Meeting “God”


Yesterday, my girlfriend, Olive Oyl, and I were invited to sit in on a table read of the first episode of the new season of The Simpsons. If you’re not familiar with this term, it’s when a whole lot of people involved in the show––directors, producers, actors, writers, etc.––sit around a large table and read a new script. From this, the people involved are able to see what parts of the script are successful and which need work. Outside observers are often brought in so that those already familiar with the script can judge their reactions.

The table read it self was terrifically entertaining and interesting. We had a ball. After the read, our friend who had invited us and is a writer for the show (Tom Gammill), gave us an impromptu tour of the Fox studio lot. We visited sound stages and offices, that sort of thing. That, too, was interesting. As we were wrapping up and about to go home, our friend said let’s pop in here and see if anyone is recording anything. We ventured into a building and up to a second-floor sound recording studio where actors do the voices for the show. We first stopped in at the green room, a small room down the hall where guest stars are located before they record. There, sitting in a chair just like a completely normal person, was none other than Ricky Gervais, my personal hero in the field of dramatized comedy! I was beside myself.

PiraroGervais03-06-14I’ve met lots of celebrities before and have gotten used to it. I pride myself on not being overly impressed or fawning, realizing that these are just people like the rest of us, who happen to possess certain skills that have made them what the rest of us call “famous”. In this case, however, my regard for Gervais is so high that I found myself speechless. I proceeded to drool and mumble like someone possessing a very low I.Q. after having been awakened from a drug-induced sleep. I did manage to get my picture with Ricky, however, thanks to the able assistance of Olive Oyl. It’s a blurry shot, I know, but it’s one of those situations where you don’t want to inconvenience your idol with lots of “Wait! One more!” moments.

We chatted for a moment or two, then Ricky was called into the studio to record a commentary track for the episode in which he starred last season, along with Matt Groening and director, David Silverman. We were allowed to watch from the sound booth and it was hilarious. What a quick and hilarious mind Gervais has.

Ricky was remarkably kind, generous, and good humored with everyone he met there. You could tell by the reactions from the Simpsons’ staff that he was a joy to work with. Friends have asked if he was a fan of Bizarro, but I seriously doubt Gervais even heard my name when we were introduced as he had just arrived and had already met a dozen-or-so employees at Fox. To him, I was just another fan and/or employee at Fox, and that’s fine.

OliveOylSimpsonsWEBYes, I wish I’d said something more intelligible than “gshr, mah jhoschnil flrmn slrm glumbdrled!,” but I had no warning I was going to meet someone so high on my list of brilliant minds, so I had no time to think. What a dork I can be. As I watched hockey at home last night, I could not help but replay the moment over and over in my head and lament the fantasy that if I’d said something less stupid, Ricky and I could’ve been lifelong best friends. Sigh.

And, just for fun, here’s a shot of Olive Oyl moments after we arrived at the table reading, using her cell phone next to a largish sign asking her not to. In spite of how it looks, she had no idea the sign was there until after I took this pic. It made us laugh.




Also for fun, here’s a pic of me signing a poster they have in the writer’s room, which they get artists and performers to draw or sign. My pal told me that Gervais signed RIGHT NEXT TO MY SIGNATURE later that day! Imaginary importance by proximity!PiraroSimpsons

It was a damned fun day and I just wanted to share it with you Jazz Pickles.


48 thoughts on “Meeting “God”

  1. What a great experience! Should ask your friend if he can talk to Matt Groening about having the opening couch gag done in Bizarro style.

  2. That’s so cool! You look great together! I love Ricky Gervais…one of the funniest guys on the planet. Don’t blame you for being tongue tied…even if you are a celebrity yourself. I don’t think it’s ever possible to meet our idols without feeling like bumbling oafs. He is sure to be a Bizarro fan now…it’s right up his alley, don’t you think?

    Btw…Olive Oyl is a babe.

  3. Fantastic news. Your pictures are fine. I understand nerves and trying not to impose on celebs. I hope by now Gervais took a moment to come HERE and find that your mind is nearly as twisted as his. Woo hoo!

