On the 20th anniversary of the Premiere of Rocko's Modern Life, I'm doing an AMA. I'm also the creator of Camp Lazlo on Nickelodeon.




Comments: 1213 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

dresseme851 karma

Rocko’s Modern Life was sometimes pretty risqué with innuendos and situations. (And also great!) 1) Is there anything Nick ever told you that you flat-out couldn’t do? 2) Did you ever slip something by Nick that they didn’t notice?

BigJoeWorry1216 karma

There were a lot of things that slipped by that they didn't notice until they got letters from angry parents.

kellenwelker401 karma

Awesome. My friend wrote an article called 10 Most Disturbing Episodes of Rocko's Modern Life not too long ago as sort of a tribute to the series. We were both huge fans of the show growing up.

Were there any times where something had slipped by and you thought to yourself, "Man, I could have sworn they'd cut that?"

And do you think having jokes that are ostensibly "too mature" or "risque" for young kids is as detrimental to a youth's upbringing as many people would have us believe or do you think there should be more leniency?

BigJoeWorry512 karma

Well, the time to cut something was in the storyboard, and quite honestly, I'm not sure they read them. ( the network) So whatever was in the storyboard got on the air. It wasn't until after I left and they got letters about some of the stuff that they started editing some of the episode. Which unfortunately are the versions that are on the DVD's.

asshammer191 karma

Are there any jokes or references that you slipped in that still haven't been caught?

BigJoeWorry412 karma


BigJoeWorry732 karma

By the way, there is a great sale of Rocko stuff on my website starting today until sunday, at www.joemurraystudio.com

WeedisLegal653 karma

I the hell did you get away with putting a rape joke in a children's show?

BigJoeWorry886 karma

You are the one who filled in the gaps.

BigJoeWorry464 karma

I gotta go now. It's been great. Thanks for showing up. Thank you for all of the cool questions. Signing off.

GopherInWI387 karma

What was the inspiration to Wacky Delly episode? Like where does the randomness like that come from?
Classic episode, loved the show, I still refer to Laundry Day as a very dangerous day because of Rocko.

(Edit: I forgot the alternate spelling of Delly)

BigJoeWorry558 karma

I loved Wacky Delly. We actually did a live read of that episode at the Rocko Live event and it brought it all back. Well it's basically "the producers' in animation, make the worst show possible so Ralph would get fired. I was at the end of my contract and wanted out. We laughed that I should do a show about Deli meats that really sucked. At the time someone brought in an old promotional film from Dole pineapple in the 50's on how to spruce up your meatloaf. We tried to get permission to use it but was denied. So we did one ourselves. I made the meatloaf that is in that live sequence.

nickcash340 karma

Is the cheese really better than both the salami and the bologna combined?

BigJoeWorry285 karma



How much fun did you have finding ways to slip adult humor into Rocko's Modern Life? What was the best joke you couldn't believe you got away with?

BigJoeWorry707 karma

I think "Spank the Monkey" because, cmon, it was right there in your face.

AddThreeAndFive303 karma

How do you feel about animation in 2013? Are there any current cartoons you enjoy?

BigJoeWorry1359 karma

I like Regular Show and Adventure time

heavygatorpicks288 karma

Mr. Murray (Joe? I'm going with Joe),

you made my childhood something of a psychopath's nightmare. I mean that in the best way possible. I watched Rocko's Modern Life as a child. I found it funny. Then I rewatched it when I was older... and then I realize how corrupted I had become as a result.

I have no question. Just praise. And a thank you. Thank you, Joe, for turning me into a non-violent sociopath. <3

BigJoeWorry302 karma

Thank you. ( I think)

8-bit_d-boy241 karma

Would you like to come back to my place and watch Eraserhead?

BigJoeWorry275 karma

Sure. Love that movie

Djaboda226 karma

Mr Bighead was my absolute favorite as a kid. was he inspired by someone in your life?

BigJoeWorry466 karma

A nasty neighbor on our street who always stole our baseballs.


I used to watch Rocko's Modern Life every Sunday after church. It will always be one of my favorite childhood memories. How does it feel knowing that you've created something that people will remember their whole lives?

