Matt Groening

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Matt Groening

Born

2/15/1954, Portland, Oregon

Birth Name

Matthew Abram Groening

Gender

Male
  • Matt Groening on Futurama.
  • Creator/Executive Producer Matt Groening...
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
166 votes

Biography

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Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Matt Groening did not take a particular interest in school, which is what originaly turned him towards drawing. In the mid-1980' s, Matt Groening moved to Los Angeles and started drawing a comic strip named "Life in Hell" which eventually became published in…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Matt Groening holds the world record for the most DVD commentaries done by one person. All together, he has done over 100 DVD commentaries over the show's first five seasons.

    • To date, Groening has only written one episode of The Simpsons by himself. It was the season 3 episode "Colonel Homer".

    • Groening says that all of the characters on The Simpsons are collaborations between the writers, animators, and actors.

    • Groening is a fan of The Office, Look Around You, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

    • According to Groening; The Simpsons adopted the idea of a large supporting cast from the comedy show SCTV.

    • In 1993, Matt founded Bongo Comics which is a publishing company that mainly prints material related to The Simpsons and Futurama, along with original material.

    • Groening has described getting Futurama on the air to be "the worst experience of my adult life."

    • It's been about a decade since Groening has written an episode of The Simpsons. Matt leaves the writing duties to the writing team, whom he calls his "Harvard-grad-brainiac-bastard-eggheads."

    • Matt Groening has won 11 Primetime Emmy Awards from 1991 - 2008, ten for The Simpsons and one for Futurama as well as a British Comedy Award for "outstanding contribution to comedy" in 2004.

    • Groening plays the cowbell in The Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band that plays occasional concerts for charity each year. It has raised $1.5 million by 2007 for various causes.

    • In the 2007 Ask Men Top 49 men list; Matt was ranked #17.

    • The names of several characters on The Simpsons were taken from street names in Groening's hometown of Portland, Oregon these include Quimby, Flanders, Lovejoy, Kearney, and Powell.

    • Matt has named the animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians as what got him into cartoons. His biggest inspiration was fellow cartoonist Lynda Barry.

    • Matt Groening is a liberal and often makes campaign contributions to Democratic Party candidates.

    • Matt Groening identifies himself as Agnostic.

    • Matt's favorite band is Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.

    • Matt Groening was the middle child of 5 children.

    • Matt originally made the sucking noises of Maggie's pacifier on The Simpsons.

    • Matt won the Environmental Media Award in 2001 for continuing to spread awareness of environmental issues through The Simpsons. He accepted the award with an actor wearing a foam costume of Lisa.

    • While in the waiting room at James L. Brook's office to discuss his ideas for an original animated show, Matt hastily sketched a quirky looking family consisting of one father, one mother, two girls and one boy - and named named all of them but the boy after his own family. The executives loved it and The Simpsons was born.

    • The genesis of the "Life in Hell" comics came from Matt, who was miserable in LA, drawing a comic book illustrating his horrible time there to send home, it starred Binky the rabbit. Groening chose the name Binky for his "Life in Hell" character because it was the "stupidest" name he could think of. The comic went on to become a cult hit in LA with 500 copies being made. In 1980, it started to feature in the Los Angeles Reader.

    • During his time in LA, Matt lived in a small apartment where the guy who lived below him would play loud rock 'n' roll in the middle of the night. Initially, Matt tried to get back at him by playing loud reggae music. Matt finally got revenge by dropping a cinder block on the floor which knocked out his noisy neighbor's ceiling light.

    • "Evergreen Terrace," where The Simpsons live, is based on the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington that he attended.

    • Even though Matt loved to draw, at a young age he hated coloring books as he was not able to stay inside the lines.

    • In high school, Matt was badly injured while he was doodling on the parallel bars during Physical Education.

    • While trying to make it as a writer in LA, Groening worked as a chauffeur and biographer for an unsuccessful movie director. His other jobs included being an extra in the film When Everyday Was The Fourth of July, bussing tables, washing dishes at a nursing home, and landscaping in a sewage treatment plant.

