Seth MacFarlane on Crude Ethnic Humor and ‘Family Guy’

The new (paywalled) profile of animation king Seth MacFarlane in the New Yorker is refreshingly honest, if not always admirable:

When I asked about ethnic jokes, MacFarlane offered the enlightened-liberal defense—at first. “We are presenting the Archie Bunker point of view and making fun of the stereotypes—not making fun of the groups,” he said. “But if I’m really being honest, then maybe there’s a part of me that’s stuck in high school and we’re laughing because we’re not supposed to. I don’t know the psychology. At the core, I know none of us gives a shit.” He went on, “Some people say that stereotypes exist for a reason. I’m in no way qualified to make that determination. But I’m sitting in a room with a writing staff that is in large part Jewish, and those are the guys pitching the jokes.”

When I made my list of awesome women of color behind the camera in television, I was actually surprised how many of the folks people recommended and spotlighted had come through MacFarlane’s shows. I wonder if one of the things they learned there was how to make content palatable to the kinds of people who so often serve as Hollywood gatekeepers.