BigJoeWorry494 karma

Wow. What a great contrast, Church and RML. It feels good and scary at the same time.

BigJoeWorry152 karma

Sorry, had some hiccups trying to get on here.

HomelessBro69149 karma

Hey Joe. Thanks so much for doing this. I grew up watching Rocko's Modern Life with my sister, which had a profound impact on our sense of humor. Whenever we're visiting home together, we always queue up an episode on Netflix and crack up.

My favorite episode is "I Have No Son". I think it's endlessly hysterical, but an underlying commentary became clearer as I got older. Could you speak a little to what was going through you and the writers heads while making it? Was there specific adversity that you guys were reacting to, or am I just reading into a silly cartoon episode way too much?

BigJoeWorry224 karma

Martin Olson and I wrote that episode, and there were a lot personal issues with me and the other directors. Ralph was me in that episode. There is a lot of me and my story there.

newwalker20139 karma

What was your favorite character on the show to write about? Personally as a kid my favorite was mr and mrs bighead.

BigJoeWorry372 karma

Yes the Bigheads were fun, but Heffer and Filbert were the best. Filbert was so messed up.

billyshears06113 karma

I still tell people that this is my all-time favorite cartoon, so wanted to say thanks a million for creating one of the most deviant warped cartoons ever. Also as a fellow Python fan I remember thinking I was in some super-cool exclusive club for getting the lumberjacks reference.

I was wondering how the idea for Filburt being a Woody Allen homage came about, something which embarrassingly only dawned on me in the last year.

BigJoeWorry160 karma

Actually when I first developed Rocko I thought he had more Wood Allen in him. But, neurotic hypochondriacs are always fun to watch.

davinci_jr98 karma

I grew up a huge fan of Rocko's Modern Life and would like to thank you for providing me and all the rest of your fans endless amounts of joy. I wanted to know what the working life was like at Nickelodeon. I have a few questions I was wondering if you could answer that curious 6 year-old me thought of years ago:

  • Was there any sharing of ideas or jokes between the writers of the different shows?
  • For that matter, were you friends with any of the other shows' creators?
  • What were your favorite Nickelodeon shows from the 90s?
  • What do you feel about the state of the network today, ever since the production office's move from Orlando to LA to become more "Hollywood"?

Thanks for doing the AMA!!

BigJoeWorry258 karma

No we didn't share anything. We tried to keep the shows separate. I got to be friends with Peter Hannan, but Craig Bartlett and I almost got into a fist fight. ( We are friends again now.) I think the sad thing is that Nickelodeon isn't taking any risks anymore like they did in the 90's. It's a good thing they have Spongebob. That's been keeping them going all this time. ( not bad for a show they wern't going to pick up.)

minos1694 karma

Was the episode where Gilbert and rocko fake a marriage for visa purposes a thinly veiled attempt at depicting a gay relationship as normal in a kid's cartoon or just comedic stab at married life?

Even as a Kid, I felt there was some deeper subtext in Rocko choosing a dude instead of some female friend.

BigJoeWorry132 karma

There were a lot of deeper threads in that episode. It was a strange one.

sprice0591 karma

Hey Joe! If you're allowed to answer... do you prefer Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network?

BigJoeWorry272 karma

I had a better time working with Cartoon Network than Nickelodeon.

nikiverse79 karma

What was your first animation like?

(I have the Rocko's modern life theme song in my head now and it's almost midnight, thanks)

BigJoeWorry128 karma

I first did a cut paper film about a guy having an affair with a moose. Then I did The Chore" which went on to win a crapload of awards and even showed on NBC's Super Bloopers and Practical Jokes. Yes, Ed McMahon laughed at it. Very strange.

drlemon75 karma

do another show. That's not a question, sorry. Could you do another show? Or, y'know, work on SOMETHING? I miss your shows

BigJoeWorry137 karma

No thank you.

slightlysanesage71 karma

It's probably too late and you've gone already, but I gotta ask, did Nick ever pass any of those angry letters on to you? If so, which was your favorite?

