Comedian Yianni Agisilaou is about to embark on a UK tour with his show The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know. So what, exactly, has The Simpsons taught him?
As someone performing a show called The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know, people often ask me what, exactly, The Simpsons has taught me. And while it’s not everything I know, sometimes you need to exaggerate to make your point (like the man from Nantucket).
1. Play To The Lowest Common Denominator
Michelle Obama once said, “When they go low, we go high!” Admirable, but incorrect.
Lisa lamented Bart’s populist campaign for class president, watching him incite the crowd by wiping a picture of Martin on his butt while screaming, “He says there aren’t any easy answers! I say HE’S NOT LOOKING HARD ENOUGH!” Bart is Donald Trump Mark One. Sure, Bart loses the election, but only because no-one remembered to vote. The campaign, however, was sound.
In an omen of the Trump and Brexit campaigns that followed, Mayor Quimby distracts attention from his domestic failings by shifting the blame to immigrants in “Much Apu About Nothing”.
Time and again, The Simpsons shows us that far from crowds being wise, groups of people are often easily led by scapegoating (“Immigrants! Even when it was the bears I knew it was them!”), crappy ads (Mr Plow) or catchy songs (“Monorail”!).
We can discuss this and much more after my show, as there’s FREE BEER AND WINE!*
2. Be Economical With The Truth
The Simpsons can teach us a surprising amount about economics.
One episode particularly flush with wisdom is “Bart Gets An Elephant”, in which Bart wins an elephant named Stampy in a radio contest.
When Lisa worries that the person trying to buy Stampy is an ivory dealer, Homer explains some basic principles of supply and demand, reassuring her that “a guy who has lots of ivory is less likely to hurt Stampy than a guy whose ivory supplies are low”.
While Stampy lives in the backyard, Homer starts a business selling rides to neighbourhood kids for $2 apiece. Brandishing a wad of bills after day one he boasts, “Look Marge, $58 and all of it profit. I’m the smartest businessman in the world!” Marge replies “Stampy’s food bill today was $300”, teaching us that profit involves revenues and expenses.
Mention this article when you come along to my show to receive 50% REFUND OFF YOUR TICKET PRICE!*
3. Tell People What They Want To Hear
In “Bart’s Inner Child”, self-help guru Brad Goodman implores Springfield to “be like the boy”, meaning to imitate Bart’s worldview and do what they feel like all the time.
The town’s subsequent Do What You Feel festival is a disaster. The bandstand collapses because the man responsible didn’t feel like bolting it, then everyone speaks frankly about each other and a brawl ensues. Classic Springfield.
When Homer runs for garbage commissioner in “Trash Of The Titans” he makes a bunch of unaffordable promises just to get elected. When he can’t deliver them, garbage piles up and the town has to be relocated five miles down the road.
On a totally unrelated note, I guarantee anyone who comes to my show everlasting happiness, financial security and VIP entry to Heaven, Valhalla or the utopian paradise of their choice!*
4. Check Your Privilege
The Simpsons taught taught me to check my privilege years before that was even a thing!
When Flanders, Krusty and Apu band together to pull Homer out of his burning house in “Homer The Heretic”, Reverend Lovejoy tells him, “God was working in the hearts of your friends and neighbours when they came to your aid, be they Christian [Flanders], Jew [Krusty] or miscellaneous” [Apu]. “Hindu,” interjects Apu. “There are 700 million of us.”
In “Lisa Vs Malibu Stacy”, Lisa laments, “It’s awful being a kid – no-one listens to you.” Grandpa concurs, “It’s rotten being old – no-one listens to you.” Homer walks by and says, “I’m a white male aged 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are!” before opening a tub labelled “Gum and nuts. Together at last!”
I’m a white male aged 39. I may not have the best ideas, but everyone who comes to my show will received FREE GUM AND NUTS with every ticket purchased!*
*Not a guarantee
Yianni Agisilaou’s UK tour of The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know runs 6th September to 9th December. Visit ycomedian.com/touring for locations and tickets