- This article is about the writer. For the character, see John Swartzwelder (character).
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John Swartzwelder (born February 8, 1949) is a writer for the The Simpsons. He is credited with writing the largest number of Simpsons episodes. John was one of several writers recruited to The Simpsons from the pages of George Meyer's Army Man magazine.
Beginning with the show's sixth season, Swartzwelder no longer attended rewrites with the rest of the staff, having been given special dispensation to send in his drafts from home and let the other writers revise them.
According to his longtime collaborators on The Simpsons, Al Jean and Mike Reiss, Swartzwelder is a huge fan of Preston Sturges films and loves "anything old-timey American." This vaguely defined aesthetic presents itself in many of the episodes he's written, in the form of wandering hobos, Prohibition-era speakeasies, carnies, 19th-century baseball players, aging Western movie stars, and Sicilian gangsters.
According to the DVD commentaries, he used to write episodes while sitting at a booth in his favorite restaurant "drinking copious amounts of coffee and smoking endless cigarettes" (Matt Groening). When the state of California passed an anti-smoking law, Swartzwelder bought a diner booth and installed it in his house, allowing him to smoke and write in peace.
He is also noted as being a staunch Libertarian, as well as a gun rights advocate and a chain smoker.
In 2004, following a short break from writing scripts, he wrote his first novel, The Time Machine Did It (ISBN 0-9755799-0-8). It was followed by Double Wonderful (ISBN 0-9755799-2-4) in 2005.
John has yet to feature in a Simpsons DVD commentary, and has refused to even acknowledge this fact on a commentary, even when offered to have a mic brought to him just to utter the word "No". On one audio commentary one of the writers pretended to be him as a joke. Swartzwelder was rumored to be doing commentary on the Season 9 DVD box set episode "The Cartridge Family". However, the extent of his participation was that the actual commentators called him on the phone to verify for the fans that he exists. The only opinion he offered on the episode was that he recalled it was a good one.
- The Time Machine Did It (2004)
- Double Wonderful (2005)
- How I Conquered Your Planet (2006)
- The Exploding Detective (2007)
- Dead Men Scare Me Stupid (2008)
- Earth vs. Everybody (2009)
- The Last Detective Alive (2010)
Songs written by him/Lyric by
- – The Simpsons Movie (Spider Pig, Springfield Anthem)