MATT VS AUSTRALIA
Groening on Disenchantment’s Oz connection and The Simpsons’ infamous visit here
You have Indigenous Australian rapper, comedy writer, and actor Adam Briggs on the Disenchantment writing team. How did you get him on board?
Josh Weinstein who developed the show with me and is the showrunner, he knew Briggs from Twitter. He invited Briggs to visit the office and he was so funny and he had such a different perspective, so we asked him if he wanted to be a writer [on the show], and he did and he wrote one of the best episodes of the series so far, as well as contributing to all of the other episodes. He’s fantastic. And it didn’t hurt that he had a Simpsons tattoo.
Briggs is probably most well known here in Australia as being a rapper…
I know talk about giving us hip credentials! There’s not much to say about most writers, but Briggs is a character.
Did Briggs ever bring up the infamous ‘Bart vs. Australia’ episode of The Simpsons? Yeah, he gave me a talking to. [laughs] He was fairly nonchalant about it. Let me explain about that episode. The writers decided that “y’know, we don’t know enough about Australia to get it right, so let’s go the other way let’s get everything completely wrong.” I’m not trying to justify it, but that’s the explanation, however. It was completely ridiculous.
You’ve been to Australia since though, right? Yeah I was in Australia in November 2016 and spoke at the Sydney Opera House and showed parts of the Australian episode, and wondered what people would think. But they were self-selected Simpsons fans, and they liked it. I showed the best parts though, not the whole thing. We’re gonna have to have the Simpsons come back to Australia some time and do it right!
Disenchantment has a strong The Mighty Boosh connection: Noel Fielding, Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher do voice work. Are you a fan of the show?
I’m a real fan. I was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival years ago before The Mighty Boosh was a TV show and I saw them perform live. It was hilarious. I couldn’t see how they could turn it into a TV show though! And now it’s a classic.
Are there any fantasy tropes you’re looking forward to using in Disenchantment
Oh yeah. About 10 years ago I started filling this book up with every fantasy trope that I could think of: dwarves, elves, goblins, hobgoblins, fairies, sprites, trolls, leprechauns, harpies, banshees, pixies, fauns, imps, gnomes, ogres, orcs, demons. Those are just the short ones! In fact, a very unfortunate early title for this show was ‘Pointy Ears’. Disenchantment may not be the most commercial title in the world, but it does the trick.
Go Homer: the Simpsons’ patriach eyes a giant can of Fosters.