John P. McCann
|John P. McCann|
John P. McCann, 2008
|Born||John Patrick McCann
1952 (age 60–61)
Elmhurst, Illinois, United States
|Spouse(s)||Joy McCann (1962-present)|
John P. McCann is an American-born writer, actor and producer who has mostly focused on writing/producing animation and family-friendly scripts in the past. He is best known for his work on television cartoons, for which he has received numerous awards, but he has also produced live-action screenplays and television scripts. At present McCann is also working on short stories, and a novella. His fiction tends to be either darkly humorous or horror-related.
McCann was featured on a panel in July 2008 at Comic-Con with other veterans of Warner Brothers animation, discussing Tiny Toons, Freakazoid, and Batman (the panel included Jean MacCurdy, Sherri Stoner, Andrea Romano, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Paul Rugg).
Born in Elmhurst, Illinois in 1952, McCann grew up with his brother and his sister (Mary McCann, now a well-known radio DJ in her own right, based in Seattle) in the greater Chicago area—mostly in Skokie. McCann's first memory of making someone laugh is said to have been in a moment with his father. He did standup for some years in Illinois, where he met Arsenio Hall and Jay Leno.
Acting and improv work
McCann moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to become a writer. Distracted by acting for a while, he worked at two separate comedy improv groups— The L.A. Connection and M.D. Sweeney's Acme Comedy Theater (formerly Two Roads Theater; Sweeney has sold the theater, and now runs the restaurant and club next door, said to have been an investment of Acme Alumnus Adam Carolla). Writing comedy skits enabled him to hone his abilities with dialogue and narrative, and to explore the way comic timing is affected by the needs of a story: he was no longer simply throwing out one-liners. He reached the summit of his acting career, he claims, as a double for Duncan Regehr (as Errol Flynn) in My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn.
After Paul Rugg joined Acme Comedy Theater, Rugg and McCann were recruited by Tom Ruegger and Sherri Stoner of Warner Brothers Animation for freelance scripts. Ruegger then brought both Rugg and McCann aboard at Warner Brothers, where they worked as part of Jean MacCurdy's brain trust on Animaniacs and Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!. McCann later worked on Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, a spinoff of Pinky and the Brain, which was ironic: the first script he'd written for Ruegger had been an experimental workup of a spinoff from Tiny Toons, using Elmyra as the main protagonist.
Along with being the creative force behind Freakazoid!—along with Rugg—McCann performed the voice for Douglas Douglas, Dexter Douglas' father, and for Hero Boy. The Freakazoid! character Lord Bravery was actually drawn to look like John P. McCann.
McCann has received a Peabody Award and been nominated for seven Emmys—including one for songwriting—and has received three Emmy Awards: one for Animaniacs (as a writer), one for Freakazoid! (as a producer), and one for Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain (as a producer). At Warner Brothers, he worked not just on those titles, but also on Ozzie & Drix, Batman Beyond, and a speculative series based on the character Lobo from the Superman Comic Strips that never got off the ground. He also produced a couple of public service announcements for the U.S. State Department (in a joint project with Warner Brothers Animation) that featured Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, in which Cambodian people were warned about the dangers of picking up stray ordnance from the ground. He remarks that the project took him to Washington D.C. once, and Cambodia twice. McCann also won a Prizm Award in 1999 for helping to raise public awareness about the dangers of drug addiction (but in a funny way, of course).
The release of the first Freakazoid! season DVD occurred in July 2008, and that double-DVD remained in Amazon's top ten for family-friendly releases, boxed sets, and television animation for weeks.
Indie film production
In 1999 McCann wrote, produced and directed a short film in the improvisational style later popularized by Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. A take-off on The Blair Witch Project, it was entitled The Glendale Ogre, and starred Marc Drotman, Scott Kreamer, and Kate Donahue. Scored by Julie and Steve Bernstein, it featured camera work by David Coons of Los Angeles' Artscans, himself most well known as the inspiration for the title of Po Bronson's The Nudist on the Late Shift.
In the years since leaving Warner Brothers Animation, McCann has worked on Jimmy Neutron, Dave the Barbarian, Tom Ruegger's Sushi Pack, and Animalia. He was also story editor for the animated European series Sherm!, produced by BAF.
Personal life and running
McCann lives with his wife in the hills east of Los Angeles, and claims to like "long walks through large corporate and government buildings." He has completed five marathons (including Honolulu, the ill-fated Chicago Marathon of 2007—and the Eugene, Oregon marathon, for which he "broke" four hours in May 2008). He acted as an assistant coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training at the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathon in June 2008.
- McCann's own blog
- McCann's "Death Honk", in The Journal of Microliterature
- McCann's "Fresh Ideas", in Every Day Fiction