Making of Animaniacs: Writers

welcome back to the Animaniacs volume 2 DVD I'm your host Maurice LaMarche and today we're going to be talking with the writers who gave these characters a voice will be discussing everything from how they came up with the characters to their favorite episodes along with some never before told tales from behind the scenes let's introduce our first group from left to right Paul rug Sherri stoner John McCann and Peter Hastings our second group Charlie Howell Gordon Breck Earl cress and Tom Minton and our third group Randy Rogel Nicholas Hollander executive producer Tom Ruger and Deanna Oliver what were each of you doing before you came to Animaniacs almost all of us came out of performing I knew Sharri and Deanna from The Groundlings we did sketch comedy and improv and John and Paul also perform together that Acme comedy favored I'll take credit for this I I hired all these guys that's true Shari we turned on her the first chance we go there yes yeah what was the atmosphere like working on Animaniacs the format of the show is so free you know it wasn't we weren't really there to tell compelling stories there was really had this kind of a feel of a sketch comedy show there's cartoons were different lengths and they could be this and you could do a real story you could recite the star-spangled banner or you could parody a commercial or you could do all these kinds of things and we had this tremendous freedom and the talent to back it up beat it your mouse you're ruining my cameo your cameo hey what about our cameo on Mac what's your whining over there hey who are you telling to quit whining she's talking to you I yeah y'all now quit it I'm not whining your whining we getting paid come pinky let us return to the story that was another like really amazing thing and I I don't know who was a champion of this or how we got away with this but we would have the main characters together record together Wakko Yakko and dot would be together pink in the brain would be together I mean it was a very rare occasion where the actress didn't get to play against each other it is George Hamilton know your tans better than his sonnets I don't want to hear not a peep from you stop people where did Yakko Wakko and dot come from you know yeah clack oh and dot are like in the tradition of Jerry Lewis and the Marx Brothers and they're you know these crazy people who enter a serious situation and you know wreak havoc welcome to you risk your life say the secret word and Wakko will hit you on the head with a mallet today's secret word is yes and Aristotle let's see here it says you are a philosopher is that correct yes you would find yourself being surprised by something Yakko would say and it would take the script in 180 degrees and and and I think that's because the characters became so so strong that sometimes you didn't really know where the script was gonna go but you knew it was gonna be crazy all right Sybil Who am I speaking to now we insist that you stop this you people are crazy look who's talking no it occurs to me yeah that if Yakko Aqueduct came and saw this happening they wouldn't put up with this they would be spilling it and stewing over at the table because this sort of the hey listen to his talk and stuff they didn't like this sort of thing just so you know then in 57 I made Kiki the sickly lemur would you like me to talk about it all right Kiki had no torso we're free were there any stories that you guys had that came out of your relationships with each other we felt like a team you know what I mean trying to work together to make stories better so like you were saying that we would go to each other for different story ideas like with the three musketeers like I was I was working away on that and I had just absolutely no idea how to end it and you came up with that they just sort of it Sheila McCrae the Viper the Viper survivor yeah I'm Devinder Viper I vibed of indoors the heck you thank you that's our show now let's meet today's cast playing the king Shayla McCray I can tell you one thing about slappy you don't have to use this but you know that you're responsible for coming up with her do you know that Oh what do you remember yeah we used to kid you about your yeah movie of the week yeah yeah years and years ago I used to I used to be an actress and I would be in these just TV movies of the week you know where you know I played all different kinds of teens in trouble that sort of thing and so and we've been friends forever and so we used to joke I used to you know like say you know you're gonna be 55 and you're still going to be playing these teenage kids you know and all dare I've run away from home I've run away from home and I'm here on the streets of Hollywood model I do now you know it's looking exactly like she does bro diet soda gotta watch my figure hey somebody's glad I'm watching now I heard there's a personal story behind I got your can sure yeah we don't just moved in to a new house my husband and I and um and I was writing at night as I frequently do and I was I had to get some air so sort of pacing up and down the block so I was drinking this diet coke and I was pacing trying to come up with the story and um I was trash day so I just put it in this lady's trashcan who was our neighbor then when I passed by against us excuse me that's my trashcan you're excused um would you mind probably look I ain't interested in Amway lady all right would you mind removing your can from my trash receptacle Allen Funt is a dead man and so I had to get the can out of the trash can and so then I just occurred to me that that would be a slappy cartoon where the Macan would would I would torment her with the can the other problem with that no but now you do what was your personal favorite episode I mean for me most of my favorite episodes are pinky the brain episode says that's what I wrote the first one was win big which was the story where they go on the game show and I remember uh when it came time to do a second one and I remember talking to Sheree and I think I had written the second one and then she said well where's