Reclusive ‘Simpsons’ writer John Swartzwelder gives first major interview

“The Simpsons” writer John Swartzwelder is finally talking about his days writing 59 iconic episodes of the show.

Swartzwelder, who has a reputation of being very private, worked on the animated series between 1989 and 2003, and spoke to The New Yorker how he got the gig.

In the late 1980s, he was writing for a small comedy zine named “Army Man,” and his jokes landed him an interview with “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and its producer and writer Sam Simon, who hired him to write an episode.

“The ‘Army Man’ jokes got me my initial interview with Sam and Matt [Groening], which led to my first script assignment, ‘Bart the General,’ but I wasn’t actually hired to work on staff until I’d done three episodes. ‘The Simpsons’ didn’t have enough money for a full-time writing staff until late in 1989. They’ve got enough now, of course,” Swartzwelder said.

Swartzwelder wrote famous episodes, including “Homer at the Bat” and “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” and said the network largely left them alone.

“The executives weren’t sent advance copies of the scripts, and they couldn’t attend read-throughs, even though they very much wanted to. All we had to do was please ourselves,” he told the publication.

He added the writers aimed to make themselves laugh.

“Comedy writers. That was the audience,” he said. “Luckily, a lot of other people, both kids and adults, liked the same jokes we liked.”

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