Monday, April 29, 2019

The Simpsons 30th Anniversary panel

On Friday, my buddy Jeff Jaworski e-mailed me and said he had an extra ticket to a panel and screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, which would celebrate the 30th Anniversary of "The Simpsons" premiering on Fox TV, and he wanted to know if I would like to go.  At the time, I was out in Montauk, celebrating my upcoming birthday, but I said, "Hell, yes!" and I caught the next bus back to Manhattan.

Jeff, being a true Simpsons fan, was already waiting at the head of the line.  Just as I got there Matt Groening and Simpsons producer Al Jean arrived in a limo, to loud applause.  They didn't see me, because I was surrounded by so many rabid Simpsons fans.

After another half-hour in the cold, they finally let us in and first up were two classic episodes of "The Simpsons".  Then the panel began - in addition to Matt and Al there Harry Shearer (who had performed the night before in "Spinal Tap") and James L. Brooks, originator and executive producer, and the Q&A was moderated by Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson).

To my surprise, Al Jean was aware of my presence and pointed me out in the crowd.  I took a bow to modest applause - and because of that, Matt Groening became aware of my presence, and invited me backstage for the private party after.  There, I was able to chat with Matt, my old Oregon buddy, and Al Jean.  And they introduced me to Yeardley Smith and the great James L. Brooks, one of my epic heroes of television.

with Yeardley Smith and James L. Brooks
Then I met Harry Shearer, and we got in a very nice conversation - apparently, he knew who I was, which always surprises me.  So I told him that "This Is Spinal Tap" is my all-time favorite film, which is totally true, and he seemed happy to hear that.  Then we talked about how the band's British accents were totally accepted and loved in England.  I should have mentioned my film "Hitler's Folly" since he loves mockumentaries - but I didn't want to keep him from his other fans.

with Matt Groening and Harry Shearer
Then, since I had been on the bus all day, coming back from Montauk, and hadn't eaten, I stuffed myself with the green room snacks, like a total freeloader.  I just wish they had had some large round lunchmeat slices to go with the too-tiny bread slices!

Happy 30th Anniversary, Simpsons!

On another topic, I just found out that my "Trump Bites" series won a Webby, for best internet animation series - very cool!  And since no one watches movies any more, except on the internet, I guess this is better than an Oscar!

I want to thank everybody who voted for "Trump Bites", this is a great honor.  By the way, I'm not going to the gala awards ceremony, since the tickets cost $450!  I'll watch it on TV, or maybe on the internet.

Enjoy this week's cartoon!  Catch you next week -

Bill P.

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