Dana Gould: From grocery bagger to Simsons producer | AspenTimes.com

Dana Gould: From grocery bagger to Simsons producer

Chad Abraham
Dana Gould performs in the Experts Only show with Russell Peters and Paul F. Tompkins today at the Tent in Wagner Park. (Courtesy U.S. Comedy Arts Festival)

When someone has the greatest job in the world, it’s only fair to ask him about the other end of the spectrum.Dana Gould, an executive producer of “The Simpsons,” said his worst job ever had to do with produce. And scorn.”Bagging groceries on Cape Cod during the summer was a drag,” said Gould, originally from Hopedale, Mass. “Beautiful, beautiful women shopping and you’re the lowest form of human life they encounter that day.”Gould, performing stand-up during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, said his comedy has always been autobiographical.”Now, basically I’m tearing apart my sedentary life,” he said. “The last time I was [in Aspen] I was an angry young man and now I’m an angry old fart.

“It changes so quickly.”As a producer and writer on “The Simpsons,” Gould has contributed many lines. But his favorite joke didn’t make it into the show. And it will not make it into this article. Let’s just say it has to do with the Dr. Nick character and what the enlightened Legislature of South Dakota just banned.His best line that did make it was uttered by Principal Skinner – “Lisa Simpson is out of control. She’s like a female Eleanor Roosevelt.”His favorite line of all time from the show?”It was a flashback to when Marge told Homer she was pregnant with Bart. She said, ‘Homer, do you ever think about the future?’ And he said, ‘You mean, will apes be our masters?'”

He described being petrified when he first started on the show. He was a consultant who came in a couple of times a week to punch up jokes.”Every time my phone would ring, I would think it would be my boss calling me into the office and saying, ‘There’s been a horrible mistake,'” Gould said.But after his consulting contract was up, he was asked if he wanted to remain full time.”Ye-ye-ye-ye yeah!” he said.Gould also commented on the eternal “Simpsons” question: How is the film version of the show coming along?

“What are you talking about?” he said, melodrama dripping off his voice. “There’s a bunch of executives sitting in a board room at Fox, and somebody says, ‘Hey, guys. I know a way we can make a billion dollars. Should we do it or not?'”Along with his stand-up performance, Gould was also in the festival show “Fired.” He described it as performers “gleefully reciting personal stories of degradation to an adoring crowd.”Despite the writing stature of “The Simpsons,” Gould says he still loves performing on stage.”I still think of myself as a comedian who writes. I’ve stopped touring because I have little kids, but I still perform all the time in Los Angeles,” he said. “If I don’t do it after awhile, I get really antsy.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com

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