Ian Maxtone-Graham (born July 3, 1959) is a television writer and producer. He has written for Saturday Night Live (1992-1995), The Simpsons (1995-2015) and has also served as a co-executive producer and consulting producer for The Simpsons.
Family and earlier work
Ian was born in New York City, the son of naval historian and author John Maxtone-Graham and author Katrina Maxtone-Graham (née Kanzler), and the great-nephew of the British author and poet Joyce Maxtone-Graham (pen name Jan Struther). His younger brother is Guy Maxtone-Graham, a one-time writer and actor for Beavis and Butt-head.
He attended Brown University, in contrast to much of the other Simpsons crew, who went to Harvard. While at Brown, he wrote for and later served as Editor-in-Chief of the Critical Review, Brown's student publication of course evaluations. He entered Brown with the class of 1981 but graduated in January 1983.
Ian is a triathlete, and swims with the UCLA masters team. He also kayaks, and in college was a rower.
Saturday Night Live
While at Saturday Night Live, Ian co-wrote the first version of The Chanukah Song with Adam Sandler. Ian once dumped a cup of water on Norm MacDonald's head for smoking in the writer's room. Norm responded by punching Ian, who went home and did not return for a week. Ian considered filing charges against Norm for assault and battery, and against NBC for not enforcing the no-smoking policy, but decided against it.
Ian was one of several writers recruited to The Simpsons from the pages of George Meyer's short-lived Army Man magazine. He joined the Simpsons crew in the seventh season (though he only began writing episodes in the eighth season) and has since written some important episodes, such as "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", in which Maude Flanders dies. In 2005, he won a Writers Guild of America award. He has written 18 episodes, the four most recent of which he co-wrote with Billy Kimball.
The episodes that Ian writes are generally well-received by critics: for example, Catch 'Em if You Can, The Seemingly Never-Ending Story, 24 Minutes, and Gone Maggie Gone all made IGN's list of the best episodes after season 13. However, he has also become wildly unpopular among Simpsons fans on the Internet. The animosity kicked off in 1998, when he stated that he had never watched the show prior to working on it. In the same interview, he contrasted the Simpsons writers's somewhat lackadaisical approach (saying, for example, that they sometimes confused Rod and Todd) with the Internet fans's apparent obsession with continuity, and remarked, "That's why they're on the Internet and we're writing the show." The interviewer Charlotte O'Sullivan expressed discomfort with his assertion that female writers were not often part of the writing staff, as the "guy humor" of Bart and Homer dominated the show's plotlines over the characters of Marge and Lisa.
The design of the occasionally-appearing Simpsons character "Very Tall Man" (his most notable appearance being "22 Short Films About Springfield") is based on Ian, who in real life measures in at 6'8" (203cm).
- Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program
- Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Homer's Phobia (with other staff)
- Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Trash of the Titans (with other staff)
- Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Viva Ned Flanders (with other staff)
- Won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Behind the Laughter (with other staff)
- Won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for HOMЯ (with other staff)
- Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for She of Little Faith (with other staff)
- Won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for The Seemingly Never-Ending Story (with other staff)
- Won Annie for Best Writing in an Animated Television Production for 24 Minutes (with Billy Kimball)
- Nominated for an Annie for Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production for the Simpsons Movie (with James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti)
- Won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind (with other staff)
- Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for Gone Maggie Gone (with other staff)
- Nominated for Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy Series
Consulting Producer (1995-1998)
Co-Executive Producer (1998-2005)
Executive Producer (2005-2010?)
Lyrics (2002-2003, 2007)
- Eric Idle's character in the sitcom Suddenly Susan was named after Ian.