    • Matt co-wrote The Simpsons 1990 music videos, "Do The Bartman" and "Deep, Deep Trouble."

    • Groening and Deborah Caplan married in 1986 and had two sons together, Homer and Abe, both of whom Groening occasionally portrays as rabbits in Life in Hell. The couple divorced in 1999 after thirteen years of marriage.

    • Matt's traditional use of "J" as his characters' middle initial is a tribute to Bullwinkle. J. Moose and Rocket. J. Squirrel.

    • In 1990, Barbara Bush, First Lady of the US at the time, called The Simpsons "the dumbest thing she had ever seen". Groening took revenge in 1996 with the episode "Two Bad Neighbors" (season 7, episode 13).

    • Matt explains that the Tracey Ullman versions of The Simpsons were drawn so crudely because he could not draw well and the animators only sketched over them.

    • Bart Simpson's name came from the word "brat", which Matt described as himself in his earlier years. Both are left-handed as well.

    • Groening used to write comics for Apple, the computer company.

    • Matt was editor of the Evergreen High School newspaper.

    • Matt graduated from Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon.

    • Groening attended The Evergreen State College.

    • Groening's top ten favorite episodes of The Simpsons are:
      1. "Bart the Daredevil" (S2)
      2. "Life on the Fast Lane" (S1)
      3. "Much Apu About Nothing" (S7)
      4. "A Streetcar Named Marge" (S4)
      5. "In Marge We Trust" (S8)
      6. "Homer's Enemy" (S8)
      7. "Treehouse of Horror VII" (S8)
      8. "Natural Born Kissers" (S9)
      9. "Krusty Gets Busted" (S1)
      10. "There's No Disgrace Like Home" (S1)

    • Matt received the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award in 2003, and was nominated for the same award in 2000.

    • Several of his characters have the middle initial 'J'. E.g: "Homer J. Simpson", "Bart J. Simpson" and "Phillip J. Fry".

    • Matt's favorite music album is Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart.

    • Originally, Homer Simpson from The Simpsons had Matt's initials in his head, the "M" in his hair and the "G" in the ear.

    • Groening is left-handed.

    • Matt's father, a descendant of Russian Mennonites, speaks Plautdietsch.

    • Matt is a huge Godzilla fan.

    • Matt has 2 sons; Homer Groening (born in 1991) and Abe Groening (born in 1993).

    • He has 2 sisters: Lisa Groening and Maggie Groening.

    • Matt's mother is named Margaret Groening, she was also a teacher.

    • He's son of Homer Groening, animator and producer of surf movies.

    • Groening provided the voice for "Arturo" in the holiday movie Olive the Other Reindeer.

  • Quotes

    • Groening: (when asked if he sees The Simpsons ending anytime soon) I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will get too financially cumbersome, and there will be enough in the can that we'll say, "Okay, let's call it a day," but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been.

    • Groening: (on his perfectionism when it comes to The Simpsons) We're working very fast, under tight budgets, so there are always things that any artist wants to tweak. I look at it that way, but then when I just listen to people laughing at the show, I go, "Okay, I guess it's good enough."

    • Groening: (about working with the writers on The Simpsons) It's a blast just to sit around with them in the writers' room and listen to all the filthy jokes that will never get on the air.

    • Groening: Families are about love overcoming emotional torture.

    • Groening: A lot of people believe that if everybody just did what they were told - obeyed - everything would be fine. But that's not what life is all about. That's not real. It's never going to happen.

    • Groening: The Simpsons is an especially collaborative show.

    • Groening: (talking about The Simpsons series ending) That's a long time, but if we, you know -- unless we all get killed. I think five of the main people could get killed and the show could still go on. But any more than five -- that's why we all ride in separate airplanes.

    • Groening: (about The Simpsons) No matter how hard people try to run it into the ground by putting it on too many times a day, putting it on multiple DVDs and oversaturating the marketplace and all the rest, we still keep going.

