bryan was and is an amazing actor. No surprise that he is so great. The only surprise is what took the public so long in recognizing how great he is. He put his heart into every moment of Malcom just like Breaking Bad.

brodesto241 karma

What is your favorite show to watch that you have not worked on? Which shows would you work on if you got the opportunity?

JayKogen804 karma

I loved Seinfeld, Modern Family, Curb your Enthusiasm, Daily SHow and many more. I love Community too.

Cfeds77217 karma

Favorite and least favorite character and was there any episode you regretted?

JayKogen417 karma

In every episode there are moments and jokes that simply don't come out right and when I watch them now I still cringe. But when I watch the ones I had nothing to do with I can't see the mistakes. Just the joy.

JayKogen610 karma

I love Krusty and I wrote alot for him. I feel like I helped give him that good old comic feel. Least favorite? Sherry And Terry. We created them and nothing much came of it.

pfelon178 karma

Hint- click "Reply" under the question you want to answer and type in the box that appears.

Are the treehouse of horror (Halloween) episodes more fun to write? They've always been my favorites.

JayKogen401 karma

Wally and I (and Matt Groening) helped to create the Treehouse of horror! Most of the others didn't want to do it. But we pushed it through. LOVED THEM. Fantasy is great and in a cartoon you can do anything. I'm really proud of that.

Cfeds77173 karma

What was it like working with Brian Cranston?

JayKogen569 karma

No one works harder or has a better attitude about work. if you wrote an episode where he'd have to pogo stick for a week, where as most actors might complain, he'd get excited and start practicing right away. He's simply the best.

brodesto169 karma

What is your most memorable moment while working in The Simpsons?

JayKogen332 karma

Wow, this is odd but I really remember being in a Hollywood Christmas parade as a Simpson writer and thinking that we very strange but amazing.

hegs156 karma

What is Matt like?

JayKogen342 karma

Matt is a great great guy. Smart and funny. He helped shape the tone of the show and gave some of the details that gave the world it's "reality." he and Sam Simon really tried to make the show smart and interesting and it's own unique thing. I'm thrilled he got famous and rich from the show. He's a great guy.

JanitorsMonkey150 karma

Best episode you made in the Simpsons?

JayKogen361 karma


deshabble142 karma

My favourite joke was when Dr. Nick brought out the gravestone of Edgar Allan Poe to clean on an infomercial. His voice saying 'Edgar Allan Poe' is amazing. Who came up with that?

JayKogen119 karma

Not sure. Wasn't me.

thetallestnebraskan136 karma

What do you think of the current show? Do you think it has gotten better or worse? Also did you ever work with Conan?

JayKogen309 karma

I did work with Conan. He came on after me. but left before I did. We work on the same lot now at Warner Bros. and occasionally have lunch. The show is still amazing. Makes me consistently laugh. Shocking it's still so good.

tedistkrieg127 karma

Did you get to choose to parody To Serve Man for the first Treehouse of Horror? Where did you get the idea for Kang and Kodos?

JayKogen405 karma

We did get to choose the parody. We pitched it. We wanted to spoof the Twighlight Zone. Kang and Kodos were named by Jon Viti who's a star trek fan. They are all Trek names. I actually drew the aliens. My only drawing on the show. The artists couldn't figure out what our description of a one eyed octopus with fangs and a space helmet looked like. so I drew it. Loved that. have it hanging in my house.

KaptainKuddle124 karma

Where did you get the inspiration to create the characters?

JayKogen315 karma

From life and from the TV shows we saw. That's what makes The Simpsons so good. It's from our shared American experience.

realnickivey119 karma

Who's your favorite Simpons character?

JayKogen356 karma

Homer is by far the funniest because he's a borderline moron only saved by the love of his family

JayKogen271 karma

He's the easiest character to write and the one all the writers enjoy the most. We tended to deal with Homer and Bart and less with Lisa and MArge.

hoemboek118 karma

How did you get involved in writing for a seriously amazing tv series like this?

JayKogen237 karma

I got lucky! I was working on the Tracy Ullman show and the simpsons were bumper cartoons to our show. When they decided to make a show out of the simpsons, Wally and I jumped at helping.

ktsays117 karma

Did you suggest any characters that were rejected, and why were they rejected?

