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Interview with Yeardley Smith and John
DiMaggio of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" on
I missed this call, but they were kind enough to send me
the transcript, anyway! Of course I love both shows, and
also I remember seeing Yeardley years ago on "Herman's
Head", one of my favorite shows.
FBC PUBLICITY: The Simpsons Conference Call
November 4, 2014/11:00 a.m. PST
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by
and welcome to The Simpsons Conference Call. (Operator
instructions.) I’d also like to remind you that today’s
conference is being recorded.
I’ll now turn the conference over to Michael Roach for
opening remarks. Please go ahead, sir.
Michael: Thanks, everyone, for joining us today on the
conference call on behalf of The Simpsons/Futurama crossover
episode entitled ‘Simpsorama’ with The Simpsons’ Yeardley
Smith and Futurama’s John DiMaggio. In the special crossover
episode, Futurama’s The Planet Express Crew comes to present
day Springfield to prevent The Simpsons from destroying the
future. The episode airs this Sunday, November 9th at 8:00
p.m./7:00 p.m. Central on Fox.
Also, just as a side note, we will be posting the episode on
the screening room on Friday, so you’ll be able to view it
there. I think that’s about it. Thanks, Yeardley and John,
for taking time out to do this and, Cathy, we’re ready to do
Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.) We go first to
Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine. Please
Jamie: Hi, it’s such a pleasure to speak with you all.
John: Hi, Jamie, how are you doing?
Jamie: Good. I was wondering, John, if you could start out by
telling us how Bender reacts to being so close to a Duff
John: [Indiscernible]. He loves beer. He loves it. I tell
you, it was such a joy to do this episode and if you think
Bender is funny, wait until you see Bender and Homer
together, drinking. It’s quite an event.
Yeardley: It’s quite an event. There are some physical
similarities that may surprise you.
John: Yes, exactly. You’ll love that.
Jamie: Yeardley, what’s Lisa’s reaction to meeting Professor
Farnsworth? He’s probably quite like-minded to her since
they’re so intellectual.
Yeardley: I think she’s less impressed with him than you
might think and even yet less impressed with Bender who
she’s convinced is, perhaps, not the most advanced robot in
the history of the world. How is this possible?
John: This is true.
Yeardley: There’s some—but Bender and Lisa have some great,
great exchanges. Bender, even though Bender’s not
necessarily technologically advanced, he’s sort of that take
no prisoner’s kind of guy and Lisa always responds to that.
Jamie: Wonderful. Thank you, guys, so much.
Yeardley: Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.)
Yeardley: Nobody has any more questions. Well, that’s great.
John: Okay. Thanks a lot, everybody. This has been really
Moderator: You’ve shamed them into it. We know have Elizabeth
Ramirez with My Entertainment World. Go ahead, please.
John: Hi, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Hi, so good to talk to you.
Elizabeth: My question is what is it like voicing a character
as opposed to often appearing on television; do you get
recognized less frequently because of it?
Yeardley: I get recognized every day. Mainly because—I’ve
done a lot of on-camera stuff, but I’ve looked the same
since I was about the age of six so I’m just—and I sound the
same. You can’t get away from me. I also do, I’ve been
fortunate to do a lot of press for our show. You’d be
surprised, actually, how much, how often I get made. People
send me a lot of free food in restaurants; that’s all I can
John: That’s pretty awesome.
Elizabeth: That sounds like an awesome perk.
John: That’s awesome. I get drinks bought for me, which is
kind of detrimental to my health, but that’s okay.
Yeardley: At least you get to keep your girlish figure, John.
John: Yes, I know. Yes, my girlish—specifically my breasts.
Anyway, that’s horrible. No, but it’s funny. The more I’m
around, the more I get noticed. I do a lot of conventions,
as well; that puts my face out there and having to do press
stuff like this it definitely, definitely gets your face out
there. Plus, I’ve also done on-camera stuff as well. It
surprises me. It’s just that I’m a pretty big guy; I’m like
6 foot 3 inches, 295. People are kind of nervous to approach
me because they think I might eat them so—
Yeardley: Meanwhile, people hug me in the supermarket. I
don’t think that happens to you, John. They literally like
‘Oh my God,’ and then pull me toward them while I’m by the
John: That’s, that’s, that’s rough. I’m sorry about that.