BigJoeWorry264 karma

They did pass on a few. Basically Mothers wondering how we could sleep at night knowing we were polluting the minds of young children. Basically, I don't leave it up to networks and creators to decide what my young children watch. I as parent do. And they should to. If they didn't like it, they should turn it off.

uwpg201268 karma

I discovered the show during university (five years ago) and I enjoy it!

Have you ever thought of what the characters of the show would be doing 20 years later?

BigJoeWorry239 karma

Probably in rehab, or some 12 step groups.

VernacularRobot68 karma

Can I hug you?

BigJoeWorry101 karma


Fathom31560 karma

I've heard many things about the scrapped episode "Wake Up, Maggie" and Magdalene, which was supposed to be Rocko's sister and even managed to find what I think is a picture of her in your book. Could you tell anything about how the episode was supposed to go down? I hear it was supposed to be a 'touching' episode.

BigJoeWorry184 karma

I had her in mind from the start, but after developing the show, she didn't seem to fit. The network wanted some more female characters and I wrote "Wake up Maggie ( she was narcoleptic) but I didn't like it. We later created Dr. Hutchinson to have a female with a "hook"

Testament4257 karma

Mr Murray, or Joe if you prefer. I know you've already stated that some things in your show you skated by with censorship. But HOW did you get it past the censors in one episode where rocko is trying to find a new job and has a job as a sex-line...well..."Friendship partner" operator? Even when I was a kid, my dad was watching that episode with me and actually asked that question. It had always stuck with me as the episode that was quintisential. That and the christmas episode with the elves. Thanks you for bringing such humor into mine and many other people's lives.

BigJoeWorry111 karma

Yeah, well. What can I say. The show is about modern life, and when you need work, a phone sex guy is an option, is it not? It was innocent enough in the way it was portrayed. That is usually how things get by.

BigJoeWorry64 karma

I liked the Christmas episode. It should go down as a classic, but never took hold did it?

punkasshippy52 karma

Two, if you don't mind. :)

What initially led to you working for Nick?

Where ever insecure, even after having a show, about showing your art off?

BigJoeWorry91 karma

Linda Simensky at Nickelodeon saw my indie films and asked if I had any ideas for an animated series for their ( pretty) new cable channel. They were crazy enough to like Rocko from the start.

And yes, I get insecure about the high expectations people have when I'm sharing art or ideas with someone after I did the shows.

G00Back45 karma

Aside from Rocko, have you worked on any other shows or movies? Also, what's your favorite character you have ever created? And just wanted to say thanks for the laughs as a kid. Really enjoyed your work!

BigJoeWorry80 karma

I worked for a brief time on a Tex Avery show for DIC. I do work on other projects now, but it's discreet as a consultant and creative sweetener

accoroffee42 karma

Congratulations on the 20 year anniversary of Rocko! Questions in descending order of pertinence.

  • Have you considered venturing further into comics? Frog in a Suit was stellar.
  • What do you consider to be the most culturally significant medium/genre of art these days?
  • Do you listen to music while you are working? If so what is your preferred genre/artist?
  • What is your favourite animal?

BigJoeWorry60 karma

Thank you. I had fun doing that FIAS comic book. I would like to do more comics, but my dance card is pretty full right now.

Wow, that second question is a little heavy. Animation has an opportunity to combine the best art,story and movement, but music is probably the most culturally significant

RivkahWinter42 karma

I have a few questions! :D

Around what age did you start drawing?

Where did you come up with the ideas that you used in the shows? Do you know an Australian with a cow in real life? What was your inspiration?

What are your favorite desserts?

(Edited: I accidentally pressed "save" too soon and it submitted the post.)

BigJoeWorry176 karma

I started drawing when I was about 4 or 5. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher was shocked that I would draw these lifelike drawings of my family, and my Mom with big boobs. ( Which is odd because she actually did'nt have big boobs. I guess Freud could have a field day with that)

Mikeydoes41 karma

Where can I rewatch Rocko's Modern Life at?

If you had to submit one episode of RML as your best work.. Which would it be?