JayKogen217 karma

I can't think of any that were rejected but I'm sure I pitched stories that were rejected that had characters attatched. I don't hang on to my rejects. It just gets me down.

cupofpens2103 karma

Which of your artistic creations most closely resembles you physically? What about psychologically and behaviorally?

JayKogen242 karma

Otto looks like Wally. None of them look like me. I'm alot like Homer on my worst days.

snowball66686 karma

Did any of the characters develop in ways that surprised you?

JayKogen310 karma

I think Ned Flanders has more depth to him than I thought we'd ever give him. Love that character.

happyslappyfappy85 karma

What's your favorite Mr Burns quote?

JayKogen336 karma

I weigh as much as my clothes and my keys.

experiencednowhack78 karma

I wanna thank you for good writing. Malcolm and the middle is awesome.

JayKogen54 karma


cjstop68 karma

Can you tell us any secrets that you put within the show?

JayKogen228 karma

Hmm. Everything is out there to see. I did create a character named Samantha that Bart falls in love with after my niece Samantha. Jeff Martin told his wife they named it after their daughter but I gave them the picture on my niece to draw the character. Ha!

CerealAndOrangeJuice66 karma

Can you describe how you and Wally Wolodarsky collaborated on Simpsons scripts? Coming up with general ideas, individual scenes and lines, drafts -- how did the two of you work together on each level?

Thanks for some amazing episodes.

JayKogen123 karma

We wrote in a room together going over each idea and line. basically like one person writing. We'd fight about what was good and only put in what we both liked which often sucked because we didn't always agree. But Wally is one of my very best pals and it was a great way to start writing.

I_Key_Cars65 karma

Is there any chance that you might return? Things are a little different now.

JayKogen168 karma

When I go back it's like going back to high school except everyone is 20 years older. It's weird. I'd go back but they don't need me. Too many talented folks there. And I have my own show to work on, Wendell and Vinnie.

goingglobal64 karma

If you could change any of the characters on the show, who would you change and why?

JayKogen181 karma

Skinner mom bugs me. Not sure why.

Big_Timber63 karma

Which characters are heavily based on real people that the creators knew?

JayKogen179 karma

The simpsons family is kind of based on Matt's family and Matt is Bart.

JubilationLee56 karma

How did the success of the Simpsons alter your life and the lives of those involved? Was there ever a low point; if so what?

Did you (the writing team) take your work home with you? Ie, did you start to take on mannerisms and attributes of the characters you created outside of the office?

Thank you for doing this and for being a part of something so awesome.

JayKogen178 karma

For a brief moment the Simpsons gave me some cred with the Networks. That went away fast.

There are many low points in any life. They hard part is getting back up know more low points are on the way. That's what is called courage. My career has had a few lulls. My personal life has had problems. None of the caused by the simpsons. Most of them caused by me.

Rachel87955 karma

Can you tell us something about Mr. Burns that we don't know? He is my favorite and thank you for helping create him.

JayKogen174 karma

He was supposed to be pure evil like a bond villain. He's more than lived up to that. My fav Burns bit is his massive thanksgiving dinner than he doesn't eat and then pours bleach on to make sure the homeless don't eat it. Evil. George Meyer wrote that joke I think.

afridgetofar53 karma

Whats the best and/or worst advice you have ever gotten?

JayKogen309 karma

Best advice: "Don't be afraid to fail." Worst advice "It's not gross, eat it! Can the entire continent of Asia be wrong?

JAMIEInc48 karma

Who is your least favourite character, either one you created or not?

JayKogen110 karma

I created Lou and Eddie and Sherry and Terry. None of them have blossomed into anything too special. They serve the show I guess.

Jesika88840 karma

Did you ever think the Simpsons would become so god damn huge?

JayKogen105 karma

Not when we were first writing the show. Not at all. people warned us not to work on a cartoon. They said it would ruin our careers.

player1adam23 karma

What is the process to creating these characters? More specifically, in regards to the voice actors. I understand Dan Castellaneta and Harry Shearer perform majority of the characters in the show (Harry doing majority of the ones you created). Do you create these characters with the talents of these voice actors in mind, or do the voice actors have a lot of input in the developing process?

JayKogen51 karma

Never think of the actors that will play the characters. Only the characters and how they are needed in the story. The ones that stick come back. Hank Azaria does a ton of voices too. We assign the characters after the show is written. Sometimes people switch up.