Dan Harmon is an American writer and producer. Harmon is best known for creating and producing NBC comedy series Community, co-creating Adult Swim animated television series Rick and Morty, and co-founding the alternative television network/website Channel 101.
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I'm Dan Harmon. I'm a writer and showrunner currently working on a bunch of projects including HarmonQuest, Rick and Morty, and Harmontown. You can now watch deleted scenes from Season 1 of HarmonQuest in Expanded Universe. Now streaming on Seeso.
Hey Dan. It's spencer.
I was told I'm allowed to ask for more proof if I want.
Hey Dan. Is there one person, dead or alive, that you would choose to roleplay with you guys on Harmonquest? And why?
I held onto a hope this season that we could get Vin Diesel because I hear he's an avid roleplayer.
What's something you've always wanted to be asked during a Q&A, and what would your response be?
Q: "Dan, it seems like people tend to assume you're sexist because you don't shower and have that oppositional defiant disorder edginess that often comes with closet chauvinism among comedy writers, but is it true you're, like, super pro-actively invested in the obliteration of the entertainment industry's glass ceiling?"
A: I'm glad you asked that, Kevin, but you see, even with that question, we're already slipping into progress' biggest impedance within the male worldview which is the unspoken characterization of feminism as some kind of charity or favor. While pro-active steps need to be taken for any effective change to occur, in my opinion, my taking of those steps has never been me "doing right" by someone else. I've only followed my own inner sense of correctness in seeking out the most talented writers of any biological composition on the planet Earth and obliterating the obstacles between them and the achievement of their dreams.
Q: "Can I ask a followup question?"
A: Yes, if that's allowed.
Q: "Can we assume the same goes for race, aren't you, like, unbeknownst to most of the public, a huge advocate of racial people?"
A: Yes, Kevin, I have long said that racial people are just as great in any situation capitalism can muster as their more traditional, non-racial counterparts, but again, please stop giving me credit for making the world better because to me, I'm just engaging in common sense.
Q: "What about LGBTs?"
A: Kevin I hate to check you but I think you left a Q out of there -
Q: "- Oh, fuck -"
A: - Kevin, calm down, we're not going to become better people by punishing each other's ignorance, it's okay for you to be a flawed person. The answer to your question is yes, a thousand times yes, I am an advocate of literally everything it's possible to advocate and you can look that up, there's a paper trail, not that that's what this is about.
Q: "So, in summary, is it safe to say that you're like one of the only straight white middle aged men that the world shouldn't punish for the cultural atrocities of the before-fore times?"
A: Look, you said it, not me! I'm just a writer!
If you've watched it, what do you think of Donald Glover's show, Atlanta?
And what do you think of his casting as young Lando in the Han Solo movie?
I haven't seen Atlanta yet. I'm a bad friend. I hear it's great, I have to watch it.
How could anyone be anything other than stoked about him as young Lando...well, I guess maybe if I were still in college, I might respond with a thought provoking essay about physical traits like race and when they should be committed to in writing and casting but after all those spock logs were burnt would anyone be any happier and can anyone think of a better person to be young lando than old Troy, no sir.
What drink is in Rick's flask?
I tend to assume vodka and I know it seems unlikely that Rick wouldn't use sci-fi tech to somehow augment whatever he drinks but I think in rick's mind part of the "addiction" to the flask of good old fashioned booze is that it anchors his identity, and I think he knows that if he augmented the booze or the flask, then why not just whip up a very rudimentary nanobiotic alcohol dispenser in his body or inject himself with a plasma component that just amounts to always having a certain blood alcohol level, and I think the reason he doesn't do that is because he's a little afraid he'll lose sight of who he is
Hey Dan, long time first time.
So, what's up with the Community movie?
I don't know, man, sorry
Hi Dan. How's your day? Do you wipe back to front or front to back?
I wipe what you would call front to back I think but the thing that makes me (and apparently 40 percent of people polled) a monster is that I wipe STANDING UP, that's how I learned to wipe as a kid and I never got a "okay, now that you know how to wipe your ass, it's time to do it sitting down" lesson. I just got the "here, this is toilet paper, get the poop off your butt" orientation and now it seems that it's baked into my neurology because I tried doing it the sit-down way and I could sense that it works a little better technically but my brain just kept screaming WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, WHY ARE YOU REACHING INTO A TOILET WHILE YOU'RE STILL ON IT
I've read through about 100 questions now, and this one, even though you phrased it the best, seems to be the one topic left unanswered.
