The podcaster and Simpsons voice is here to answer your questions – ask them in the comments below

2.20pm GMT

George White asks

Is it true, Harry you did voiceovers for Monty Python?

Nope, I was around at the time b/c I was friends with Mr. Gilliam, but I don't think I ever did any v.o.

2.19pm GMT

cantthinkofagoodname asks:

Are there any former writers on the Simpsons you would like to work with again? Eg Conan O’Brien wrote the excellent monorail episode.

Thank you, and yes, I'm planning a new little Nixon series--not "Little Nixon"--based on a recently released series of tapes with him and Kissinger. Not funny this time, very dark and chilling and apropos of our era of perpetual war.

2.18pm GMT

UncleZippy asks:

Any chance of more of the wonderful Nixon’s The One? Given Trump’s victory, it seems more relevant than ever to remember the last fragile ego in the White House.

It depends. So many of the characters I play are people that have inhabited my mind for a while before I've been able to tackle them, so there's already a lot of them inside. But I do make a fairly close study of technical things like, if they're real people, how they hold and user their mouth in speaking and how their body works.

2.16pm GMT

TheKernel asks:

Firstly, I must have watched Spinal Tap 200 times, so you’re probably due some extra royalties from me.

It depends. So many of the characters I play are people that have inhabited my mind for a while before I've been able to tackle them, so there's already a lot of them inside. But I do make a fairly close study of technical things like, if they're real people, how they hold and user their mouth in speaking and how their body works.

2.15pm GMT

MrGluben asks:

Is there another voiceover artist you really admire?

Maurice Lamarche, as a performer and as a human being.

2.15pm GMT

chokokidd asks:

Out of the current crop of TV comedy, what makes you laugh?

Harry and Paul, Armstrong and Miller, Episodes.

2.14pm GMT

cubaboy asks:

Did you star in The Greasy Strangler as a hot dog vendor? I looked up IMDb, but could find no mention of you in the film. If not you’ve got a doppelgänger.

Not me.

2.12pm GMT

ChadSudan asks:

Loved the sketches you wrote/performed for Saturday Night Live in 1979-80! (And I remember catching Spinal Tap’s debut on The TV Show with Rob Reiner.) Which of those sketches do you look back on most fondly?

Actually, a sketch from my second time at SNL, Men's Synchronized Swimming. From the TV Show, probably "The Trial of Adolf Hitler," with Rob playing Hitler.

2.11pm GMT

dylabolical asks:

Loved you on WTF With Marc Maron. Any chance of an autobiography coming along?

Yes. Writing it now. Not right now, I'm writing THIS right now, but later right now.

2.10pm GMT

SonnyDay asks:

Are there any animated shows you would love to work on? I know that you previously did work for Family Guy. Are you still permitted to do work for “rival” animated shows under your new contract for The Simpsons?

I never did work for Family Guy. For me, one animated show, that just happens to be the longest-running entertainment show in US television, is enough.

2.09pm GMT

Myles Gaby asks:

What is your least favourite Simpsons episode?

Season 12, when Seymour Skinner was allegedly unmasked as Armin Tamzarian.

It seemed to deny 12 years of accumulated knowledge about the character , and to sort of negate the audience's investment in that knowledge.

2.08pm GMT

DaveCook asks:

You are a master voiceover artist. When did you first realise you were good at a wide range of voices, and what is your method for coming up with voices for characters?

I played around wtih characters as a kid, when they all came out sounding like my kid voice. Looking back, I realized that I was training my ear long before I could actually recreate those sounds vocally.

2.07pm GMT

traleebob asks:

If you were US president for one day, what single law would you introduce?

Seriously, an amendment to the 14th Amendment, specifying that the rights guaranteed therein inhere in "natural" persons, not legal fiction persons.

2.06pm GMT

DerryDirtBag asks:

On a scale from 1-10, how handsome is Handsome Dan?

a 4. That's why he's only "handsome" on the radio.

