How The Simpsons predicts the future

On 8 January 2021 Al Jean, the Showrunner and Executive Producer of The Simpsons joined the Intellectual Forum and the University of Cambridge's ThinkLab to discuss his unique perspective on how the long-running animated show has reflected – and at times perhaps shaped – how we think about the political world. 

It has been a tumultuous past few years of politics in many parts of the world. Humour and political satire are some of the ways that we often cope with upheaval and uncertainty – Al Jean shared some of his insights and experience from over three decades of being part of one of television’s most iconic television shows. 

This event is now available to watch online.

More about the speaker

Emmy Award-winning producer/writer Al Jean has worked on The Simpsons since it became a series in 1989. He has a credit on over 500 episodes and been showrunner for 20 seasons. 

In addition to nine Emmy Awards, he has won two coveted Peabody Awards and was nominated for two Golden Globes. Currently he serves as executive producer and showrunner. He also served as writer and producer on The Simpsons Movie(which took in over $525 million worldwide), working heavily on the film throughout its entire four-year production and was producer and writer on the Oscar-nominated short film The Longest Daycare and 2020’s short Playdate with Destiny.

Jean co-created The Critic and Teen Angel and served as producer of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, for which he won three CableACE Awards. Other television credits include The PJ’s, Alf and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Episodes of The Simpsons Jean has written or co-written include “Moaning Lisa,” “The Way We Was,” “Treehouse of Horror II & III,” “Stark Raving Dad,” “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala (annoyed grunt) cious,” “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder,” “Day of the Jackanapes,” “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas”, “Mr. Lisa’s Opus”, “Daddicus Finch” and the Emmy-winning “HOMR.” 

Al also co-wrote Funny or Die’s SNL Presidential Reunion Video which is credited with helping establish the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, Jean served as vice president of the college’s humor magazine, The Harvard Lampoon.