Ricky Gervais, Seth Rogen and the celebrities who’ve written for The Simpsons

Not just anyone gets to write an episode of the long-standing animated comedy - but we've tracked down some of the famous faces who were given a shot...

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During its 25 years, The Simpsons has played host to a gaggle of celebrity guest stars.  A succession of famous faces (well, voices) have graced the cartoon with everyone from Stephen Hawking to Lady Gaga being immortalised in yellow.

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But while starring in the show might seem like a given once you reach certain heights of fame, a guest writing spot on the show is far more difficult to come by.

Here are the chosen few celebrities fortunate enough to have written one of The Simpsons’ 526 episodes.

Judd Apatow

Knocked Up director Jude Apatow wrote his episode of The Simpsons back in 1990, when he was a 22 year-old stand-up comedian with TV writing aspirations.

The show wasn’t interested in his ideas at the time but Apatow’s dreams of writing for The Simpsons were finally realised after producer Al Jean heard him mention the spec script in an interview.

The Superbad producer’s episode, ‘Bart’s New Friend’, focuses on Homer, who has been hypnotized into thinking he is a ten year old and ends up becoming friends with Bart.

The show will air on Fox on January 11.

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais is one of just a handful of stars in the show’s history to have both written and starred in an episode.

In ‘Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife’, the comedian plays Charles, a man who attempts to woo Marge when the family features on a Wife Swap-style reality show.

Marge rejects The Office creator’s advances, even after he serenades her with her very own love song, entitled Lady In Blue.

The episode was first shown on Fox in 2006 and was watched by an audience of 10 million.

Seth Rogen

In 2009, comedy actor Seth Rogen became another of the few celebrities to both write and star in an episode of the cartoon.

Rogen voices the character of Lyle McCarthy, a celebrity fitness trainer tasked with getting Homer into shape for a role in a superhero blockbuster.

The Superbad star and friend of Judd Apatow co-wrote ‘Homer The Whopper’ with his childhood friend Evan Goldberg, his collaborator on films including Pineapple Express and controversial release The Interview.

Rogen, a Simpsons superfan, was ecstatic at having the chance to star in the cartoon. He told the New York Daily News: “It was completely surreal. I was just in shock afterward. I felt like I had gone skydiving or survived an earthquake.”

Conan O’Brien

Talk show host Conan O’Brien was a staff writer on The Simpsons between 1991 and 1993, before going on to become to well-known talk show host.

O’Brien left the show in 1993 to take over from David Letterman as host of Late Night. He now hosts his own late night talk show called Conan and though now a fully-fledged TV personality, the star was incredibly nervous about joining The Simpsons’ team. He told Vanity Fair: “They showed me into this office and told me to start writing down some ideas. They left me alone in that office, and I remember leaving after five minutes to go get a cup of coffee.

“And I heard a crash, and I walked back to the office, and there was a hole in the window and a dead bird on the floor—literally in my first 10 minutes at The Simpsons, a bird had flown through the glass of my window, hit the far wall, broken its neck, and fallen dead on the floor. And I remember George Meyer came in and looked at it, and he was like, ‘Man, this is some kind of weird omen.’”

The presenter’s legacy lives on in the form of popular 1993 episode ‘Marge vs. The Monorail’. He even performed the insanely catchy ‘Monorail Song’ during a Simpsons live performance at The Hollywood Bowl, LA, in September last year. 

Edgar Allan Poe

And, finally, you may remember a certain yellow adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 gothic poem, The Raven.

One hundred and forty five years after their publication, Poe’s words are immortalised by the Simpsons family, who each act out roles in the story while the poem is read by actor James Earl Jones.

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The scenes appeared as the final segment of the show’s first-ever Treehouse of Horror Halloween special in 1990.