  4. What fun!! Hey, you never know – maybe now he’ll find this web site and then he’ll know without a doubt that he was in the presence of a fellow brilliant mind that day, and you’ll end up being BFF’s after all. :-)

  5. Yeah but Dan there’s tons of fans feel the same way about you..I think, right, come on people…do I hear a second and third on that motion…OH pickle people. wherefore art thou pre dilled jazz cucumbers…….(insert fawning and inane mumbles of star struck cartoon viewers in the absence of further commentary)…wait a minute I’ll get the ball rolling and write more praise under a pseudonym

  6. Love the guy…funny as hell and rants well on god and religion. Plus, when he smiles, you’ll notice he actually has vampire-like incisors….to go with the biting humor.

  7. Please tell me you are voicing a character next season, and/or writing a couch gag using your artwork. That’d be amazing!

  8. Most excellent! I admire you both so much and can only imagine what gibberish I’d have come up with to say if I were there. (Sometimes unintelligible gibberish is better than actual words, especially if startled awe brings on Tarzan-like syntax). :)

    (Olive Oyl is a rebel, even if only in retrospect). ;)

  9. Reminds me of that time I got to meet Dan Piraro in Sacramento – I just mouthed hello as I turned around and was stunned to be face to face with The Man. (Don’t know why I was suprised since I was there to meet you.)

    • It honestly never occurs to me that someone would be nervous when meeting ME. Seriously, I never consider myself a celebrity nor anyone that a person would be overly excited to meet. Thanks for your kind words!

  10. Dan –

    I remember once that a young man in college had a much-similar experience with you, and you even went so far as to humor him for a few *weeks.* When the situation was reversed, you were extraordinarily gracious with your time and energy. Thanks for being one of my heroes, even when I wasn’t sure of who I wanted to be. Your cartoon hangs near my studio and I frequently look at it for inspiration.

    – Pairsh –

  11. How cool for you! Ricky Gervais is a huge celebrity and comedic genius that still seems to enjoy life enormously. My love for him quadrupled when he commented that working with the Muppets was the high point of his career.

    To put it in perspective, though, you must realize that there are MANY Pickles that would mumble and drool in your esteemed presence. Just having you respond to a comment can result in a major *SQUEE* moment. Just you wait: Ricky will look up your work, laugh his delicious laugh — and y’all WILL become best friends.

    Looking forward to future collaborations!

  12. I’m very happy for you, Dan. I can just imagine if it had been me, suddenly introduced to — oh, say, Dustin Hoffman. And Olive looks good; she’s put on some weight since I first saw her in the 1950s.

  13. You’re too humble, Dan. In my book, you’re as much a celebrity as he is. I would be as tongue-tied if I were to meet you. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re a big star in the jazz pickle world!

  14. About your recent comic in Sunday, March 2nd, 2104, you made a grave, and I mean Saldam(?) Rushdie grave, dangerous error in your comic panel that will not only offend Islam, but Judaism and Christians as well. You put sandals on the feet of Moses upon Mount Saini(?), which, as I recalled in my Cathechism, was not allowed. When he was told to go up, he was told to remove his sandals because it was hallowed ground; thus, your error is blasphemous for three or more religions.

    • Damn! You’re totally right, I had forgotten that small detail of my own catechism classes. And now I shall burn in hell. Bummer.

  15. Dan, as a 75 + year old comic nerd, I have no real familiarity with Ricky or his work. I do, however, search for Bizarro each morning to get my day going. You rarely disappoint!

  16. Pingback: Steve Breen sings with Bono? Dan Piraro meets Ricky Gervais! The Daily Cartoonist

  17. A great tale. How fun. The cover of the March Funny Times, meeting Gervais. A Bizzaro is on a roll and it rules!

    Always an interesting head trip to meet a celeb.

  18. I don’t see much television so I hadn’t heard of the guy either, but after reading your thing I looked him up and – whaa? Unbelievable! Two hours of Ricky later and boom. Fan. Afterwards I checked out this Louis CK guy and again, boom. Awfully late getting to bed last night, but thanks for the lead. It’s amazing how these guys can lay themselves out there without the shame or guilt the rest of us carry and I see that in you, too, Dan. Performance of vulnerability, we call it comedy, provides freedom, I see.

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