    • Groening: (about The Simpsons episodes) I don't have a single favorite. There's a bunch I really like.

    • Groening: (about his "Life in Hell" comics being published) I never saw anything as crude as my stuff getting published.

    • Groening: Cartooning is for people who can't quite draw and can't quite write. You combine the two half-talents and come up with a career.

    • Groening: When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities.

    • Groening: Living creatively is really important to maintain throughout your life. And living creatively doesn't mean only artistic creativity, although that's part of it. It means being yourself, not just complying with the wishes of other people.

    • Groening: God often gives nuts to toothless people.

    • Groening: One of the things I would like to do is make up stories that I would have enjoyed when I was a kid. So, if I'm thinking about an audience, it's usually a younger version of myself.

    • Groening: I love the idea that we put in jokes the kids don't get. And that later, when they grow up and read a few books and go to college and watch the show again, they can get it on a completely different level.

    • Groening: Basically, everything I try to do is to present an alternative to what somebody else is doing.

    • Groening: Most grown-ups forget what it was like to be a kid. I vowed I would never forget.

    • Groening: (talking about the Life in Hell cartoons in 1990) I don't know how helpful these cartoons have been, but drawing them over the last ten years has sure amused me. I hope the cartoons amuse you too, but if you're one of those people who finds my stuff annoying, that's okay. Luckily for me, being annoying is a blast too.

    • Groening: I have less to do with The Simpsons every season, but I stick my nose in here and there. Basically, it's just trying to keep the characters consistent and making sure the show has a soul.

    • Groening: You are so used to having to put on mental filters as you walk through life because we are bombarded with advertising everywhere these days. Notice there's ad stickers on bananas and in grocery stores; those little bars you use to divide groceries on the conveyor belt, there's ads for movies on those. I would say if you see an ad for a movie on a grocery-store bar, you can be pretty sure it's not a good movie.

    • Groening: I've loved science fiction ever since I was a little kid, mainly from looking at the covers of science-fiction magazines and books, and I've read quite extensively as an adult.

    • Groening: I'm trying to offer an alternative that's more like the way things are right now, which is a mix of the wonderful and horrible. Basically, everything I try to do is to present an alternative to what somebody else is doing.

    • Groening: You can't have a roof scene, with Homer, without him falling off the roof. It's a comedy rule. You just have to do it.

    • Groening: (talking about The Simpsons Movie) People have been asking for full frontal nudity for years and finally we can give them what they want!

    • Groening: (talking about The Simpsons) It's a funny show. The characters are surprisingly likable, given how ugly they are. We've got this huge cast of characters that we can move around. And over the last few seasons, we've explored some of the secondary characters' personal lifes a bit more.

    • (about the Futurama episode, "The Day The Earth Stood Stupid")
      Groening: Those aren't the smartest brains in the world...

    • Groening: I hate it when brains fly through the air!

    • Groening: I'm a writer who just happens to draw.

    • Interviewer: Is there a god?
      Groening: If there is, all evidence indicates that He hates me.

    • Groening: I was always frightened by taverns. They just seemed like very unpleasant places to go. And there is nothing nice about Moe's Tavern. It's just a creepy, dark place. And there are never any women in there.

    • Groening: Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.

SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Two Shows, One Creator!

    10
    This guy is awesome, not only did he give us the groundbreaking juggernaut of animation, The Simpsons but also the excellent Futurama. I hope this guy keeps in up and doesn't cancel The Simpsons unit like 2029, eventhough the show hasn't been that great since like the 90s. As for Futurama, please improve the show, it may not be in the same mess as Family Guy or South Park but it still needs to be improved a little. This guy is cool and I hope he lives to be at least 100 years old! Love live Matt Groening, the guy who invented adult animation!moreless
  • King of animated comedy.

    10
    If he had only greated the simpsons I would give 8.

    He created Futurama.

    This guy is inhuman.
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