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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
What You Missed: Matt Groening and Gary Panter

Matt Groening and Gary Panter

Matt Groening and Gary Panter were in fine form last night in an appropriately billed ”Comic Conversation” between old friends who happen to share the exact same sardonic sense of humor. We were treated to a sneak preview of the new Simpsons season and learned more fun facts than we know what to do with. Some highlights:

Matt Groening: “Bart Simpson was based on Gary’s character Jimbo, so I will forever be grateful [...] and I owe you a lot of money.”

Gary Panter: “I tried different things, but people really only want sexy girls and robots from me.”

Matt Groening, on Life in Hell: “The reason I did bunnies was I also did bears but people thought they were dogs. So I did bunnies. Bunnies had ears.”

Gary Panter: “Paul [Reuben, aka Pee Wee Herman] and I just pitched an animated version [of Pee Wee’s Playhouse] to Cartoon Network: Earth is destroyed. Pee Wee’s Playhouse is in outer space. Pee Wee falls asleep until the year 1999. The characters are mutated. And he hates them all.”

Panter’s favorite book? At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien. Groening’s favorite book? Wolf Whistle by Lewis Nordan.

Panter’s favorite sport as a kid? “I really liked dragging under the merry-go-round. I wasn’t into sports. Tractor drag-racing and cheerleader competitions have always been favorites.”

Special guest writers for the upcoming season of The Simpsons include Gore Vidal, Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon, who also happen to be part of the current Unterberg Poetry Center season.

And Groening’s series Futurama is back, thanks to strong DVD sales. Four Futurama DVD movies are scheduled for release and they will be chopped into episodes for broadcast on Comedy Central in 2008.

Gary Panter’s work is currently on view at The Jewish Museum. Go see it.

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