Yeardley: It’s rough.
John: Maybe you and I should shop together; they’ll stay away
from both of us, you know.
Yeardley: That sounds awesome. I’m in.
John: Okay. Cool. No more cabbage hugging. That’s it.
Yeardley: No more cabbage hugging.
Yeardley: You win.
Moderator: Was that all, Ms. Ramirez?
Elizabeth: Thank you, yes. Thank you so much guys.
Moderator: Alright. Thank you. We’ll go next to Bill Keveney
with USA Today. Go ahead, please.
Bill: Hi. Thanks for taking the time.
Yeardley: Sure. Hi, Bill.
John: Oh, thank you, Bill.
Bill: Hi. Both those shows are from Matt, but where do you
see them set—what do you think are their biggest
similarities and where do you think they kind of go off in
their own directions?
Yeardley: Well, certainly one of the similarities for me,
when I—sorry, John, when I was watching it—
John: That’s alright.
Yeardley: Is the animation dovetails quite beautifully. But
when we did the Family Guy/Simpsons episode, you can totally
see the difference in animation style, which works, but this
you go, oh, oh. It’s sort of the same universe, if not the
same planet. You know what I mean? There’s a common
sensibility in the, I think in the dryness of humor. Would
you say so, John?
John: Yes, I would say the slow burns are very, very similar
and, just the same, the character design is very, very
similar. You’ll see a joke that points that out in the
Yeardley: Yes, that’s so good. That’s such a good joke. Isn’t
John: Yes. It’s really funny.
Yeardley: I have to say, you have to hand it to us for take
no prisoners; we poke fun at everybody, including ourselves.
I do like that about us.
John: Yes. I think that the shows share that; their absolute
ability to make fun of themselves. It’s quite—
John: —crystal clear in this episode.
Bill: Just a follow up; did you all record together and, if
so, what was it like to bring in people from the two shows
Yeardley: It was mayhem. It was complete mayhem.
John: Yes. It was—
Yeardley: They had to batten down the hatches. They had to
lock off the lot.
John: It was pretty darn funny. There was a lot of buffoonery
going on. It was great.
Yeardley: There was.
John: It had a lot of laughs.
Yeardley: We do a table reading of the script before we
record the episode a few days later and that was a really
lively table read. Totally.
Yeardley: That was just fun.
John: That was really great. That was one for the ages.
Bill: Had you worked together? Some people, I think, have
done both shows, right? Or—
Yeardley: Yes. That’s true.
Yeardley: Tress has done both shows. No, we had never worked
together. They try to keep us apart because they know it’s
probably a little oil and water and they don’t want to start
a fight. Sometimes you just got to throw down and—
John: That’s it. Yes.
Yeardley: — and like the two sides of the magnet together and
see what happens.
John: Yes, yes. It’s kind of like a crypts, bloods
relationship, but it’s okay; we’ll get over it.
Yeardley: It’s like that. It’s like the sonic boom.
John: We’re all in the same gang. Anyway.
Bill: Thanks so much. Don’t get in a fight now.
John: No, no.
Yeardley: We’ve been sedated; we’re on our best behavior.
John: That’s right.
Moderator: Okay. Our next question will come from Scott Huver
with Comic Book Resources. Go ahead, please.
Scott: Hi guys, how are you?
John: How are you doing, Scott?
Yeardley: Hi. How are you?
Scott: Doing good. I’m curious if you could tease maybe a
couple moments from the episode. What were your favorite
interactions between Simpsons/Futurama characters when you
read the script? What were the ones that really, really got
a good laugh out of both of you?
John: I enjoyed the exchanges between Bender and Homer and
Bender and Lisa and—
John: And Leela and Marge, actually.
Yeardley: I totally agree.
John: They’re really really—
Yeardley: That’s what I was going to say, too.
Yeardley: There’s some great stuff.
John: Also, I think, I really, I think Lisa is the coolest
Simpson in the future. That’s my vote. I really believe
that. She’s the one that’s fully ready to handle being in
the year 3000.
