“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane was on Piers Morgan last night. I’m not a real “Family Guy” fan, but I recognize how gloriously obnoxious and funny it can be and I love how it pushes boundaries. There was a joke on “Family Guy” back during the Writers Guild strike of 2007-2008 making fun of Jon Stewart for continuing to produce shows instead of honoring the strike. (I can’t find that footage from “Family Guy,” so if any of you have seen it, please comment with a link!) After that happened, Jon Stewart personally called Seth MacFarlane up and bitched to him about it for an hour. On the show last night, Morgan questioned MacFarlane about this phone call with Stewart, and MacFarlane was all “how did you find out about this,” but he actually talked about it in a 2008 Time interview*. (I was ready to blame wiretapping.)
During the taping for tonight’s Piers Morgan, the muckraking Brit sprang questions about a never-revealed war of war of words between guest Seth MacFarlane andThe Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart. According to Morgan’s crack investigators, Stewart called the Family Guy creator up in 2008 after MacFarlane lampooned Stewart for continuing to air The Daily Show during the 2007 Writers Guild strike. MacFarlane described Stewart as “angry” and himself both “shocked” and “frustrated” during the hour-long the telephonic ambush. He explained, “I think [Jon’s] response was ‘Who the hell made you the moral arbiter of Hollywood?’”
When Morgan noted, “There’s a certain irony in Jon Stewart ringing up and haranguing you for mocking him, isn’t there?” MacFarlane responded, “If I say yes, he’ll crucify me on his show for a year.” MacFarlane, who admitted he was outmatched by Stewart’s phenomenal debate skills, was surprised Morgan even knew about the altercation, saying, “My publicist has forbidden me to talk about this ever since it happened.”
[From Entertainment Weekly]
Well MacFarlane did talk about this in 2008 as we mentioned, and after he told Time I bet that was when his publicist told him to can it.
I used to not get the appeal of this guy that so many of you adore, but now that I’ve seen him interviewed I get it. He has an infectious enthusiasm, and he’s open, funny and smart. I like what how he explained his position on this to Morgan. “In that situation I think it is incumbent on people in a certain position to stand up for the people who haven’t made it yet, if that can, if it’s low risk.
“My argument is that you’re the most successful guy on that network and arguably the most successful television personality in the genre…. He was not pleased. I think his response was, ‘who the hell made you the moral arbiter of Hollywood.’”
I really like Stewart’s humor and politics, and I get the urge to continue to put out shows during a long strike, but MacFarlane made a very good argument here. He also stood up for the union during the strike. Here’s a link to a video of him speaking at a WGA event in 2007. He said “A novelist receives fair royalties for their books, a musician receives fair royalties for their songs, screenwriters deserve fair royalties for their work.”
*Thanks to VideoGum for a lot of the background links!