2.05pm GMT

ashenfacedsupremo asks:

According to this Guardian article, you are suing Vivendi over the profits from This Is Spinal Tap. Could you sum up the nub of your grievance? It does sound like life imitating Tap. And will there ever be a That Was Spinal Tap reunion movie?

As I stated in a video on YouTube when the suit was filed, Chris, Michael, Rob and I were partners in the film, and we deferred much of our salaries in return for which we were supposed to be paid a share of the film's profits. "Hollywood accounting" then took over.

2.04pm GMT

gretzkyfan asks

How’s your synchronised swimming these days?

Rusty. As always. I blame the water.

2.03pm GMT

Jozef Brodala asks:

Who has been the most fun guest star to work with on The Simpsons?

For me, Michael Jackson. Just kinda...weird. I know that's hard to believe. E.g., we were doing the final readthrough before recording, he read all his spoken lines, then when it came to the version of "Ben" his character was supposed to sing, he sat silent and nodded across the table. Suddenly a white guy started singing the lyrics, in an MJ-like voice. I whispered to Yeardley, "I guess we paid enough for the talking Michael Jacikson, not for the singing Michael Jackson."

2.02pm GMT

Boojay asks:

If I had your job, every morning I’d wake up and run around the neighbourhood like a bald man who’s just discovered Dimoxinil. Is this how you feel?

Yes, except the part about running around the neighbourhood. I don't even spell it like that.

2.01pm GMT

DaveyBoy72 asks:

Why the choice of a Shrewsbury shirt for Derek Smalls? Weren’t they all from the East London?

I was visiting London before we shot the film, and Elton John had just bought a Premier League team. I thought Derek would fancy that notion, but couldn't afford a Premier League team, so I looked for a shirt from a lesser division.

2.00pm GMT

Megamopp asks:

How did you get involved with The Simpsons? Were you an experienced voice actor beforehand? Did you have to audition for each of your many individual voice roles within the Simpsons? PS: last year, me and a few friends from Northern Ireland visited Stonehenge and blasted out Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge at 11 so fellow visitors could not only appreciate ancient history but also rock out. They loved it!

I did not audition. Matt was a fan of my radio show, and his partner Sam Simon called me a couple of times to talk me into doing the show.

1.59pm GMT

George Schorn asks:

What do you think Richard Nixon’s ghost will say to Donald Trump on Trump’s first night in the White House?

"Don't pray with Kissinger".

1.59pm GMT

Jft9675 asks:

I’m very suspicious of anything created by News Corporation subsidies, as Murdoch has a political agenda and too much influence. Should this stop me from watching The Simpsons? I have heard they give a rough time to leaders of all political colours, have you found that to be true and balanced?

The Simpsons has enjoyed remarkably little influence from any part of Fox, political or comedic. My personal view is that Murdoch is political only in the sense that he cares very much about power. He did, I believe, support Hillary Clinton for US Senator from NY.

1.58pm GMT

Borucs asks:

Did Rob Reiner really pass on a starring band member role in Spinal Tap because you told him he “didn’t look good in spandex”?

No, we didn't tell him that. But he didn't play an instrument.

1.57pm GMT

Kristina Wilde asks:

Your voice is arguably your most valuable work tool. How do you look after it? Any special rituals before going in to do a voiceover?

My wife, the fabulous singer Judith Owen, taught me the vocal warmup exercises done religiously by her dad, who was an opera singer. I do them first thing before using my voice for anything, even just been interviewed. She also introduced me to a miracle elixir for reviving a tired voice, organic apple cider vinegar, honey, and hot water. You can, if you like, add lemon and garlic to that mixture.

1.56pm GMT

BigDukeSix asks:

Have you read Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Jr?

No. I can't.

1.55pm GMT

Jacck Caramac asks:

Was your character in A Mighty Wind based on any folk musician in particular, or did he evolve from a different area?

Not a specific guy, just based on the specific beard. I believe it has a Brtiish name, alluding to the town where they used to hang people a lot. The beard was supposedly a nastily comic reference to the noose.

