Joe Ansolabehere

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Joe Ansolabehere
Born Joseph Michael Ansolabehere
(1959-06-18) June 18, 1959 (age 58)
Sacramento, California
Occupation Animation Writer, Television Producer, Story Editor, Voice Director, Songwriter
Years active 1989–present
Known for Recess (1997–2001) Recess: School's Out (2001) Lloyd in Space (2001–2004)

Joseph Michael "Joe" Ansolabehere (born June 18, 1959) is an American animation screenwriter and producer. He is the co-creator of Recess, and Lloyd in Space with partner and friend Paul Germain.


Joe Ansolabehere is best known as one half of the team "Paul and Joe" who created the animated television show "Recess". Joe began writing animated television shows in 1991 when he worked as head story editor on the now-classic series Rugrats. During Joe’s tenure, the show won a slew of Emmys and became a massive hit for Nickelodeon.

After Rugrats, Joe helped his friend Craig Bartlett develop (with Steve Viksten) the show Hey Arnold, also for Nick, co-writing the pilot, as well as co-producing the first two seasons. The show has remained a cult hit for years, with a huge following on the internet of die-hard Arnold fans.

Next, Joe partnered with Rugrats co-creator, Paul Germain, to create Recess for Disney. The Recess playground was based on Joe and Paul’s own elementary school memories and the characters were all based on friends they knew back then. The show became ABC's biggest Saturday morning hit of the late 1990's. It even spawned a feature film, Recess: School’s Out, which Joe and Paul also wrote and produced in 2001.

With Paul Germain, Joe also created and produced the animated series Lloyd in Space for Disney, and developed and produced the show Pound Puppies for The Hub, receiving the 2012 Humanitas Award for the episode "I Never Barked For My Father."

He also worked for Disney Jr. (from 2011 to 2017), writing for Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, and Miles From Tomorrowland, then story editing the first season of Goldie and Bear..

Joe has a daughter, Jean Ansolabehere, who is also a writer. His son Hugo was born in 2013. He is married to the costume desinger Dorotka Sapinska.

Born in Sacramento, California, of Basque descent, Ansolabehere is the oldest of five brothers. His brother Stephen is a well known political scientist, who has at Harvard. Brother Paul is a vice president of Anagram in Minneapolis, and the youngest - Louis - is a computer technician. As children they moved around a lot, living in such cities as Detroit, Champaign, Reno-Sparks, and Minneapolis. Joe graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, and then to UCLA for film school. It was there that he was introduced to the world of animation.

In the early 1980s, Ansolabehere partnered with Steve Viksten to write screenplays. Together they wrote and sold several comedy screenplays, including Surfin CIA, Exterminators, Crooked Affair, and Sitting Ducks. None of their scripts were ever produced, and by the end of the 1980s, Ansolabehere found himself working for his friends at Rhythm and Hues as a producer of computer animation, mostly for commercials. It was while working at R&H that Joe was contacted by an old friend from UCLA, Paul Germain. Germain had recently co-created (with Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo) and sold the show Rugrats to Nickelodeon, and was looking for writers.

In 1990, Ansolabehere began working on Rugrats - first with his old partner Steve Viksten, and then on his own - and eventually became one of the first Head Story Editors on the show. It was here that he met Craig Bartlett (who had been the first story editor on the show). They became great friends, and a few years later when Bartlett sold Hey Arnold! to Nickelodeon, he would ask Joe to work on it with him.

After "Hey Arnold", Joe partnered with Paul Germain to create "Recess" for Disney. They also wrote (with Jon Greenberg) the "Recess: Schools's Out" movie.

RUGRATS CREDITS: With Steve Viksten, Joe wrote "The Bar-B-Que", "Baby Commercial", "Momma Trauma", "Real or Robots?", The Trial" (uncredited), "Fluffy vs. Spike", and "Stu-Maker's Elves". As a solo writer, he authored "Chuckie vs. the Potty", "The Shot", "Grandpa's Date", "Meet the Carmichaels" (in which he created the African American family of Susie Carmichael's), "Down the Drain", "The Slide", "Susie vs. Angelica", "Home Movies", "Under Chuckie's Bed", "The Mega Diaper Babies", and "Kid TV". Joe was co-head story editor (with Peter Gaffney) beginning with episode 14 ("Toy Palace", and "Sand Ho!") and ending with episode 39 ("Tooth or Dare" and "Party Animals").

Ansolabehere has written and produced for many animated television shows, including Rugrats, Beethoven, Duckman, Hey Arnold!, Recess, Lloyd in Space, Dinosaur Train, Pound Puppies, Dexter's Laboratory, Peter Rabbit, and Sherriff Callie," "Miles From Tomorrowland," "The Hugglemonsters," "Goldie and Bear," "Motown," etc.

He was the executive producer for the movie Recess: School's Out and has recently been credited as a screenwriter on Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue.

Ansolabehere is co-owner of Paul & Joe Productions. Together, the team has worked on many projects for Disney, Nickelodeon, and DreamWorks Animation.

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