I think that might be for the best. In the words of Abed: tilts head "Maybe it is not the movie we crave. Maybe it is the notion of the movie. The idea that there is something more to come. The bond that keeps us united and holds us together."
*queues up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTyG5kiBYWs *
"Maybe we are all just humans wanting more. Our nature tells us to want a movie. But maybe what we need is a continuance. And the truth might be.... That a movie does not solve that. But a hope for it does. And the tension is what we really crave."
"Cool, cool, cool".
I'm not trying to be evasive, I just don't know how a project like this gets started
Hi Dan! I love Rick and Morty and Community so here’s my questions I guess.
Okay now for some real questions…
At what stage in your life did you decide you wanted to work in TV? Was it your first choice or did you have something else in mind first?
Seen as you have worked in both animation and live action, what do you see as the pros and cons of each. And which do you enjoy working on most?
Finally, what’s your overall vision for Rick and Morty. How long do you see yourself working on it? I’m aware that Rick and Morty can really go on forever, but what is your “six seasons and a movie” for the show?
TV was an accidental detour from what I thought was going to be a feature writing career - it started when Ben Stiller asked me and Schrab during a movie pitch meeting if we had any TV ideas...a very long story later, we ended up doing Heat Vision and Jack with Stiller and although FOX didn't pick it up, I had already gotten a taste of how much more empowered writers were in TV than they were in features and ended up sticking around for a few decades.
The pros and cons of live action and animation are pretty much what you'd expect: in live action, you can shoot the same scene from a thousand angles for a thousand takes and figure out how to assemble the scene in "post," but if you realize that a character should have been looking a different direction or wearing a different kind of hat, you're either CGing their eyeballs or you're screwed. In animation, you can make eyeballs and hats change until the cows come home, but on the other hand, your script has to be darn near finished before the first actor even records their first line. The funny thing to me is that in live action, you can type "a room full of people" and nobody will have a heart attack because actual humanity is cheap (Community for instance had a room full of background Greendalers always just waiting to be placed in a scene) but saying a room full of people in animation is a bigger deal because someone has to create each of those people, as if they were God, but also underpaid.
No vision for you! A hundred years Rick and Morty dot com!
What was it like working on Doctor Strange, especially so relatively late in the day on production?
It was a joy. I didn't have to deal with any of the pressures and anxieties that I'm sure are a constant over there. Stepping off an elevator into a lobby with a giant MARVEL logo is already insane, it feels like you're being brought into the Pentagon. Then to finally meet the mucky mucks over there like Kevin Feige was so refreshing and uplifting....I've been pitching and babbling about high concept stuff for twenty years and I'd gotten so used to this dichotomy of the "suits," who loved sports and couldn't wait to leave work and who barely cared about the medium, versus the writers, who were the only nerds on a movie, constantly irritating the suits with their logical points about the original property and who were looked at as a necessary evil that weren't welcome on set....so to step into that ministry, where it's official, we WON, the people that care whether a super hero movie is a good are now the people controlling everything...it just feels glorious, even before you get into the experience of them saying, "so, we haven't shown this to anybody yet, would you mind taking a look?" And getting to see what these things look like when they're 80 percent done...it was a breathtaking experience, I can't gush enough about it. It would be more than a dream come true to get back over there and talk to them about more stuff ...I mean, it's what we do for "fun" so if you imagine getting to do it for a check AND the possibility that you're somehow helping...it's as intensely orgasmic as you'd think, times ten. And I don't care how late in a production anyone might want to talk to me about projects in that genre...I'd love to get a chance to show them what I could do if I was there earlier. But we all know me, I'd probably just choke and screw everything up so maybe I should happy with my Dr. Strange tote bag and the bag of awesome weed Tilda Swinton gave me JUST KIDDING I didn't talk to her. I went to the wrap party. Steve Levy almost choked on a overly dry slider and had to puke it up near a very bummed out DJ. I'm telling you that because I know he'd want you to know.
you son of a bitch
Hey Dan, I've watched everyting you've ever made.