the thing about you know are you pondering what I'm pondering or something all these things that are the catchphrases pinky are you pondering what I'm pondering oh I think so babe but we'll never get a monkey to use dental floss no pinky completely unintentionally all those things became the you know catchphrases for that and uh and then sherry took that and hit the home run of Bubba Bo Bob brain yes the home run the home run a Bubba Bo Brockman now Bubba Bo Bob brain for us I remember feeling that we'd really hit our stride with that one so take the compliment sherry he's giving you a compliment it was a very special episode and it was the one that I think the two characters really at there but you will respect me yes what's my plan is unfurled call me now pinky you are under my control you will do whatever I say I will do whatever he says spider God bloody be enough the luxury of writing Bubba Bo Bob brain which you would not have today is that for instance he sort of sits next to a character on a talk show that is sort of like dolly parts here's Bubba Bo Bob brain I'm your biggest fan what do you say to that I'd say puberty was inordinately kind to you we had a lot of freedom in terms of doing you know spoofing things and doing parody and stuff like that which generally you know you find that people don't want to do that or they're just so completely frightened of doing it that you know you can't how much of a difference did it make having that great Warner Brothers Orchestra 40-piece Orchestra the music for this series is so fantastic and Richard stone who's the music director for the show who wrote most of the music and along with Julie Bernstein and and some other you know talented composers got to work with this idiom which was a 40-piece Orchestra in the tradition of Carl stalling on the same stage in the same lot with the same piano and was just huge is a huge huge sound they would punctuate a joke that wasn't necessarily that funny yeah and make it work and make it work yeah Charlie Sheen Ben Vereen shrink to the size of a Lima Bean no good will come of this you come aboard your jaw's heart from laughing all day and it was haven't been a lot of places like that since no we're here to tell you it's not like that a funny business and and what's what's I think it's cuz we're olds yeah well what you yourself alright but I mean that was John and I his first you know job I mean my first job was Animaniacs and then having done other things I'm like wow that was not the real world you had like Peter said the 40-piece Orchestra just no treatments no outlines write whatever you want Gilbert and Sullivan you go write it because kids love that stuff and but we never asked that question our kids gonna watch it or they are they are they not it was exactly what we thought was was fine now I'd like you meet our next group from left to right Charlie Howell Gordon Bres AK Earl kress and Tom Minton before you came to write on Animaniacs what were you doing the four of us really came from a cartoon background yeah and the other people came from a lot of the other writers came from an improv background Gordon you have some theatre background I did some improv training but but really are we weren't hip you see we weren't the hip people we came from doing cartoons I'm just gonna shout out some episode titles and if you've got a story speak up this one's for Gordon and Charlie broadcast nuisance we actually broke things writing it yes the point we we were being troublemakers we were considered troublemakers within the unit at that time they wouldn't let us in the building and right and so we are writing reflected that time lunchtime we're skilled and then sometimes you know we just want to get some silly joke in like here today's headlines and now tonight's news time live headlines those headlines these headlines but first our forecast large party things here followed by big la fiebre things here is in video technology tuned and yes we will throw in the occasional puttan where's the tongue on a bun all right who's the ham on rye that's me just remember you said that we didn't yeah dubby valid come on go swatch ha yeah which I loved he went hip show it was a hip show well my favorite celebrity that we was although he didn't he wasn't caricatured in it was we had Eric Idle play pinky's father and his mother yeah which was that was a that was another episode that will Nestle Emmy yeah we were nominated for an Emmy for writing the stirring lyrics I'm pinky all alone and it's stinky which took hours I think to come up with uh Tom mitten how do you remind me of the Pinky and the brain episode puppet rulers talk a little about the genesis of that episode puppet rulers I like because um well it went from the fifties all the way into the 90s the idea of cryogenics everything quick pinky our cryogenic capsule awaits but vain why are we freezing ourselves at the height of our popularity to stay fresh in their memory pinky we must to paraphrase Milton Berle leave them wanting more see you in the future pinky when tomorrow's leaders will give us the world and there was something we knew about Albert Einstein Albert Einstein his favorite show had been of all things being in Cecil the puppet show but kiddies uncle Albert's doing an experiment and did you say it's time the real Einstein was here it's time for B Nia dropped whatever he was doing in the fifties and watch that show every day fifteen minutes no matter what he was doing amazing he smoked you dirty lamb free I love Meany and treacle I was minion tickles president the idea of going to Hope Arkansas I put that in there with the young Bill Clinton watching it and seeing being inspired by it I'd like to buy these please thank you here I know other Americans join with me in saying yes being a noodle noggin the great thing about picking the rain was you could take any absurd situation and you could put those two characters in it and brain with your brilliant performance Moe is so needy he just you know you just feel he just needs the recognition and it drives those stories and that's what makes any picky in the brain