When it came time to finally put a full-length movie together, Simpsons executive producer James Brooks, who first gave life to Matt Groening’s scribblings in 1987 as a short on the Tracy Ullman Show, thought it’d be ”romantic” to reunite with the show’s early-day players, so an all-star team was assembled.
However, there were two high-profile yet not surprising exclusions: Sam Simon, who’d co-developed the series with Brooks and Groening but left over creative differences in 1993; and writer-turned-late-night-star Conan O’Brien, who departed on good terms the same year.
Responding to a comment by current show runner Al Jean that he would have simply ”laughed” off an invite to work on the movie, in Entertainment Weekly for its Simpsons cover story that hits stands this Friday, O’Brien deadpanned:
”I cleared my talk show schedule for a year at great financial cost to myself, got an apartment right outside the Fox lot, and told them I was ready to report to work. All I heard back was that they were having trouble finding me a parking space, and then they stopped returning my calls altogether. I am stunned and disappointed…. Truth be told, I worry that the Simpsons-writing portion of my brain has been destroyed after 14 years of talking to Lindsay Lohan and that guy from One Tree Hill, so maybe it’s all for the best.”
The Simpsons Movie opens July 27.