Yeardley: This is true. She’s the one who’s going to get away
John: Yes. That’s it.
Yeardley: To make sure that the entire human race doesn’t
come to an end. You know what’s funny, when Michael was
saying the episode is about Futurama, you guys trying to
keep the Simpsons from destroying the future. I’m like,
that’s not what the episode’s about; that’s not what the
episode’s about. We’re trying to keep Bender from killing
Homer. So there. I won’t tell you how that ends, but that’s
a totally different story.
John: Yes. That is. That is.
Scott: John, if I could just follow up. Do you think that
there’s still plenty of future for Futurama? Do you think
you guys will all be gathered together for different
occasions to do another movie or, maybe, another little
chunk of episodes? What do you think’s the future for the
John: I think that there’s definitely the possibility of a
future. Matt is always saying to us, hey, don’t worry about
it; it’s alright. You know, it’s like okay, when do we
start? What’s going on? We’re all pretty much game for doing
more Futuramas. Absolutely. One of the best experiences in
my life, professionally, doing Futurama. Anybody throws up
the flag and says here we go, we’re doing it, I’m all game
for it. There’s definitely more stories. The last episode
ended the way it did and totally left the door open for more
things to happen. You never know. Whether it comes back to
network television or goes to something like Netflix or
something like that; who’s to say. All I know is that the
cast would be ready to do it at the drop of a hat.
Scott: Awesome. Thanks so much, guys. Can’t wait to watch the
John: Cool. Thanks.
Moderator: Thank you. Our next question will be from David
Martindale with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
David: Thank you. Question for Yeardley. When you started
with The Simpsons, what were your expectations? How long did
you think that this show could run? How long did you hope
that this job could last?
Yeardley: Well, you know, as an actor who is actually very
fortunate to have some success, you’re happy if a job lasts
more than three weeks. I will say, when I got The Simpsons,
I got The Simpsons because I’d done a tiny little play in
Hollywood a year before The Simpsons was being cast and the
woman who cast The Simpsons on The Tracey Ullman Show was
one of the 17 people who saw that play. She said I know you
should play Lisa Simpson. It’s a great sort of Lana Turner
drugstore story, don’t you think?
Yeardley: But I will say, when my agent said you’re going to
go in and read for this voice-over, I said I don’t want to
do voice-over. This is not part of my plan for world
domination; I don’t really care about that. It’s not on my
list but okay. He told me I should go and I’m not an actress
who turns down auditions so I’ll go. It wasn’t—I didn’t have
a voice-over agent. I had never done voice-over before.
I’ve, really, never done it since. When I got the job on The
Tracey Ullman Show, and it was this strange format where we
would do, I think we told a whole story in one minute;
broken up into 20 second bumpers.
Yeardley: Just before the commercial break. I was like this
job is what? We’re doing what? It was so unusual. I thought,
look, I’m down with this as long as it doesn’t interrupt my
true quest for world domination where I’m going to be a
superstar. Then we spun off into half hour. I do remember
everybody saying this is the worst idea a network has ever
had. They haven’t had a cartoon on in primetime since The
Flintstones. You all are high; you’re ridiculous; have a
Then it hit so big. Of course the turnaround was
instantaneous. We’re like no, no we knew it; we knew
Simpsons were going to be big. It’s going to be awesome.
Then you were happy that you went five years because now you
can go into syndication and that’s the juggernaut. Then, it
was 10 years, and then it was 15 years, and then you’re
creeping up on Gunsmoke, which is 20 years. Then you pass
Gunsmoke and then you’re like, okay. We now have writers on
the show who grew up watching the show and I don’t think
there’s any other show on television that can say that.
Yeardley: It’s been the best job of all time. I certainly
landed in the honey pot and thank God I was arrogant, but I
wasn’t stupid. So here I am.
David: Okay. Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
Yeardley: You’re welcome.
Moderator: We do have a follow up from Jamie Steinberg with
Starry Constellation Magazine. Go ahead, please.
Yeardley: Jamie, you’re back.