1.54pm GMT

StumpyPepys asks:

Based on the current crop of musicals, isn’t Broadway ready for Derek’s Jack the Ripper opus Saucy Jack?

It's Derek's and David's, and I'd say more than ready.

1.54pm GMT

Xandra11 asks:

Have you any plans to do a third Spinal Tap film to complete a trilogy? You could do all sorts of fun things with it, and I can’t be the only fan who would love to see more Tap.

Well, we never wanted to do a sequel. I guess you're referring to the little film wraparounds that accompanied our Albert Hall concert--I just love saying those words!--but no, we still feel we said what we wanted to say, and a sequel would just be saying it again. In other words, repeating ourselves, committing a redundancy, or similarly recycling. We'd never do that. And we'd never do that again.

1.52pm GMT

Borucs asks:

Legend has it that much of Tap was ad-libbed. My favourite movie line ever is “Can I raise a practical question at this point: Are we doing Stonehenge tomorrow?” Did you really make that up on the fly?

Yes, but with an asterisk. The film wasn't ad-libbed, it was improvised. Ad-libbing is about talking; improvisation is about listening. That being said, yes, that line came out at that moment that way.

1.51pm GMT

jonnie2thumbs asks:

Do you have anything resembling a replica of Stonehenge in your garden?

No, I now have the real thing.

1.51pm GMT

artmod asks:

Floyd Pepper or Charles Mingus?

Mingus, but I haven't heard enough Floyd Pepper. Mingus, of course, is one of the seminal bassists in all of jazz, player, composer, leader.

1.50pm GMT

TheShiftyShadow asks:

Do you prefer building sandcastles or snowmen?

Tall buildings covered in gold leaf with my name in big letters at the top.

1.49pm GMT

tynegal asks:

The cucumber in Spinal Tap – did you have it in a salad afterwards?

It's a courgette. Cucumber a bit large and warty for the desired effect.

1.49pm GMT

Johnnyjohnpants asks:

Your character in A Mighty Wind began living as a woman later in life, and we’re well aware what Derek Smalls keeps in his trousers. Does this draw from any personal feelings of inadequacy or is it some form of method acting?

As the politicians say, that's a good question. Derek's behavior was a parody of what some rockers have been known to do. Mark Shubb's transition was invented by Chris Guest and his co-writer Eugene Levy, and presented to me as a wonderful surprise when I walked into the office one day. When we shot that scene, at a half-closed casino, I was followed back to my trailer after we wrapped by my first (and only) stalker. "Nice legs!" he didn't yell.

1.47pm GMT

Matthew James Phillips asks:

What is your reasoning for not running against Schwarzenegger in 2006? And do you regret not going into a career in politics?

Good Lord, no. I got to see politics up close firsthand during my youth, and I realized that if I was going to do acting for a living, I would not choose to do it all day long without a break, and I'd rather get paid as an actor. Seriously, the kabuki element in US politics is so strong--people looking into a mirror and seeing themselves as Presidential material, then touring about the country for two years eating crap food to prove "they're just like you"...I frankly think anyone showing the slightest interest in running for President should be thereby disqualified from the office.

1.46pm GMT

murdamcloud asks:

Can you have more guests on Le Show please?

I try to limit myself to guests in whom I'm interested, whose work I've read, and who I think have something newsworthy or otherwise uncovered by the rest of the media. That limits the number severely.

1.44pm GMT

nimajneb asks:

Going on strike was clearly a profitable move on the part of your (and other Simpsons co-stars). Can you give us all some tips on how to make going on strike pay off? Also, what’s your favourite Smithers/Mr Burns scene? Mine is when Smithers dresses as Bobo the Bear. Stop this grotesque charade! Hahaha.

Read my earlier answer. I didn't "go on strike", nor did any other cast member join me in any action I did undertake. ~I like the scene in which Smithers is asleep and dreams that Burns comes flaying into his room.

