Groening on Letterman in 1989 & NBC News in 1990

Matt Groening was a guest on David Letterman’s 12:30 show (the one Conan O’Brien would be taking over just a few years later) in 1989 to help promote “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”:

You can really see how Groening hasn’t yet got the hang of being interviewed.  He’s not uncomfortable exactly, but he’s very unpolished.  His stories are too long and Letterman has to bail him out a couple of times to keep things going.  This was a week before the special when nobody had any real idea of how it was going to go.  He’s nervous enough that he almost forgets to mention that it’s going to be on regularly in January.  The best quote comes right at the beginning when Letterman asks him how he knew he was a talented cartoonist:

Letterman: How did you know that you were good at this kind of thing?

Groening: The kids loved it and the teachers hated it.

Now here’s Groening the next year.  It’s not entirely clear precisely when, but it’s clearly after the show has become a major hit (they filmed some of the production process of “Krusty Gets Busted”): 

Granting that there’s a big difference between speaking extemporaneously with Letterman for eight straight minutes and having a news crew show up and follow you around, you can see how much more comfortable on camera he is.  He’s more self deprecating about both himself and the show and he easily swats away criticism of what they’re doing.  Also, there’s an indoor hammock. 


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