Jamie: That’s right. I know you missed me. I was wondering,
you guys are both a part of social media. Are you looking
forward to that instant fan feedback you’ll be receiving
when the cross-over episode premieres?
John: Well, yes.
Yeardley: [Indiscernible]; you go, John.
John: Sure. Yes. Absolutely. That’s one of the wonderful
things about social media is that you can really reach out
and enjoy your audience, if you will. Yes, they’re all
excited about it. When we had that one little scene in
Futurama when they had Jake the dog and Finn the human from
Adventure Time in it that was—they freaked out over that.
I’m just excited that they’re going to be able to see a full
half hour of comedy from both shows. It’s pretty awesome.
Yeardley: I think it’s great. It’s a really funny episode. I
really think the fans won’t be disappointed. Certainly, my
Twitter account blew up with Family Guy and then it also
blew up when The Simpsons did every Simpsons ever 12 days,
24/7 when we launched FXX.
Yeardley: As John says, it’s a truly wonderful, very
immediate gratifying way to interact with your fan base
which, for both shows, is impressibly huge.
Yeardley: Again, when you’ve been on television as long as we
have, a lot of people have heard of you. They’re like hi.
Yeardley: I want to be part of the story. It’s a unique
John: And when you’re behind the mic, you don’t get to hear
the applause, except from behind the glass which is, you
know, rewarding, but—
Yeardley: And you still can’t hear them.
John: Yes. When you have your followers go nuts over
something that you’ve done, it’s pretty cool. Yes, I’m
excited and I know they’re excited, too.
Jamie: John, I see that you’re a part of the Movember.
Jamie: Is that such—
Yeardley: Oh, John, are you doing Movember?
John: I’m totally doing Movember. I’ve already raised $250.
Yeardley: Hot damn. That’s awesome.
Jamie: Why is that such an amazing cause for you?
John: It’s pretty cool. I’m usually in a beard so I had to
shave clean and now I’ve got my little mustache growing.
Jamie: Why is it such an important cause for you, though?
John: You know, it’s a great cause and people need to talk
about it. It’s important for men’s health. I’m coming up on
the age where I’m going to need to have that meeting with my
doctor that all men approaching 50 need to do. It’s one of
those things that you need to handle. I can’t believe I just
said approaching 50. Anyway, the horror.
Yeardley: Listen, I already am 50. So you could just zip it.
John: I just turned 46, so I’m coming. I’m on my way.
Yeardley: Whatever. Whatever.
John: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I still look at it as
you were in 12th grade and I was in 8th.
Yeardley: Just rub it in. There was a time—
John: I’m sorry.
Yeardley: —when I was always the youngest in every cast,
except for my own cast at The Simpsons. Now sometimes I’m
leaps and bounds older than everybody in the room; I don’t
know how this happened.
John: I don’t know. It’s all going so fast. Darn it.
Yeardley: Darn it.
Jamie: Yeardley, you have great comedic timing. Is it
something that’s always been a natural ability of yours, or
did you work at some way to hone it.
Yeardley: I think I honed it at the dinner table.
John: That’s a good place to do it.
Yeardley: I do think—because that’s a tough room, my friend,
let me tell you.
Yeardley: I think I’ve always—it was my—when I was insecure I
knew if I could make you laugh, when I was growing up, then
you probably would like me. It was sort of a survival
technique and I’m happy to say that I was actually able to
make a living at it. I really love it.
I do remember the very first time I was in a school play; I
was 12 years old and I was playing Dagmar in I Remember
Mama. I remember the first line out of my mouth the audience
just like fell; I don’t even remember what the line was, but
I do remember they laughed heartily and fell out of their
chairs, practically. I thought, oh, oh, I need to do more of
that. That’s the magic. It was sort of greed and survival
all at once.
Jamie: Well, you’re wonderful. Thank you so much for all of
your time, both of you.
Yeardley: Thank you; that’s very kind.
John: Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.) Okay, we have
a follow up from Scott Huver with Comic Book Resources.
Please go ahead.
Scott: Yeardley, you mentioned the every Simpsons ever and I
was just curious, did you check in because so many people
really celebrated the show and the long history during that
period. I wondered if you took a while to watch some
episodes and what your, sort of, take away from all that
Simpsons love that was going on was.
