The Writers Guild Theater welcomed Norman Lear and Chuck Lorre for a panel discussion Thursday night, where the legendary TV writers covered censorship issues, taping in front of live audiences, casting triumphs and even Donald Trump.
“Every minute is another beginning,” said Lear–known for iconic comedies like “All in the Family,” “Good Times,” “One Day at a Time” and “The Jeffersons”–when asked to reflect on his illustrious TV career.
“Wherever you find human beings, you’ll find frailty and laughter,” Lear added, citing “the foolishness of the human condition” as a key influence in his writing.
The storied producers also dissected the evolution of TV, namely comedies’ deviation from the sitcom genre.
“Comedy wasn’t predicated on contrived situations. Even the word sitcom fell apart when he began to work,” Lorre said of Lear’s impact on the industry. “There was no more ‘sit’ in the ‘com,’ it was just the comedy of life.” Lorre is the executive producer behind long-running comedies including “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
Venturing outside of the network television bubble, Lear recently teamed up with Netflix to revive his hit 1970’s-’80s comedy “One Day at a Time.”
“There is that impulse to try and create a moment at the end of an act that is intriguing,” said Lorre, referring to breaking for commercials. “That changes immediately when you’re in the streaming world, where you’re just putting on your show.”
Politics also wove its way into the conversation, prompting Lear to compare Trump to “All in the Family” patriarch Archie Bunker. “I think of Donald Trump as the middle finger of the American right hand,” said Lear. “Can we all seriously agree this is bad for America?”