Do you have any plans for ex-community actors to make cameo appearances in Rick and Morty Season 3?
Are you kidding me, fuck those people!
Well, I'll tell you right now, Joel McHale is in an RAM season 3 episode and I literally just came to this AMA from a record session with Keith David reprising his role as the U.S. President.
Will you please hurry with the RAM? I am old, I mean OLD old. Rick and Morty is the best cartoon I have ever seen.
Don't let me die without seeing season 3. Please.
we are going as fast as we can my brother
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is my guess
I haven't heard that phrase in a while!
You are welcome on ANYTIME, you huggable so and so.
PS - my dick is like a clown: it's more annoying when it's horny
Hardwick! We've talked about the fact that "Mister Hardwick" is a man that owns a candle store in Debbie Does Dallas, right?
Are there any plans to start another role-playing campaign? I remember Spencer mentioning possibly using a different system, like Fate, to avoid contractual complications. I'm a few episodes behind so my apologies if this was brought up recently.
You mean in the podcast. Yeah, we should try to figure out something. I'd like to start fresh with a new genre, move the gameplay segment from the end of the show (when I'm hopelessly drunk) to the middle of the show (when I'm super sexy drunk) and make a decision to keep it among people that will basically be available every show. Like, me, Davis and Steve Levy for instance. We could call it Advanced Sausage and Sausage.
I appreciate your writing for its consistency and nuanced attention to detail, but I connect most with the emotional depth/honesty, and I wanted to ask you how do you make the choice where to draw the line in terms of what you do/do not discuss? You always seem to balance out the light/dark very well, and you know how to address darkness in a way that is never morbid, but actually productive (I don't know if it was your call to use 'Between The Bars' in Rick and Morty, but it was such an amazing choice; for me personally it was a surreal moment for its emotional straightforwardness, in the sense that one doesn't typically see it within popular mass media).
So, in short: how do you choose where to draw the line in terms of emotional honesty, or at what point do you find it to be counterproductive, as far as character growth is concerned?
Ew! Feelings! I have to pee, brb
Okay I'm back.
There is no line that I know in terms of what's "too far," whether that means too sentimental or too ...I don't know, controversial or confessional....a "boundary" is an artificial construct, we have to create boundaries when they involve other people, precisely because it makes empirical something that would otherwise be frustratingly subjective (like that neighbor that just kind of 'feels like' their yard extends into yours, in which case you have to go to city hall and pull out a map with lines on it). In matters of creativity - when you're sitting and writing dialogue by yourself, there's no lines needed because you're not having to function in cooperation, your job in creation, I think, is to scoop everything out of your pumpkin and slop it all onto the table. Seasonal metaphor! Once all the goop is out there, it's your personal taste that will guide you about what parts of your insides, in what portions, at what times, need a little salt, or are fine the way they are, or should just stay discarded. You'll find out what other people's lines are when you start presenting your work. And what you'll find is that one person's boundary is exactly what another person wants to see transgressed...and it's really all about taste. I don't observe any objective "right" or "wrong" in creativity...I feel like if more people felt more permission to experiment creatively, to work out their demons, confess their sins, question their governments, betray or make love to their species...well, we wouldn't be in the situation we're currently in. Seasonal metaphor!
Hey Dan, would you ever consider writing an episode of Black Mirror?
If my twitter feed has been any indication, I already have! Just kidding. I love Black Mirror (what a pointless thing to say, who hates or even moderately dislikes it) ...It would be amazing to write an episode, I don't know if I'd have the chops to commit to grounded sci-fi without bailing into the absurd, but I'd love to try. And in case it needs to be said, obviously the parallels between the "meow meow beanz" Community episode and the episode of Black Mirror that deals with the same topic are total coincidence. From what I've heard, the cosmetic details that are uncannily identical would have been the easiest thing in the world to change if you were really trying to rip something off, and nobody smart enough to write Black Mirror, let alone smart enough to write Black Mirror and WATCH COMMUNITY, is in the rip off business. If you start with "what if we rated each other" and set out to create a dystopic metaphor about it, it's a pretty straight path to a world arranged around a caste system of five star ratings. Can't wait to see it because obviously it's my jam. Do you guys still say "it's my jam?" Can I?
