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The 'Futurama' Creators' Reddit AMA Is A Lot Of Fun

By Petr Navovy | reddit | June 30, 2017 |

By Petr Navovy | reddit | June 30, 2017 |

Futurama is gonna be leaving Netflix real soon. There is also a mobile game of the show coming out imminently. That latter fact is probably why series creator Matt Groening, head writer David X. Cohen, Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and more), and John DiMaggio (Bender, URL, and more) dropped by Reddit to do an Ask Me Anything last night. The AMA wasn’t exactly the most informative thing in the world, but it was a lot of fun. Personally, I hold the first four seasons of Futurama in the highest regard—up there with the all time great runs on television. I haven’t really caught up with the show after its return, but after going through the AMA I’m thinking: I might. I miss the show.

Check out the AMA highlights below:

What was the inspiration for Zapp Brannigan? And what led to giving him no pants (genius by the way).

He was based on a few big dumb announcers that I used to hear when I was growing up who would make a one syllable word into four to fill the air with their beautiful, wonderful, dumb voices. - BW

How many butt tattoos of bender have you had to look at?

Many, many…too many… I’ve seen more asses with a Bender tattoo than toilet seats. >John

So I think the Series end was great, but if given the chance, would you do new episodes for streaming services like Netflix or Amazon?

Yes, it was my favorite show and I have real separation anxiety about it - BW

What made Richard Nixon a recurring character? Why not someone else?

The writers liked a head in a jar that said “Arrrrooo”. - BW

Well if we come back, it will be someone else. - Matt

What year does the bending unit come out? I’m thinking of preordering but idk

That’s an Elon Musk question. - John

When you first started Futurama, how many seasons did you think it would last?

27 years. - John

After watching the live stream on Facebook last week I was absolutely floored by how many characters each of you voice and how you make them all sound unique. For the vocal actors, how do you find inspiration for each individual character you voice?

You can get it from the character bible, which is basically an outline of all the character’s traits (his/her point of view). You get it from the drawing, voices that you’ve heard in your own past. There are many avenues of inspiration. > John

For John Dimaggio, I remember in one episode Bender ran into Jake from Adventure Time, Jake asked him “What time is it?” and Bender told him “Time for you to shut up!” Did anyone working on Adventure Time or Cartoon Network comment on that?

Pendleton Ward is a big fan, and Matt is a big fan of his. - John

The continuity is amazing, Nibbler’s shadow under the desk, the Museum being free on Tuesday, and other such details. Are you guys really that planned out, and is there any off beat detail that you know us weirdos have missed?

Huh? Is that in the first episode? I seem to remember going back and it wasn’t.
Edit: it is there, in my copy from the DVD @ 1:55

IT’S THERE. - David X. Cohen

With Futurama leaving Netflix, I can’t believe I must revert to using my DVDs. So, my question is this: What is this, the middle ages?!
Also: with Futurama off the air, what’s it like being a bunch of total Zoidbergs; desperately poor AND miserably lonely?

On a related note, I was re-watching some of the old episodes recently and enjoying seeing the various outdated technologies like floppy disks and VCRs that they still use in the year 3000. But it’s also very confusing because I remember that even then, we were writing some of those things into the scripts because they were ALREADY comically outdated and we thought it was funny. But now I can’t remember which ones were hilariously outdated and which ones were just the actual cutting-edge technologies of the time. The information has gone into a black hole. - David X. Cohen

What state is New New York in?

New Jersey - John & Matt

On the episode “Fear of a Bot Planet”, the mayor remarks that it’s been 146,000 days of the annual human hunt with no success, and they before mentioned the planet was taken over by robots 400 years prior.
146,000 days equals 400 years. Love the math jokes more than anything.

Can’t write Futurama without a calculator! - David X. Cohen

Bill West, do you think you’ll sound like the Professor when you’re an old, senile, 160 year old man?
I’m a HUGE fan of your work by the way sir. And Jon.

Well, let’s see. I’m 65 and I can do a 25 year-old’s voice…so by 160 I shouldn’t have a problem doing the voice of a 120 year-old. - BW

What the hell does “nine, ten, a big fat hen—the name’s Bender” mean?

It means we were stuck on a line for awhile, and Bender had to get us out of the scene. If you were looking for deeper meaning, look elsewhere. - writers

What is the favourite musical number that you’ve recorded for the show? I’m a big fan of the Devil song with the Beastie Boys

It has to be Robot’s Devil’s portion of Fry’s Opera. That song was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics (written by Ken Keeler), by the way. - BW
Singing with Beck was pretty killer. - John

So, we know Mom’s first name is actually Carol, but do her, Walt, Larry, and Igner have a last name?

Patric Verrone wrote the episode in which Mom first appeared, and he named her Edna Miller (his mother’s name). We changed the first name to Carol, so there you go. Another useless Futurama factoid! Sincerely yours, Matt

Not sure if you were aware of its existence, but there’s an entire subreddit of people who fall asleep to Futurama. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a shitty or stressful day and put on an episode to help me go to sleep and try to make the next one better. Thank you so much for creating something that, when I didn’t have any friends, made me feel like maybe I did.
Question: One $300 hookerbot or 300 $1 hookerbots?

It depends on if you have 3 bills or 300 bills. Act accordingly. - John

Yes, I do know about Futurama Sleepers, and the fact that there’s a subreddit devoted to it is proof this is indeed a strange and wonderful world. The truth is I once fell asleep during the show, but it was during a late-night Futurama writing session, and the couch was so damn comfy….So whaddaya say we grab a six-pack and watch the end of the universe? Your pal, Matt

Any chance we’ll see more Futurama episodes or movies in the future? Please please please

There are no new TV episodes or movies in the pipeline at the moment… HOWEVER, here and now I promise a different avenue of exciting Futurama news later this summer, no kidding. Keep your expectations modest and you will be pleased, possibly. I am not allowed to say more or I will be lightly phasered. - David X. Cohen

Which would win in a fight, Luck of the Fryfish or Jurassic Bark?

Jurassic Bark. In the third round. - BW

Jurassic Bark. No question >John

Is there any particular episode that you’re especially attached to?

As a true cartoon fan, the episode, “Jurassic Bark” blew me away. I never thought a cartoon would have the resonance to evoke such a feeling of sadness. I was really sad. And, then I got mad at myself for my eyes misting up. - BW

Jurassic Bark. What the fuck man?

Tell me bout it >John

is there any joke you guys put into the show that you were really happy/proud of that maybe wasn’t noticed by viewers? or got the reaction you wanted?

Yes. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. In episode 4ACV10, “The Why of Fry”, the Nibblonians tell Fry that the giant brains are going to destroy the entire universe. Fry’s eyes narrow and he grimly replies, “Now it’s personal!” That makes me laugh way too much for a line I wrote myself. Everyone else — laugh harder, dammit! - David X. Cohen

We were stuck writing the scene in which the head of Henry Kissinger in a jar was negotiating with the Balls (in the episode “War Is the H Word”). It took two full days to come up with a single line for Kissinger — two full days of nonstop unusable testicle jokes. We were going crazy, exasperated and fatigued with the all the balls puns that we were unable to stop making. Finally, someone wearily muttered, “This is not a productive area of discussion,” and voila! Timeless comedy genius, plus we got to go home. Your friend, Matt

In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is a magic xylophone, or something? Ha ha, boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder

As the writer of that episode I feel uniquely qualified to answer this. I’m afraid the person who got fired was me. For that error and a number of other, slightly less serious blunders, I was fired off the Itchy & Scratchy writing staff and had to go work on Futurama as a fallback. - David X. Cohen


Petr Knava lives in London and plays music