Mike Reiss Reveals An Insider's Look At 'The Simpsons'

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When Mike Reiss was a kid growing up in Bristol, he loved “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and dreamed of being one of the comedy writers as portrayed in the ‘60s TV series.

“I wanted to be Buddy Sorrell, the character played by Morey Amsterdam, ‘the human joke machine’.”

Reiss’ dream came true. Big time.

Reiss has been at various times a writer, producer and show-runner of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning animated series “The Simpsons” from the day it began nearly 30 years ago to the present. Reiss, 58, is one of a handful of people still working on the show who have been with the series since the beginning — including creator Matt Groening, producer James L. Brooks, show-runner (and Reiss’ longtime writing partner) Al Jean and David Silverman, producer-director-animation supervisor. Reiss regularly flies from New York to Los Angeles to participate one day a week in the writers’ room going over scripts and shows.

“One day a week is all I’m good for,” the four-time Emmy winner jokes from the 51st floor apartment near Times Square.


Reiss chronicles “the greatest job in the world” in his new book titled “Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets and Outright Lies From a Lifetime of Writing for ‘The Simpsons’,” on sale beginning June 12. It’s an insider’s perspective of the series — as well as a flippant look at his own career, which includes the animated series “The Critic” (voiced by Jon Lovitz), “Queer Duck” and a host of film, TV and theater projects — including works that played theaters in the state, “I’m Connecticut,” “Comedy Is Hard” and “I Hate Musicals: The Musical.”

Reiss also wrote more than a dozen children’s books, including “How Murray Saved Christmas,” which has become an animated TV holiday perennial.