Rapper, comedy writer and actor Briggs says he's a writer for Matt Groening's new show 'Disenchantment', and tells SBS about the time he accidentally quoted an iconic Simpsons line to Groening himself.
By
Chloe Sargeant

28 Jul 2017 - 4:26 PM  UPDATED 31 Jul 2017 - 12:21 PM

Briggs has made a name for himself in Australia as a rapper in A.B. Original, a writer for ABC's Black Comedy, and a fierce and outspoken defender of Indigenous rights.

But yesterday, the talented artist announced he's got a new gig - he's one of the writers working on Matt Groening's new Netflix show, Disenchantment.

The new show, which will be released in 2018, stars comedians Eric Andre and Nat Faxon, with Broad City's Abbi Jacobson as the lead role. The animated series is set in a disintegrating medieval kingdom called Dreamland, and follows the misadventures of heavy-drinking young princess Bean (Jacobson), her elvish friend Elfo (Faxon), and demon Luci (Andre).

Briggs made the announcement via his social media, stating that joining the writing team for the show has been "literally a dream come true". 

He shared a photo of himself with the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama Matt Groening, Simpsons writers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, and head writer of Futurama David X. Cohen, saying he was "in the writers room with the NBA of comedy". 

I spoke to Briggs about his newest career move, and asked how it feels to be working closely with Groening, one of his long-time comedy heroes.

"It's bananas. It’s like working with the NBA of comedy, the Michael Jordan. It’s crazy, it always feels like he's a couple of steps ahead. Same with Josh, everyone in the room - they’re all so phenomenal at what they do. They wrote two of the fuckin’ best shows ever, so it’s safe to suggest they know what they’re doing."

Briggs explains that the opportunity arose after Josh Weinstein became a fan of his music, and started following him on Twitter. "I was pretty convinced that it wasn’t actually Josh Weinstein. I’m still pretty convinced it’s not actually Josh Weinstein. [laughs] I'm just waiting for the curtain to be pulled back! But that’s how it really started."

In his Facebook post announcing that he was working on the show, Briggs told fans that "anyone who knows me knows what the Simpsons & Futurama mean" to him, and explained that the shows, particularly The Simpsons, were such a large part of his childhood and life that he sees them as "part of his personality".

'BULLSHIT, TELL THE REAL STORY BRIGGSY!'"

"People who know me know there’s not a Simpsons quote or reference far away. It’s such a large part of my personality, I don’t really know who I actually am," he laughs. "I think I've just patched up with these voids in my personal life with Simpsons references. Some people use alcohol, some of us use The Simpsons. Suppose it's more family-friendly, y'know, you can’t be too Simpsons-ed at the family picnic."

But turns out that his Simpsons fanboying very nearly landed him in an embarrassing spot. 

"One day [in the writers room] I accidentally dropped a Simpsons quote, an impersonation - I just forgot myself. But that’s how I live my life, it’s always Simpsons quotes!" he says. "Matt just looked at me, and was just kinda like, “…Nice one.” I froze, I was like HOLY SHIT I JUST QUOTED THE SIMPSONS TO MATT GROENING."

Briggs further explains that he's such a huge fan, that he actually has a Krusty the Clown tattoo. Asked if he'd showed the ink to Groening and the other writers, Briggs says yes. "I was super embarrassed. I’m such a cheeseball, man. You don’t get a tattoo thinking you’re gonna be sitting next to the dude that invented it."

He laughingly tells me that at one point, he had a "faux religious" moment with the renowned comedy writer. 

"I was just tapping away on my laptop, and this hand comes in, and I look up and it was Matt Groening. We were in this place in Malibu, with really high ceilings and skylights, so he had all this sun around him, the sun was behind his head. It was real faux religious moment [laughs]. You watch, you’ll put that in there [in this story] and no one will believe that actually happened. 'BULLSHIT, TELL THE REAL STORY BRIGGSY!'"

Briggs says he, as most would be, was nervous to start writing for the show - but the entire team has ended up being a dream to work with.

"Everyone’s so nice and positive and helpful and friendly. It’s such a positive space. You’ve heard of writers' rooms that are nightmares, this is like the absolute opposite. Everyone’s just thinking about what’s best for the story." 

He gets notes from Weinstein on his writing, who will place a red mark next to spots that need work. "He’ll put a red mark next to it and say ‘make that funnier’. It’s like, okay - can’t get much better direction than that! Put joke here! Make jokes funnier! My goal now is to have too many jokes, I wanna make it TOO funny, so they have to strip it back."

While Briggs couldn't tell me much about Disenchantment ("Ahh... I dunno what I’m allowed to say. I can tell you everything Matt Groening has already said!") Groening described the show as being about "life and death, love and sex, and how to keep laughing in a world full of suffering and idiots".

Upon asking Briggs how he manages to deal with suffering idiots, Briggs says that it's important to remember that all the best comedy comes from tragedy. 

"I’ve been doing that for 30 years! That’s the thing that, for me, gets me through the hardest parts. I just laugh, I just think of what’s funny. Even if its not [funny] in that moment, I find a way to laugh about it to move past it."

Finally, I request that Briggs summarise his experience working with comedic genius Matt Groening in one Simpsons quote. He simply replies, "The goggles do nothing!"

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