A Kinder, Gentler Family Guy
Without David Lynch, there would be no Cleveland Brown.
It’s a hard fact to swallow, given the easy-going, African American Family Guy character, whose new spin-off series, The Cleveland Show, hits Fox this week, seems a million miles removed from the avant garde auteur. The same can be said for his creator and series showrunner, Mike Henry.
Such a lofty career wasn’t always Henry’s aspiration. Upon graduating from Virginia’s conservative Washington and Lee University, he saw himself as a “social guy looking to make it in business.” He settled nicely into an advertising career until he caught a screening of Wild at Heart. It changed everything.
“I realized if David Lynch could put forth such a unique sensibility and make a living at it, then I’m going for it!” exclaims Henry, who promptly quit advertising and embarked on a temporarily less lucrative career as a comedian and writer that eventually landed him on the staff of The Family Guy and now, The Cleveland Show – where you’ll find a bizarre, Lynchian cast including, well, David Lynch.“He’s one of our characters,” Henry is proud to boost. “He plays Gus the Bartender, who is drawn to look very much like David Lynch and, obviously sounds like David Lynch.”
Henry took time out from coaxing his idols into his show to speak with the Writers Guild of America, West Web site about The Cleveland Show’s happy, mustache mellowness; about the unique creative process of an animated show where the writers do the voices as well; and about why, every time Cleveland talks, there’s a guy on a basketball court somewhere scratching his head and trying to figure out why that voice sounds so familiar.http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=3802
When/how/why did this happen?