I sadly was not able to attend the majority of events in this year’s 2nd Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival presented by The AV Club & The Onion. These included screenings of Weird Al Yankovic’s classic UHF (with “Al” in attendance), stand up from Eric Andre, Kyle Kinane, and John Mulaney, plus seeing the comedic goings-on of Ellie Kemper, Vanessa Bayer, and rising-star Ian Abramson. However, I was fortunate enough to attend the “Simpsons Writers Vs The Onion Writers” panel, as it was called. Despite what the title suggests, there was no such comedy brawl on the stage of the Athenaeum Theatre, nor were either set of writers even on stage at the same time. However, if there were to be a “winner” in this pop culture battle of sorts, there would be no question that The Onion “won” on this rainy Saturday afternoon.
Before getting into the specifics of the Simpsons portion of the panel, I will say that it was super wonderful to hear a small portion of writers from The Onion (& Clickhole) talk about their creative process, and their favorite parts of working to create some of the sharpest pieces of satire in today’s world. It was a fantastic portion of creative goodness, which I suppose served as the perfect ironic precursor for what was to come.
To be a Simpsons fan attending a panel made up of current Simpsons writers is practically it’s own death sentence. For those who are not currently watching The Simpsons these days (and why would you?), the show is no longer the Comedy Behemoth of its glory days. It’s a mere husk of the same characters thrown into painfully unfunny scenarios. So to hear a panel of writers applauding their “success” is a punishment in itself. And you could feel that energy in the room too, the fans in the audience desperately wanting to engage in facts and jokes from previous seasons of their favorite TV family.
Maybe someday soon we’ll see a reunion panel of class writers from the shows heyday. Until then, D’ohs all around.