Hollywood. Thursday night, Norman Lear and Chuck Lorre sat down at the Writers Guild in conversation. Sitting down in front of WGA members, the kings of comedy who wrote and produced hits such as All In The Family (Lear), The Jeffersons (Lear) , Good Times (Lear) , Maude (Lear), Grace Under Fire (Lorre), Two and a Half Men (Lorre), and The Big Bang Theory (Lorre) talked about working in comedy.
When asked what Chuck Lorre show he watched, Lear admitted the only show he’d really seen a lot of was The Big Bang Theory. Talking about how working in comedy has changed over the years, Lear said, “There were only three networks,” when he was working on TV almost 45 years ago.
Lorre was asked what about Lear made him want to enter into the sitcom world said, “He (Lear) clearly made it obvious to everyone that comedy wasn’t predicated on contrived situations. Even the word sitcom fell apart when he began to work, because prior to that time, it was very appropriate, because the guy was married to witch. That’s a situation. An astronaut comes home with a genie. It’s a situation. It could be called a sitcom, but beginning with All in the Family, that was just life.” He added, “Good comedy was just life, people in relationships, in families dealing with one another. There was no more sit in the com. It was just comedy of life. That’s something that I got a taste of when I was on Roseanne 26 years ago. She was very adamant about pursuing that and she raised the bar. She really did.”
Lorre who also wrote and produced Mom (CBS) was asked if whether we’re in the Golden age of TV answered, “There’s a pendulum swing that’s really clearly . It became very conservative again in the 80s. Then it went through a great decade of sarcasm in the 90s. Frankly, I’m looking back at my own career now. The things I learn to do when I was on Roseanne, I applied them to a show I did called Grace Under Fire. I only did it for one year, but I applied the same rules to that and then I moved away from it. I can’t honestly tell you why I moved away from it.” He went on to say, “The big picture is to why it swings. Human nature would be the only answer I could have. It seems the country always finds the middle, but the swings can be terrifying.”
The two spent 95 minutes in conversation, even discussing everything from Lear comparing Donald Trump to Archie Bunker, to praising South Park. The evening ended with Lear revealing that he was working with Netflix on a modern One Day At a Time reboot. He said, “We’re doing a Latino version, a Cuban American version of One Day at a Time. With Rita Moreno and there are a few people who know Rita Moreno well and Justina Machado. I’m having a great time. They are wonderful.”
Check out photos from the event below.