Dan Harmon, My man!
I love the show as much as Rick loves his grandkids, anyway call me Mr Needful but when are we going to get the new series of Rick and Morty? Also will we see more Ball Fondlers in the new series ? i just love Ball Fondlers. Thanks for the best show ever.
I'm not authorized (nor would I really be able) to give you an airdate for season 3. As for Ball Fondlers, I'm afraid they haven't made it back so far....
/u/thesixler /u/danharmon Justin Roiland and Reggie Watts were asked if they were going to be on HarmonQuest while doing an event in AltspaceVR last week. Did Justin ask you about being on the show yet? FYI they made a pact that they would only do it together! Here is a recording of the video where the question was asked at 36m01s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Nu5cPqZFF8&t=36m01s
I don't approve of this teamup so I'm certainly not going to reward it. If Reggie and Justin would like to individually team up with me so that I can control them, I'll think about it, but this collective bargaining thing has to be shut down if capitalism is to succeed
What movie(s) did you wear out from watching so much as a kid?
Up the Creek
Better Off Dead
Revenge of the Nerds
I know there's more, maybe I can come back and add
Hi! Thanks for doing this! I've been a long time fan of Community. So I have 2 questions for you:
What was your favourite part of working on Community?
Will Erin be back for season 2?
Yes! I'm sure a lot of people agree she was a major part of what made season 1 fun, you can't just willy nilly throw together good chemistry between performers. And imagine how toxic and nutty it would be to replace someone on your cast whose only crime had been giving the concept of marrying you a whirl. The live action parts of season 1 were shot smack in the middle of that marriage's most challenging chapter, so I'm assuming it's going to be a cake walk for both of us now. If you're a casting director on a show, I recommend hiring Erin McGathy because she's clearly unflappable.
Any news on the second season of Great Minds? I need more of you and /u/thesixler in my life.
Great Minds is tragically on hold for a bit....the only way to do that show was to shoot from 7am to 7pm on saturdays and sundays and after doing that for 10 episodes worth of time while in the thick of Rick, I was in danger of ...well, I don't know what the risk is, "burning out?" I remember one sunday night I was alone at my house having come home from shooting Great Minds and I had to get up in the morning to go to Rick and Morty and something weird happened, like I started laughing and shivering like a weirdo, and I just kind of noted that, like "okay, that's not normal, I think humans might need weekends."
What's this I hear about Chinese Murder Vans?
Are you talking about the actual murder vans in China or are you using outmoded racist slang for an ambulance?
Heyyyyy, that's pretty good.
karma point gold things or whatever! Zap zap! Karma zaps!
What's your personal best Roy score?
I'm not as good as other players at retaining my real-life memories, so I tend to end up with a pretty low score doing the same thing over and over again in Roy. When the teacher tells the class to think about a career, I choose writing in order to avoid hard work, then I end up moving to Hollywood and working pretty hard for 20 years and I finally get to do a roleplaying show on a streaming service, but then when I'm promoting it by doing a reddit AMA, someone always asks about my Roy score at which point my brain 'aofj fqwe jfdflalsdf adkafa adfa
Would you ever consider making ball fondlers a spinoff show?
If it's not clear by now that I'm willing to make anything, I guess I have more work ahead of me!
What do you think of the Russo's work on The Winter Soldier and Civil War? Are you excited for Infinity War?
I find myself wanting to rewatch the scene where Nick Fury's SUV does its best to repel a global siege.
I'm as excited for Infinity War as you....but I'm also fully ready for some solid 90 minute non-origin movies showcasing particular heroes.
If you had to choose 1 episode from season 4 of Community that you actually liked, which episode would it be?
I would pick Jim Rash's episode because everyone else does and I don't want to get yelled at anymore about season 4 nor do I ever want to have to watch it again.
Why do you think Community and Rick and Morty have such devoted fandoms?