1.43pm GMT

Nick Greaves asks:

I liked the guitar intro to Spinal Tap’s Jazz Odyssey, immediately after which the conspicuously pointless noodling began … Was this is a deliberate spoof of so much free form/jazz funk improv that starts well, but quickly loses focus ?

Yes, except we decided to dispense with the initial focus.

1.42pm GMT

NightLight1 asks:

Is it a good time to be in comedy or does the fact that half your voting population voted for Trump deflate you as a writer?

The job of the satirist is to make fun of the people who have the monopoly on the guns--or in America the majority of the guns. The people whose candidate is in office always bitch about that. It never changes, no matter who's in or out.

1.41pm GMT

HerbGuardian asks:

Which NFL or baseball teams do you support?

Neither, I'm a basketball fan. AS YOU SHOULD BE.

1.40pm GMT

HalfEaten asks:

Do you think Trump will make it to the end of his term of office? If not, why?

If I were good at predictions, I wouldn't be sitting in this ratty office, I'd be out at the track.

1.40pm GMT

gazampa asks:

I read recently about some of your experiences with Spinal Tap royalties, Is this the industry norm? How difficult is it for an individual, or small group of individuals to get their due? Why?

It's more the rule than the exception. More people don't challenge it because people want to continue to work in what could be described as a somewhat larcenous industry. And it takes resources to put on a proper challenge.

1.39pm GMT

DWFan1 asks:

What’s your favourite Pixar film?

To tell you the truth, I've never seen one Pixar film. My bad.

1.38pm GMT

Antony OBrien asks:

Tap is now 30 years old. With medical advances, an that, is it now possible to dust for vomit?

Yes, but the software to analyze it is still glitchy.

1.38pm GMT

gilbertratchet asks:

Love your work all the way through the big hits to your hilarious appearance on the Australian show Frontline. (I’m not denigrating Frontline at all – it was a great, insightful show – but no one under 30 or outside of Australian seems to have heard of it.

Well, yes. The Simpsons slot machine has been around for a while, AFAIK, but I did decline to participate in the Universal theme park attraction.

1.36pm GMT

25aubrey asks:

Did the American animated TV show Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, which I liked at the time, influence The Simpsons?

I don';t know, I wasn't involved with the creative process that spawned the show.

1.35pm GMT

Rhosa Eberle asks:

If you were a professor at a UK university, what two or three books would you have students read to fathom the US election? If you were a professor at a US university, what two or three books would you have students read to fathom the US election?

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" by Richard Hofstadter, for both countries. It discusses the propensity for paranoid waves to sweep across the electorate and how political figures have learned to harness it.

1.33pm GMT

Fruitbatty asks:

You voice 23 characters in The Simpsons. Would you say it’s part of your DNA?

I certainly credit my voice, and probably my ear, to my dad, who trained to be an opera singer in Vienna before the recent unpleasantness.

1.32pm GMT

ID7445316 asks:

Le Show is my top podcast of the week. The new Trump stuff is fantastic and Karzai talk is a delight. Just one question: who is Ken Eversall (sp?) Junior?

Jim Ebersol Jr. is an imaginary person, pretending to be the son of the brother of Dick Ebersol, who used to run NBC Sports and is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

1.31pm GMT

GeraldLobOn asks:

Do you ever catch yourself putting voices on when making love to a beautiful woman?


1.30pm GMT

kendoddsdadsdogsdead asks:

My favourite Tap quote is “Too much facking perpective now.” What’s yours?

Exactly the same. I gave a keynote address to a Future of Media Summit in the US right before the election, about whence journalism, and that was the title of the talk.

1.28pm GMT

kendoddsdadsdogsdead asks:

To paraphrase Derek Smalls, do you envy you?

I'd rather paraphrase Rob Reiner, who after shooting one take of a scene with Paul Shaffer, said, "I've got good you". I've got good me.

1.27pm GMT

davidly asks:

Was your reaction to not receiving the deserved Oscar nomination for For Your Consideration similar to your character’s for not receiving the same for Home for Purim?

No, never expected it. I've never been allowed into the Academy, for one thing.

