Posts tagged as phil hartman

The Johnny Carson Comeback Special That Never Was

On Mark Malkoff’s wonderful Carson Podcast, several guests have been asked about why they believe that when Johnny said goodbye on May 22, 1992 he never returned to television in any substantial form. Several of them say that Johnny cited Bob Hope as the inspiration behind his desire to remain off the air. Hope was being wheeled out on stage until the very end as a comedy icon that performed less and less comedy as the years went on. Carson, on the other hand, wanted to get off the stage before that could happen to him, ensuring that his audience would forever remember him as a master of [...]

Jack Handey Looks Back on Working with Phil Hartman on 'SNL'

"Several times since Phil's death, I've had the same dream about him: I am back in the studio, working on Saturday Night Live, and Phil is there! 'Phil,' I say, 'I thought you were dead!' It turns out that it was a mistake that Phil was dead, or that now he's some type of reanimated zombie. All I know is I am very happy to see him again."

Jack Handey looks back on writing SNL sketches for Phil Hartman in a new piece for Slate. Today would have been Hartman's 66th birthday.

Phil Hartman's Comedy Album Is Being Turned Into an Animated Movie

In the late '70s, nearly a decade prior to landing on Saturday Night Live, the late Phil Hartman recorded an album called Flat TV, consisting of him performing various characters and sketches. The album was lost and unreleased until Hartman's brother John dug it up and put it out on CD in 2002, and now, an animation studio is developing it into a film. Worker Studios has teamed up with Phil's brother Paul Hartmann (Phil dropped the extra 'n' at the end of his last name when he went into show business) on the project. Flat TV is a 22-track album of sketches written by and starring Hartman [...]

The Lost 'Simpsons' Spin-offs

When The Simpsons debuted 25 years ago as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show, it was hard to expect that it would become one of the most successful and longest-running franchises in movie and TV history. While The Simpsons spun off from (and quickly eclipsed) The Tracey Ullman Show, it seems a little odd that, given the show’s rampant popularity, we have yet to see a spin-off from The Simpsons, itself. The show has occasionally mocked the concept of TV spin-offs – most notably in the Troy McClure-hosted “Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase” – but that doesn’t mean Fox and the Simpsons creative team haven’t attempted to use [...]

Phil Hartman's 'Simpsons' Legacy

Later episodes of The Simpsons tend to unfold like Radiohead songs, starting off one way before taking an abrupt left turn. In stark contrast to this style, the plot of Season 2 gem “Bart Gets Hit By a Car” is thrust into motion within its first minute… when Bart gets hit by a car. Immediately afterward, the boy’s soul sheds its mortal shell and ascends the escalator to heaven, guided by a voice that is both pleasant and firm. It’s the kind of voice designed to convey trust during a commercial, and also the kind used during a fake commercial to mock such naked appeals for trust, perhaps on [...]

Maura Tierney Shares the Sweetest Phil Hartman Story Ever

"I do remember one thing he said to me. Joe Rogan was being so fucking mean to me one day—and mostly we were all friends, but Joe could be a weirdo—and I was sort of upset about it, so I was just sitting over in the corner. And Phil came over and put his arm around me, and he said, 'You know, I just want to tell you you're loved.' Isn't that really nice? I know you expected me to tell some wacky story about Phil, but he was like that, too. He just put his arm around me and said that. He was so sweet. He was a really [...]

The Enduring Legacy of Phil Hartman

As much as Phil Hartman's work and influence lives on, the Ontario native has so far escaped the kind of mainstream legacy re-appraisal that so many other late standups and sketch players have enjoyed.

You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, which takes its name from the catchphrase of The Simpsons mainstay Troy McClure (voiced by Hartman), aims to right that. The long-overdue appreciation of Hartman's genius, which will be published tomorrow by St. Martin's Press, looks at the arc of his career — from his little-known stints as a rock 'n' roll roadie and album-cover designer to his comedy work with the Groundlings and beyond — as well as [...]

Buying Michael Jackson 20 Cases of Water and All the Best Parts from Former 'Simpsons' Writer Jay Kogen's AMA

Jay Kogen was one of the OG Simpsons writers. He, with his writing partner Wallace Wolodarsky, wrote such classic episodes as "Bart the Daredevil" and "Last Exit to Springfield." He did an AMA yesterday to quench our undying desire for more Simpsons info. Here are the best parts:

On Phil Hartman:

Phil was a pal of mine from the Groundlings improv group in L.A. I saw him the night before he died. It was a tragedy. Horrible. Phil's voice is pretty distinctive. Hard to replace. Easy to make new characters so, we just let it go. (I created Lionel Hutz)

On what he thinks of Family Guy:

It's [...]

Saturday Night's Children: Phil Hartman (1986-1994)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 35 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member each week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

To any 90s kid who liked watching TV, Phil Hartman was Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz, or any other of his characters on The Simpsons, but on SNL he was the older, warmer, and wiser cast member who helped pull the show out of its flailing 11th season and lead it into one of its best heydays. Whether he played a smooth-talking Hollywood [...]

Remembering Jan Hooks

"Phil Hartman is my hero."

Jan Hooks sits next to me on a couch, nibbling a ham sandwich. We're at Michael O'Donoghue's Christmas party, listening to a live, Celtic band.

"Phil can do anything. He made me better."

I usually refrain from asking SNL vets about their on-air work, but I couldn't resist in Jan's case. When I mention how beautifully she and Phil worked together, Jan gave him all of the credit.

"Well, you're pretty great yourself," I reply, meaning every word.

Michael drifts by, touches Jan's shoulder. She smiles and squeezes Michael's hand.

"Ain't he sweet?" Jan says in that Southern sing-song voice she's done a [...]

'Grantland' Profiles 'SNL' Legend Phil "The Glue" Hartman

"Here's why it’s difficult to properly appreciate Phil Hartman. Because his characters were 20 percent droid. Because he reminded you more of your dad than your best pal. Because Hartman’s biggest gift was a kind of comedic graciousness, which he used to hide the show's seams and to make other funny people look good. As the writer Steve Lookner put it, 'How many people can you say that about on Saturday Night Live?'"

– Grantland examines the life, talent, and career of SNL legend Phil Hartman in a new feature out today called "The Glue."

Al Franken Eulogizes Tom Davis

This is beautiful and sad and tough and a bit fun. Franken spends a good bit of the speech talking about the process of writing and making comedy with Tom, focusing on SNL and the famous Julia Child sketch. It's a really great watch. While you're spending time with Franken, read this crazy story by a BoingBoing writer about the time he met with Franken for a job interview, minutes after Phil Hartman was killed. Then maybe watch the Julia Child sketch below, for something a bit more upbeat and Friday friendly.

Phil Hartman's Hand-Written Feedback to a Fan Who Sent Him a Tape Is Heartbreaking

Here's a letter that Phil Hartman wrote to an aspiring comedian who had sent him a tape of his work in 1997. In case you were ever wondering if Phil Hartman was a good guy, well, try to think of who else would not only respond to a letter/tape like this, but would listen to it and sent back a multi-page hand-written note with specific feedback and well wishes. This was when Phil was at the peak of his career, doing Newsradio, The Simpsons and a slew of other projects, so it's not like he wasn't busy. One of the all-time greatest, and gone far, far too soon.