Yeardley: The take away—I mean it was astounding because it
could have gone either way; it could have been you all shot
your wad years ago, I don’t know why you’d think we want to
watch every Simpsons ever, or it could have been the
juggernaut that it was. That so was incredibly gratifying
when the risk you’re taking works out in your favor.
I did check in; you know it was really fun when people would
Tweet me about oh my God, this is my favorite line; my
favorite episode; this is the best change. I don’t have a
very—we’ve done so many episodes and I have a terrible
memory any way so it’s sort of the perfect storm when people
come up to you and go you remember the line, I’m like, no I
already don’t. I already don’t remember that so you probably
know more about it than me. It was wonderful to be able to
then go back and see moments that people were loving and
realize how truly, truly great they were.
The show has, for having been on the air for so long,
they’ve really quite brilliantly developed it from, you know
in the beginning, The Simpsons never did anything that real
people couldn’t do. For instance, we couldn’t drive an RV
off the cliff and everybody survives because that doesn’t
happen in real life. Then you got to like Season 9 and
you’re like oh my God, what are we going to write about? You
know what, maybe we should take advantage of the fact that
we’re a cartoon; we’re going to drive that RV off the cliff
and everybody’s going to survive and it’s going to be
They managed to milk every fantastic facet of the show and
the genre to their best advantage and I continue to marvel
at their ability to reinvent us in a way and keep us current
and relevant. Things like putting Marge on the cover of
Playboy and doing the FXX marathon and the games they come
up with. This app that they launched in October, I mean,
come one, that’s lightening in a bottle is what that is. I’m
very—I’m so grateful to be a part of something that smart.
Scott: Terrific. Thank you.
Yeardley: You bet.
Moderator: Okay. Then we do have a question now from
Elizabeth Ramirez with My Entertainment World. Go ahead,
Elizabeth: Hi, guys, I’m back. I actually wanted to ask you,
having worked on these characters for so long, is there
anything to—any extra work that you guys put into keeping
the characters fresh or keeping them alive?
John: For me, it’s a cigar and a shot whiskey. I’m kidding.
Yeardley was saying how smart the show is, the shows are,
and it’s really true. I don’t have to worry about anything
with a Futurama script. The writing staff for Futurama,
specifically, is the most over-educated staff in Hollywood
Yeardley: We have the other half of the over-educated staff.
John: Yes, exactly. We had all alumni from you guys.
Yeardley: Oh, right.
John: We have doctorates in chemistry and biology and math in
the writing staff. There’s no reason for me to say, well,
don’t you think this would be funnier? There’s no real
reason, I mean sometimes I’ll do something and it’ll be
funny and it might stick, but when you have people that
brilliant that work that hard on math jokes, you’re not just
going, hey, what about the Pythagorean theorem? That’s not
going to work; that’s not going to cut it.
For me, it’s always just relying on the brilliance of the
writers and being able to bring it to life. I think the
energy is the most important thing. That’s the most
important thing, for me, is approaching it with the right
energy and you go from there. I think that’s pretty much the
case for me. Yeardley?
Yeardley: I think that’s well said. I’m also, I’ve actually
had this question a few times and it’s interesting. It’s not
like doing Cats for 26 years where you’re doing the same
lines and the same blocking.
Yeardley: Oh my God. I mean seriously, you’d be homicidal.
Every week, the words are completely different and I truly
love Lisa Simpson and I have this funny relationship with
her where I feel like she very much exists outside of me.
She, I’m a part of her, but I’m really only a third of her.
There’s the writing and the animating and then there’s me.
We each take 33.3% and so it’s a very unique kind of
collaboration and when I watch Lisa Simpson on TV, she makes
me laugh. Then I think, oh, oh, I’m a part of that and it’s
tremendous. There’s great joy—
John: Well put.
Yeardley: —tremendous privilege, right?
John: Yes. Well put.
Yeardley: Because I never watch myself on TV. If it’s live,
it’s me Yeardley, I wait a couple of years then it’s been so
long I’m like, oh well, you can’t do anything about that.
