Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) answered fan questions live Sunday night on Fox, in a brief and pretty good improv segment somewhat plagued by phone-related awkwardness.
The three-minute skit started with the animated patriarch pranking viewers, claiming this would be “the last episode of ‘The Simpsons.'” Then he said what we all know to actually be true — this 27-year-old series is never going off the air.
Next, Castellaneta proved the segment was actually live by dissing rapper Drake with a topical jab.
“To prove that we’re live, on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ last night, Drake was terrible,” he said as Homer.
The bald and rotund yellow fella then went to the phone lines, where he fielded calls about pals Lenny and Carl, what kind of car he drives, and whether he’s a Chicago deep dish or New York-style pizza guy — and even a few others. The thing went off without a hitch, aside from callers and Castellaneta occasionally talking over each other. There was also maybe a dashing of awkward pauses.
All the while, Homer sat at a desk in the “Fox Studios Secret Bunker” — AKA a shoddy set built in the Simpson family’s living room. Other characters popped in and out of frame while Castellaneta did his thing — the best one was robot Bender, who strolled across the screen with a “Bring Back ‘Futurama’ (Again)” sign.
And just like that, it was over.
“If your call hasn’t been taken yet, please continue to hold — the cast of ‘Empire’ will be answering questions Wednesday night,” Homer concluded. “Someone will let them know.”
The on-the-spot scene appropriately followed a new “Simpsons” that saw Homer start his own improv troupe. There was some marketing tie-in between the two chunks of the 8 o’clock half-hour — after the episode’s first commercial break, the following was posted on the screen: “Call Now for Homer Live – No Flanderses.”
Homer’s scripted improv was actually fairly hacky during the actual show — possibly on-purpose — but that doesn’t mean the non-live stuff lacked good jokes. The best line came courtesy of bartender Mo, when he was trying to convince Homer that awards show invitees already know if they’ve won or lost.
“The losers have scheduling conflicts!” Simpson insists on the no-shows.
“Yeah right, Dave Franco has a scheduling conflict,” Mo quips.