Singing with the Simpsons

Posted on Sep 19, 2014

Me and Yeardley Smith

Me with the gracious and amazing Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson)

In perhaps one of the most memorable weeks of my life, I had the opportunity to sing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) for The Simpsons Take the Bowl – a three night live concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons. It was the first and only time this had/will ever happen and let me tell you, they went all out. There was no part of the bowl that was not decked out for the event. From inflatable pink donuts, to Krusty Burgers at concessions, to wigs for the ushers, it was quite a sight to see.

What made it particularly memorable for me was that I was selected via audition for a small group of eight singers. Originally this group had one task – to sing the iconic “the simmmmmpppsoonnnns” at the opening of the Danny Elfman theme. Well, as rehearsals progressed and the producers kept throwing out ideas and numbers and gags (days before the show mind you), we found ourselves in five numbers singing backup for various celebrities including Hank Azaria (performing the Kwik-E-Mart Song), Beverly D’Angelo (performing as Lurleen Lumpkin), Weird Al Yankovich (closing the first act with a Simpsons spoof of the John Mellencamp hit Jack & Diane), and Jon Lovitz (performing a number from the Planet of the Apes musical episode).

In addition to all the backup singing, the full chorus (200 members) got to done Stonecutter robes and open the first act singing Spider Pig, the Stonecutter Song,  See My Vest a la Monty Burns, and of course, the Monorail Song with special guest Conan O’Brien. Yes, we sang with Conan O’Brien.

Nancy Cartwright

Me with some of the boys in line for lunch with Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson)

The experience was madness for all of us. Our small group put in at least 30 hours of rehearsal during week leading up to the show, which was, incidentally, on the hottest weekend of the year. On our second performance it was 102 degrees on the stage at 6pm. Crazy random things kept happening. One night I found myself having dinner with Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson) with a few of my small group comrades. Another night I was making Conon O’Brien laugh backstage by asking him if it had been his dream to sing with 200 gay men. He informed me, no, his dream was 300. At one rehearsal Hank Azaria wandered on stage and randomly started talking like Agador Sparticus from the Birdcage. I, naturally, lost it, and he proceeded to speak to me as Agador and criticize the color of my water bottle. I’m pretty sure I died.

I could go on and on, but the moral of the story is that this was perhaps one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done and of course was hugely tremendous exposure for the chorus, which is still being felt over a year later. Below you can see a youtube video of the whole chorus singing with Conan O’Brien.


For the LA Times write up on the concert, click here.