episode work but first we shall travel back to the primordial era alter the course of evolution and then return to the present to a world dominated not by humans but by mice and they shall choose me as their leader brilliant oh all right no no mmm why would I pick you because I'm very likeable and brain in terms of what he does and his drive is really the more childish she's the one who who has to get what he wants unreasonable unreal and throws tantrums and pinky really ends up being the supportive character between the two in that relationship sounds I guess also dude bride actually pinky that wooly mammoth was the only thing keeping the saber-toothed tiger at bay you know everybody says when you when you make cartoons for a living everybody always says oh that must be fun isn't that fun to make cartoons and Warner Brothers during that period was the one time where I could honestly respond to that safe yes yes I must release my conflicting issues and learn to love me talking about this show wouldn't be complete without our third group of writers from left to right Randy Rogel Nicholas Hollander executive producer Tom Ruger and Deanna Oliver what made the atmosphere for the writers in Animaniacs so creatively free for many of us this was as creative a situation as we could imagine it was it was a treat to come in and work on these things and then within a few months start really seeing them come to life and then we also had the pleasure of going to all the recording sessions and they really came to life then you know Deanna would write an entire musical so would I mean these three these three crazy cats they wrote a lot of not amuse a lot of musicals the sense of a word a sense of absurd by trying to do all this rhyming a sense of cádiz were singing itself it started to trail completely along it's time that we end it because it just doesn't make any sense nonsense doesn't make any sense we could fill out any idea you could either pitch anything it was just the most creative time of my life I don't know about you guys you kidding me no you could go in there I went in there with thousands of ideas most of which were rejected but knows doc well thousand songs oh okay I went in there with two ideas and half of them were thrown out but the one that stuck stayed forever which one was that chicken boom chicken poop I think the first week we were developing anything to do with Animaniacs Deanna said I got this green idea it's about a big chicken and he doesn't really think he's a chicken he's like human size and knowing when he wears a disguise no one really realizes he's a chicken but then when he takes the skies up they'll say hey you're a chicken then they they kick him out of town I'm saying he's a chicken what was the episode you started with the one that got you hired I think my first one was whack OHS gloves or white gloves and I think that was the cause of a lot of riff cuz Waco was kind of like he thought he was a starring role and and well it's all about his gloves and I think rug perpetuated I think rug and wackos started talking about now Hollander didn't want to write because Han doesn't like your acting and how under this and how under that but it's not truly with the gloves there with the gloves are very very very you so Randy Rogel comes on board over from Batman where they had no musical numbers whatsoever and he kind of shakes things up a bit tell us about that he moved into the office next door to mine and I had to go to a dentist and he did a root canal long story short he left the drill bit in my head you know up here my face explains oh I was very grouchy so he moves a piano he orders a piano a real full-size piano into his office so I'm sitting there miserable trying to write music the walls are this thin the piano was bigger than his office I didn't know how they got it when you open the door my door we go clunk they get to squeeze through it so I'm writing wait what can you hear the poodle sing barking the barks of angry dogs boom boom boom boom boom from next door and then I said who's that man with a plate didn't really talk agenda bell you know where did the great Wacka Roddy come from the great waka ride it was a sampling of Moe's incredible burping prize and then we had the good fortune of being able to take those burps and assign them sort of qualities and note qualities and then with the synthesizer raised them in pitch and thus the the musical stylings of the great walk erotic tell me a little about Katie kaboom what is the deal with Katie kaboom uh Katie kaboom alright yeah this is definitely from Nick's life of my life I had a stepdaughter have a stepdaughter who was going through that phase of that hormonal blossoming where she could be just so prissy and suddenly something works her and she would just go off I told her he was a chicken he's not a chicken Katie darling we're only trying to protect you from getting hurt you never liked my friends you never liked

14 thoughts on “Making of Animaniacs: Writers

  1. "Tom Minton, who do you remind me of?"
    If you know your Animaniacs history, you would know what Maurice was talking about.

  2. Agreed!!!! Brain is more Childish. Pinky was more content and therefore smarter, in his own way.

  3. Hi Tom – is that really you, the producer, writer, etc?

    Anyway, thanks for uploading these two videos. They are 8 years old already! And Animaniacs was .. 20 years ago? I was 25 then – maybe a little old, but loved it to bits! Even the episodes that dealt with typical American subjects, like the 50 State names or American history were nice to watch for us, non Americans. And we should not forget the YouTube favorite of Pinky & the Brain: Yes Always, nowadays dubbed with the real voice of Welles. Classics! Those were the times …

  4. I know the show's not around, but I was hoping that if there was second show, I'd help out with part of the writing, in this instance, some old and new characters would swear minimally, and for a darker effect, I could include scenes with fighting, emotional drama, or just suspense.

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