I think it's that Community and Rick and Morty don't punish obsession. I remember Megan Ganz coming to work on Community and she seemed kind of bummed out and told us that her therapist, having listened to all of her frustrations about working on Community, finally said, "but isn't it just a show?" And the reason Ganz was bummed out by that was because she knew right then and there that she now had to go and find another therapist. Nobody that worked on Community or that works on Rick and Morty has the capacity to regard the show as unimportant - people that feel that way quit - and I think you can feel through the screen that if you were to approach someone working on Rick and Morty with a costume or a tattoo or a question that indicated that Rick and Morty was YOUR LIFE, you wouldn't risk that person going "ew, you got a Rick and Morty tattoo?" The shows I like and the shows i like to think I make are shows whose wildest dream is to be studied, loved, analyzed, etc.
Why would a Harmenian steal a poor boy's haunted house banner?
I haven't the slightest idea and I thank you for sharing my outrage and I'm glad that situation unfolded the way it did because it brought me face to face with the fact that I truly love and trust my podcast audience like they're my family. Like a family where ideally nobody needs to borrow money. And where one of the family members gets all of the attention and charges ten dollars at the door. But a family.
What is your favorite fan theory of Rick and Morty?
I don't know if this counts as a "fan theory" but there was a guy that totally predicted the Council of Ricks as soon as we started messing around with alternate timelines. They even referenced the Fantastic Four's "Council of Reeds" or whatever it was called, which we hadn't even known about, I don't think, but which we were sort of ripping off. I mean, the guy saw that we were doing alternate timelines and was immediately like "oh, this means they could do a council of ricks if they wanted," and we were pretty stymied by that because it's exactly what we were writing when he posted that. That doesn't happen a lot. But you're more asking about stuff like "I think Rick is actually Goldenfold in disguise" or "all of Rick and Morty's episodes are a simulation" or "when Rick falls asleep in episode 2, the rest of the series until episode 8 is a dream, then he wakes up for two episodes and then season 2 is all the label of a milk carton in his fridge, which he drinks out of, and then season 3 is a dream again." I don't really have favorites of those, they all strike me as fun, I want people to enjoy the show with 100% of their giant brains, but a big part of me, when I hear about that stuff, always thinks, "wait, are you saying that if we were big enough dicks to screw around with you that much, you'd like the show?" But I don't think those folks are thinking about it from that angle, I think they're just blissfully analytical and love decoding stuff and I salute them but I haven't seen a "theory" that I truly love.
You seem like the kind of guy that doesn’t give too much of a shit about what anyone thinks. What's your best advice on handling or taking criticism?
Well, you're wrong. It's kind of the opposite...I only give a shit about what anyone thinks. So much so that I've been through stuff where I had to just face the painful fact that a lot of people aren't going to be predisposed to like me...and that the harder I try to CHANGE that, the less likable I become. At a certain point I think a lot of us make the practical calculation, and say "well, I'm not really getting anywhere trying to justify myself to anyone...and come to think of it, people justifying themselves to me aren't my favorite encounters...I kind of like these people that don't seem to give a shit and are just themselves." Then you make the decision: "okay, I'm going to be one of those people. I'm going to not give a shit." then you fail at that because it's fake, you do give a shit, and over time - over an agonizing amount of time, an amount of time so long that perfecting this science will directly precede your death - you find a confusing paradoxical balancing act, in which you truly don't care because you truly care and you know that the more you care you the more you can't care. I hope that helps. What am I talking about, of course it doesn't help, you've been hearing some version of that advice your whole life. It can't be conveyed or passed down, really. I think that's just life. Or at least society. That's our lot as individuals living in a hive. We care too much until it hurts and then we act like we don't care until we get called out on it and then we come clean about caring and people go "ha! That was funny when you came clean about caring" so then we try to come clean about caring until that gets stale, etc.
What are your favorite movies that break the story structure that you use/preach? (PS I use it religiously)
Hmmm....I guess Terrance Mallick's stuff stands out...but not if you look at structure as, on a basic level, "descent, initiation and return." I saw Bad Lieutenant - the Harvey Keitel one - in the theatre when I was a teenager and I haven't seen it again but from what I remember it was decidedly unpredictable, as if the goal wasn't as much telling you a story as it was to put you in the shoes of a life that had lost all structure to drugs. I felt kind of delightfully displaced by The Dark Knight ...when it got to the scene where the Joker [SPOILERS] is in the interrogation room, something started to happen where the movie felt like it was well past what "should have" been a Batman movie but you wanted more and more and you were getting it and I remember thinking, "oh, this movie's really successfully subverted feature structure in order to give you the equally satisfying feeling that you're in a graphic novel or series of comics." But that could have been me geeking out and giving everyone's favorite Batman movie whatever credit it needed.
