What is the funniest TV show on that you're not involved with?
Bill Maher [HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher"]. It's the most unexpected, consistently surprising, the most incisive in every way. It's the only show I watch that gets me laughing out loud.
What show really needs some Emmy love?
How about "The Simpsons"? They did try to submit in the comedy category in the '90s and suffered from doing it in an era of juggernaut comedies like "Friends" and "Seinfeld" and "Cheers" and whatnot. And "The Simpsons" was as well written, if not more so, as any of those -- but suffered from the prejudice against the medium. So I think perhaps in reparation for that, they should give them an honorary achievement Emmy. . . .
Who have you not had on as a guest that you'd really want?
It would be pretty cool to have Woody Allen on. There's no way he'd do it.
Can you point to any particular person or show that influenced you besides Jackie Gleason or "The Flintstones"?
"All in the Family." Norman Lear invented the modern sitcom medium as we know it. It was a great thrill to learn he was a fan of the show. He called the office one day to say that he watched the show, and that was probably the greatest compliment we could receive. That show is about as good as it gets. You put "All in the Family" up against any live-action sitcom on the air right now, and it's edgier and sharper than any of them. It's shocking how much more cutting edge it is, and it was 35 years ago.
-- Michael Ordona