John: That’s really—that’s right on the money. I couldn’t
agree with you more.
John: It’s so true. When you see yourself animated, or when
you see your character perform animated, it’s so much
different than seeing yourself live because—
Yeardley: It’s so endearing.
John: —you’re waiting to—
Yeardley: You feel funny. Yes.
John: —you’re waiting to see what they did with your choices
Yeardley: Exactly. Exactly that. There are great surprises
John: That’s the thing that’s really interesting about it.
Elizabeth: Thank you so much, guys.
John: Thank you.
Michael: Great. That’s all we have time for today. I just
wanted to thank everyone for joining us today on the
conference call on behalf of The Simpsons/Futurama
cross-over episode, “Simpsorama,” airing this Sunday 8:00
p.m./7:00 p.m. Central on Fox. Thank you so much, Yeardley
Yeardley: Thanks, Michael. It was very fun.
John: No problem. I’d just like to say, really quick, that
Terry and Charles and Danette and Matt and Tom, you lost
out, baby. Yes. You zip your lips, you don’t get nothing.
Yes, that’s right. I said it. And Christopher, too, from
Zap2it. You got to step up with your questions, baby. Come
Yeardley: It is a tough room. Thank you, all, so much.
Michael: Take care.
John: Thank you, enjoy the episode.
Yeardley: Bye guys.
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our
conference for today. Thank you for your participation and
for using AT&T Executive TeleConference. You may now
THE SIMPSONS (8:00-8:30
PM ET/PT) – “Simpsorama”
In a special crossover episode, “Futurama’s”
The Planet Express crew (guest voices Billy West, Katey
Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren
Tom and Tress MacNeille) comes to present-day Springfield to
prevent the Simpsons from destroying the future.
(Voice of Lisa Simpson on THE SIMPSONS)
Yeardley Smith is an Emmy Award-winning actress, playwright,
author and shoe designer. She has appeared on Broadway,
television and film. For two and a half decades, she has
been the voice of “Lisa Simpson” on FOX’s hit television
series, THE SIMPSONS.
Other television credits include “Murphy Brown,” “Herman’s
Head,” “Dead Like Me,” “Dharma & Greg,” “The Big Bang Theory”
and “Hot in Cleveland.”
Films include: “The Legend of Billie Jean,” “Maximum
Overdrive,” “City Slickers,” “As Good As It Gets,”
“Virginia” and “New Year’s Eve.”
Her novel, “I, Lorelei,” was published to critical
acclaim by HarperCollins in 2009.
Her luxury shoe line, Marchez Vous, is available in stores
She lives in Los Angeles.
(Voice of Bender on “Futurama”)
In addition to being the voice of Bender on Fox’s “Futurama”,
John DiMaggio is an accomplished comedic actor who made the
jump from acting to stand-up and back to acting.
John ’s past and current animated TV and film credits
include: “Futurama” (2001 Annie
Award winner and 2003 Emmy Nominee), “Aquaman on Bat Man:
The Brave and the Bold,” “Kim Possible,” “American Dragon:
Jake Long,” “American Dad,” “Barnyard,” “Where My Dogs At?,”
“Chowder, Friday,” “The Animatrix,” “Princess Mononoke,”
“The Simpsons,” “Teen Titans,” “Superman: Doomsday,” “Jackie
Chan Adventures,” “Samurai Jack,” “Star Wars: Clone Wars,”
“Father of The Pride,” “The Madagascar Penguins Christmas
Caper,” “Catscratch,” “Vampire Hunter D,” and “Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
He has also voiced many video games including “50 Cent:
Bulletproof,” “The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction,”
“X-Men Legends,” “Final Fantasy 10-12,” and “Gears of War”
(for which he won Best Male V.O. in a Video Game 2006).
DiMaggio has been seen on “Chicago Hope,” “ER,” “Law &
Order,” “NYPD Blue,” “Without a Trace,” “CSI: NY,” “My Name
is Earl,” and the original cable movie “The Pirates of
Silicon Valley” with Noah Wyle, Anthony Michael Hall and
Joey Slotnick. He also has extensive stage credits and has
performed internationally in the theater and as a stand-up
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