Correct, I find this interesting.
And that means it's REALLY interesting because you live on a continent where a spider can drag a mouse up a refrigerator and the neighbor's response is "whoa."
Thanks for doing this AMA! My question is what is the process of creating characters for Rick and Morty like?
A lot of times it's like a crazy person running up to a whiteboard in the writers room and drawing a turd monster with breasts for testicles. And that crazy person's name is Justin Roiland, or, as I call him, Li'l Goldmine!
I was just wondering if you'd thought about or if there's a chance at all for another Harmontown tour?
We'll be in Australia in December but that very likely is only of interest to Australians.
I’m your average 24-year-old wannabe TV screenwriter. Year after year contests and fellowships alike reject my specs, pilots, features, and shorts. I’ve now begun to doubt my skill and love for this craft. On top of that, it’s next to impossible to break in as an office or writer’s PA.
It’s gonna be okay, right?
Yeah, because there's a lot of people jockeying for the job of "making shit up," which means there's an overwhelmingly statistical potential for disappointment in your chosen field. And that's great news because it means you're either going to realize that if you had to, you'd do it for free or you're going to realize that when push came to shove, you'd be fine doing something else and maybe writing as a hobby, etc. Nobody can tell you that it's going to work out. Outcome can't be controlled, we're not luck writers, we're screenwriters. So all one screenwriter can say to another is, hey, it's a tough racket for a really long time with random pockets of insanely good fortune to be found..therefore...you have to be in it for the one thing you actually do get to decide, which is that you want to be in it. Would you write screenplays if you were on a desert island? If the answer is yes, you should stick with it because what the hell else are you going to do that's going to make you happy.
And yeah, I think it's going to be okay. But it could take a long time. Like longer than medical school long. Which is part of why we're dealing with such a systemic lack of momentum in terms of diversity among writers, because, as it turns out, more white people can tell their parents they want to be a writer and not have anything pan out for a decade...how did I make your question about race, I don't know. I have to carry this laptop into the edit bay now but I'm not going to stop answering stuff yet.
When is Kumail coming back?
You son of a bitch
Will we ever see Birdperson again?
It has been a challenging season for Birdperson. But you never know....
Any chance you'll be back on @midnight again? You and Jeff were hilarious last time!
Also, patiently waiting on the Community movie! Any news you can share?
I think that episode won an Emmy! I mean, they have to submit an episode and they picked that one but I think they won an emmy for being the best show in their category. Still, you'd think they'd be like, let's get that emmy maker harmon back up in here
Have you heard the How Did This Get Made episode of Xanadu? It's pretty good.
I did and I was amazed at the trivia which I had never bothered to look up but it all makes so much sense now
Years after writing Story Structure 101-6, would you change anything about them? If so, what and why? If not, also why?
Also, small hope you at least pass over this at least so I can thank you. I would listen to your commentary on Rick and Morty S1 to relax while trying to sleep. That might sound kind of insulting, but it helped during an especially difficult point in my life and led me to figure out a how to fall asleep more easily after years of insomnia.
I don't have any real alterations I'd make, like "oh, I put the threshold in the wrong place," but I do have a much simpler view of the circular story model, based on years of breaking well over a hundred stories with it...little tricks that make viewing a story even easier and I guess a little less out-and-out hero's journeyish in favor of something more fundamentally geometrical. I'm hoping to share these discoveries in some part of the book I'm writing for Doubleday, in the chapter between the shit from my childhood nobody cares about and the Chevy Chase stuff I forced everyone to care about.
Hey Dan! What's the plan/progress with the new series on Youtube Red with the Game Grumps?
