Ian Maxtone-Graham

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Ian Maxtone-Graham
OccupationTelevision writer, producer

Ian Maxtone-Graham is an American television writer and producer. He has formerly written for Saturday Night Live (1992–1995) and The Simpsons (1995–2012), as well as serving as a co-executive producer and consulting producer for the latter.

Early years[edit]

Maxtone-Graham is the son of maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham. He is the great-nephew of Jan Struther, the writer of Mrs. Miniver. He attended Trinity School and Brown University. An enthusiastic swimmer, his first job after college was as a diver with an underwater research team. After struggling to establish a career in journalism, he penned material for the television show Not Necessarily the News and the magazines National Lampoon and Army Man. His work in Army Man, an offbeat magazine published by future Simpsons colleague George Meyer, brought him to the attention of Jack Handey, who suggested he work for Saturday Night Live.[1]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

While working for Saturday Night Live, Maxtone-Graham co-wrote "The Chanukah Song" with Adam Sandler[2] and, according to the DVD commentary for the SNL clip show "The Best of Alec Baldwin", also wrote the infamous "Canteen Boy" sketch in which Canteen Boy is sexually molested by his scoutmaster, Mr. Armstrong (played by episode host Alec Baldwin). According to the memoir of Jay Mohr, Ian Maxtone-Graham threatened to quit and sue the show during the 1993–94 season after an altercation with Norm Macdonald: the lawsuit never came to fruition.[3]

During all-night Saturday Night Live writing sessions, Sarah Silverman often stole underwear and socks from a cache of fresh clothes Maxtone-Graham kept in his office, and wore them in lieu of her own clothes.[4]

The Simpsons[edit]

Maxtone-Graham has become somewhat infamous among The Simpsons fans for a 1998 interview with The Independent, in which he admitted that he had "barely" seen The Simpsons before being hired, ridiculed "the beetle-browed people on the internet" for their criticism of the show, and dismissed women as being unsuitable to be writers on the show.[5][6] Although he upset many fans with his comments, Maxtone-Graham has won six Emmys for his work on The Simpsons,[7] and received an Annie Award for writing "The Seemingly Neverending Story".[8]

One of the episodes written by Maxtone-Graham is "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)", in which Homer grows a tomato-tobacco hybrid called "tomacco". The episode was widely acclaimed from viewers and critics alike.[9] Notably, it inspired an Oregon man to make his own version of tomacco by grafting a tomato stem with a tobacco root. He eventually gave some to Maxtone-Graham, who ate it.[10]

At 6'8" (2.03m), Maxtone-Graham inspired a character on The Simpsons: "Very Tall Man", who first appeared in "22 Short Films About Springfield".[5]

Writing credits[edit]

Maxtone-Graham has been credited as writing the following episodes of The Simpsons:

Maxtone-Graham also co-wrote the screenplays for The Simpsons Movie (2007) and Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe (2022).


  1. ^ Catherine Seip. "A Decade of D'oh!". Mediaweek, December 20, 1999.
  2. ^ Shanahan, Mark; Goldstein, Meredith (July 22, 2009). "An animated conversation". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  3. ^ Mohr, Jay (2004). "Chapter Six: Playing Well With Others". Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live. New York: Hyperion Books. pp. 89–91. ISBN 1-4013-0006-5.
  4. ^ Silverman, Sarah (2010). The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee. HarperCollins. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0571251261.
  5. ^ a b O'Sullivan, Charlotte (June 22, 1998). "Behind Every Homer Is a Very Tall Man". The Independent. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  6. ^ Turner, Chris (2004). Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation. Foreword by Douglas Coupland. (1st ed.). Cambridge: Da Capo Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-306-81341-2. OCLC 670978714.
  7. ^ "Primetime Emmy Award Database". Emmy Awards. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  8. ^ "34th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners". Annie Awards. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  9. ^ "The Simpsons Episode 5 Series 11 Cast List And Preview". Radio Times. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  10. ^ Harrod, Horatia (January 5, 2010). "Simpsons stories: the tomacco man". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved January 28, 2010.

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