BigJoeWorry71 karma

I think "I have no son, was my best work. Very personal and yet good entertainment. I'm proud of Zanzibar

Mikeydoes31 karma

What are some funny/interesting things you snuck into Rocko's modern life that no one knows about?

BigJoeWorry58 karma

I think they have all been outed by now. Well,, I don't know. Maybe not.

GrandpasSwagJuice29 karma

As a follow-up to /u/addthreeandfive's question about animations in 2013, what do you feel about Flash animation and digitally produced animation in general?

I know Seth MacFarlane has voiced concerns on it not living up to traditional animation--something about it not being as funny, but I feel it still has it's place on the internet and even on television as times are changing.

Also i know egoraptor is a big fan of yours, as am I and a lot of other animators coming up today. I'd just like to say thanks for the laughs and awesomeness that was Rocko's Modern Life.

BigJoeWorry48 karma

Thanks. I think Flash can still be used very traditionally ( I use it for my indie film.) The content and story doesn't have anything to do with the method. But I know when you use inbetween tools and such, it sucks the life out of anything.

Mrjim4022 karma

I thought Camp Lazlo was on Cartoon Network?

BigJoeWorry41 karma

Yes, it was.

Spirit3118 karma

First I want to say thank you for the release of Rocko the complete series. I love the bonus feature from the live reading of Wacky Deli. Great stuff.

My question is were you part of the Mayo April Fool's Day prank that Nick did this year?

BigJoeWorry46 karma

No I wasn't. People started writing to me asking me what this unseen episode was. As far as I knew, there was no such thing. Then the people from the Nick promo dept. contacted me and told me about it. I tried to go along with it until it aired cuz I thought it was kind of funny. But it was hard.

kyan012 karma

hey Joe!

Hmm. I'm interested to know what the most surprising innuendos (scenes etc) that got by the radar in Rocko were for you? And how many jokes like this were cut from the series, if they did stir any controversy?

kyan020 karma

oh, you answered this already :D

Gonna change my question to...

What's some of you most favourite cartoon characters of all time?

BigJoeWorry57 karma

Bugs Bunny was my all time favorite, and I carted around a huge stuffed bugs bunny as a kid. Until on christmas morning I got a Leo the Lion. Then I stuffed Bugs in the garbage.

But he still stayed in my heart.


Will you come back here for the Buck Angel IAMA?

BigJoeWorry25 karma

Don't know what that is.

Rob_Saget8 karma


  • Do you have any shows in the works that you can tell us about?
  • What was a big difference writing for Rocko as compared to Lazlo?
  • I host a podcast in where we have celebrity guests geek out about TV, games, music, etc. Would you be interested in being a guest?

Thank you again for the AMA and look forward to your responses!

BigJoeWorry14 karma

I work on other TV and feature projects, but nothing of my own in the works. I have an independent film called Fish Head that I'm working on.

BigJoeWorry19 karma

I had a better time writing on Lazlo than on Rocko. We made it really hard on ourselves.

ghurthuber2 karma

Much respect to the creator of my favorite childhood cartoon. You inspired me to practice art and make cartoons. I still watch it at the age of 23 on www.nickreboot.com .

I just have a few questions:

  1. How did you land the job at Nickelodeon?
  2. Any future plans as far as far as new cartoons? I feel like you could create an awesome cartoon for a netflix exclusive.
  3. Can I pitch you an idea for a dark comedy cartoon I've been working on for a little while now?

BigJoeWorry7 karma

I didn't land a job at Nickelodeon. They hired my studio to produce Rocko after I created it. I was actually never an employee.

No new cartoons. No.

druumer892 karma


BigJoeWorry19 karma

A lot of questions about getting away with stuff. They told me to do my stuff,and what I thought was funny, so I did. It wasn't until later that the advertising people came down on us about questionable content. Thats when I thought it was time to leave.

bunnytrox2 karma

Are you by chance related to Bill Murray?

BigJoeWorry2 karma


corydoitch1 karma

Do you ever wonder what Mr. Sullivan thought the first time he saw your cartoon on tv? Did "Thy royal syllabus" influence anything that made it to tv?

BigJoeWorry2 karma

Or Mr. Wright or Orloff? Ha! My past always enters into things.