I'm very excited about that. I've only met one of the two Grumps but I've been watching (listening to) their stuff and I'm very fond of them and the potential for creating great characters for them. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say at this stage so I have to assume I'm not allowed to say anything. It was a concept brought in by Michelle Morrow and I got very intrigued by the developing world of E sports as a backdrop for an ensemble comedy ...I asked two Rick and Morty writers that are avid gamers if they'd be interested and they were and they've been doing a fantastic job. The folks at YouTube seem very smart and passionate about making a great show and as we speak, we're beginning the scripts
I watched the final Community episode while working today. My wife is listening to Joel McHale's book right now because she fell in love with everyone from Community. We're anxiously awaiting R&M S3. I watch Harmontown, Great Minds, watch you any chance I get when you're doing an interview or something.
I guess my question is, what the hell is it like to be a sort of cult of personality or a brand onto yourself, where nerds like me flock to your shit just because we see your name on it? Is it surreal? Is it weird? Do people ask for autographs when you're taking a shit in a Starbucks bathroom?
Everybody's really nice to me. And there's been so many times when a stranger has suddenly said "holy shit it's Dan Harmon" or "by the way I didn't want to freak you out earlier but I'm a big fan of your work" that I now get to assume, just as a mental exercise, that at least one person in any room I enter is a fan, which makes me feel confident and also puts me on my best behavior because this theoretical "fan" is watching and I don't want them to think I'm a bad person. So on one hand, achieving notoriety is definitely surreal in that it's nothing like reality, but on the other hand, all it really does is make reality the way reality should be for every single individual. And I've been kind of interested in that concept recently: the idea that what "fame" really is, on the receiving end, is the feeling that "everyone" knows who you are and what your value is, which is the feeling everyone would have if we were living in tribal-sized populations that matched what our DNA is "designed" to experience. And I feel like if we all pretended that not only we were famous to everyone around us, but that everyone we saw was also famous, it might help us remap our agoraphobic, competitive, inside-out brains. But to answer your question, what it's like is ...it's natural, it feels like my job and it also feels like I won a contest and it feels like a dream or a video game but, in dreams and video games, I'm able to leave my bed and go out into the world. And I know I'll miss it very much when it's all dried up but it's kind of fun to think about that all the time too. So I've never once been annoyed by anyone bugging me, and, incidentally - and i think this is just because fans of my work are smart and sensitive - not a single fan I've ever encountered has ever behaved rudely toward me. The only times I notice people are a little "out of line," it always turns out they have no idea who I am and just gleaned that I was "famous or something" from someone else and want to get a selfie or an autograph out of some generic mainstream compulsion. Or if I do a panel in an environment where there's people that just want someone to help them get work...but the theme there is that these are always people that have no connection to me whatsoever, and we all have to deal with assholes like that. My fans are truly the best, I would put them up against anyone else's fans in a Pokémon style battle. Can you imagine Aziz Ansari's fans? Joan Cusack fans? Good lord. We would easily destroy them and take over all their gyms.
No new Harmontown episode this week??
Sorry! I took halloween off to spend with my girlfriend. We carved pumpkins. My therapist's gain is the audience's loss.
Hi Dan. Quick question, what made you decide to work on an eSports YoutubeRed series with the GameGrumps? It sounds like a perfect combination, so I was curious about how it came to be.
Answered this to some extent in another question. There's probably a way to link to it but I'm old! Good thing I'm writing a video game comedy for YouTube!
What is your favorite scene that was cut from rick and morty?
I can't think of anything good we've cut....bad memory or great show, you decide!
Hey Dan. As a fellow bearded man, do you ever shave, look at your beardless face in the mirror, and think "what the fuck have I done"?
Oh dude. Yeah. Yeah.
How much of a contact high do you get riding in Spencer's car?
I think it's more of a resistance, I'm just made of pot now
Hey Dan you'll probably never see this because you're obviously a popular guy. I just wanted to let you know that community really got me through some tough times in my life. It really helped me laugh when all I wanted to do was sulk and be angry at the world. So thank you so much for helping get my out of my dark space.
Now my question is what's the best way for someone in the graphic design field to start getting work in TV/movies?
I did see it! Now who's popular you son of a bitch? I don't know how to start getting work as a graphic designer. If you were an architect I'd say this is easy, just design a building that functions like a trap and try to trap powerful hollywood people...but that would cost millions. And you're not an architect, you're a graphic designer. I can only guess that maybe there's some way to create a "logo" for yourself that's so well designed that when people look at it, they're like "oh I need one of those," and then just put that logo on all your clothing and a big version on your car if you have a car. I guess what I'm suggesting, on a certain level, is that you become the opposite of batman, striking the opposite of fear into the hearts of the opposite of criminals.
Are Googas more like Ghoulies or Alf?
I personally think they're like ghoulies.
What is Duncan Trussell hiding?
He hides in plain sight. Illuminati all the way
Hey Dan! Huge Community fan. Had the debacle surrounding the Season 4 of Community not happened, what were your ideas for that season?
Technically the debacle started before season 4 because one of the primary things I had intended to do was have Jeff Winger reunite with his Dad in season 3. The beginning of my firing, I think, was when I got a call from one of the compulsively unenjoyable personalities at NBC who just wanted to let me know that he had just had lunch with someone "very, very high up" [by the way, this is the kind of shit I will not miss about network television, why are you WITHHOLDING THE NAME of someone you're about to give me a note from] that was "concerned" because they had recently seen a little bit of Community and it had been Joel McHale attacking the study room table with an axe and so this anonymous wizard that eats lunches and watches five minutes of Community per season's concern was that Community was a very angry, dark show, and this weird, rambling, possibly pharmaceutically enhanced executive on the phone had recalled that I had mentioned Jeff Winger might meet his Dad in season 3 and he just wanted to warn me to make sure that story "wasn't dark." And instead of just saying "okay" and doing whatever I wanted because, I mean, they just admitted they don't WATCH THE SHOW, I kind of snapped inside and said "well, you're kind of getting into my territory, there, yours being politics, mine being story, and I don't want to promise you that the story of a maladjusted solipsist reuniting with his estranged con artist father in the third chapter of a four chapter story, placing it directly at the cosmic navel connecting everything to everything, isn't going to involve a pretty deep level of mythical atonement, so why don't I just kill that story and I'll do it in season 4 when maybe it won't be an issue because there's a lot of turnover where we work." It was flip and dismissive and pissy and he took that to heart, or maybe he just took another klonopin but then mixed it in his heart with red wine and started crying and then screaming and then woke up in a koi pond and could only remember that I was bad news. And that was the season NBC took us off the schedule and when I realized the most important thing that I had ever done was in the hands of people that loathed it and didn't watch it, I started doing all kinds of self destructive shit, like drinking more, eating adderall like tic tacs, developing a cartoon I could transfer my passion to at a network run less like a Wicker Man island and starting an animation studio. So then I got fired for season 4, not a huge surprise and there wasn't a lot that needed doing season 4. The folks running season 4, in terms of overall narrative stuff, did the only things I had "planned for season 4," like graduating Winger. Which was great, they didn't leave us holding any bags for season 5. We had the same challenges facing us for season 5 we would have had no matter what. Plus we got to knock "muppet episode" off the to do list. Did I answer a question? Can we stop talking about season four of community, every time it comes up I end up in a headline about what a bad person I am.
Hello Dan, as anybody here I'm a huge fan of all your work, thanks for being awesome.
Here are my questions
How is the relationship with the Russo Brothers?
What piece of advice can you give to someone that want to make cool content?
How do you think we can make the world a better place as filmmakers?
I ran into the Russo Brothers at Marvel one day and we seemed excited to see each other on the surface and I know for my part, it was genuine...I don't know what they'd say, they might hate me or love me or anything in between...Collaborating on Community was a real roller coaster ride, we were best friends one day, enemies the next. It would be great to get the opportunity to work with them in some capacity at some point before I retire, for the sake of closure, because I feel like therapy's been changing my neurology (and I'm just mellowing with age) and I'd love to go into the next life having closed that chapter on the positive note it deserves, given how much great stuff we made together for several years.
Hi Dan. I joined reddit nearly 6 years ago to check your AMA then. I'm still stuck here so thanks a bunch.
Any chance of a London Harmontown in future?
I certainly want to do a whole tour in the UK, I'm sure Jeff does too. It'll just be a question of when it works schedule wise.