1.26pm GMT

el0villano asks:

Would you leave The Simpsons if you had a good gig elsewhere, if it meant being able to flee Trumpland?

I've done a lot of work in UK over the past four years, and probably will be doing more. I don't have to leave the Simpsons to do that. The TV series I did, "Nixon's the One", I didn't think could be done in the States--I dreaded the possible meetings with program executives where one would have said, "We know Nixon didn't like Blacks and Mexicans, but does he have to hate Jews, too?"

1.25pm GMT

FobRoared asks:

As a skilled vocal artist, how do you get convincing-sounding:

As with any other bit of performance, one has to get into the state of mind in which it could really happen. It's no just about making certain sounds, it's finding where the sounds come from, and then letting that happen.

1.24pm GMT

mitra asks:

Would you like to “release the hounds” on anyone right now?

No, I'm good.

1.23pm GMT

martyk asks:

I’m planning to go to New Orleans next year. When should I go and what should I do? I like both beer and jazz, and promise not to tell a soul about your recommendations.

Go eat out and see music every night (and day) while you're there. There's no shortage of both, and most of it is world class.

1.22pm GMT

WA Thomaston asks:

The Big Uneasy (2011) trailer, by Harry Shearer … To buy and help support the artists, go here.

The unanimous conclusion of the two university-based investigations into the New Orleans flood of 2005 was that it was a man-made disaster, caused by misfeasance, misjudgments and other mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, post-Katrina, was given $14 B by the Congress and told to "try better this time." A whistleblower from inside the Corps has testified to the problems with that new $14B system, her charges verified by an independent investigator hired by the Federal Government, and ignored, when presented to the President and Congress. The Corps has previously been ;complicit, to say the least, in the near-destruction of the Everglades. It is, as MIchael Grunwald once described it in his landmark series in the Washington Post, a "rogue agency". And it is in charge of most public civil engineering projects undertaken by the US government. And Congress has given it blanket liability from lawsuits in any flood-control projects it builds. What could go wrong?

1.19pm GMT

ForzaFCUnited asks:

Which of your Simpsons characters do you most enjoy voicing? Do you have a least favourite?

Favorite is C. Montgomery Burns, because pure evil is always fun (see, e.g., Henry Kissinger). Least favorite: Dr. Marvin Monroe. Tough on the vocal cords.

1.17pm GMT

CaB101 asks:

Which of your project’s successes has surprised you the most?

Tap. It had to survive so many near-death experiences to get to the audience in the first place, and then not to disappear without a trace after that. E.g., the head of the studio that put out the movie originally hated it and said that if the first two critics who were shown previews of the film didn't like it, it wouldn't be released at all.

1.16pm GMT

spazbot asks:

Harry, I’m a long-time fan since early days. Do you and Paul Whitehouse have any joint projects in the offing? It be great to see you reprise your classics – Suits You Sir! – Ooh.

I would love to do something with Paul and/or with Harry Enfield. I'm a huge fan of them both. They're great comic actors, and they're fearless.

1.15pm GMT

StormInHeaven asks:

Will Jarvis Cocker become a full-time member of Spinal Tap?

He's not loud enough.

1.14pm GMT

Hubert O’Hearn asks:

I’ve been a dedicated listener to Le Show for two years. You play such an eclectic and intriguing mix of music on it, could you please announce the artist and song title? I know they’re on your website, but it would be much easier to remember at the time.

I don't do that because I feel the 59 minutes I get a week would be so taken up with that, and with then talking about the artist and/or the song--something you may have heard me do at some length on Jarvis Cocker's show recently on 6Music--that no time would be left for the truly trivial material. I choose the music partially based on personal preferences, partly on new music I may have heard during the week, and partly through some sort of mystical association with something I'm discussing or making fun of.

1.12pm GMT

HowardBeale asks:

Do you have a fridge teleport system to save you walking into the kitchen for a beer?

True fact: I don't drink beer.

1.12pm GMT

unclestinky asks:

Why do you we have the semi-regular spectacle of you threatening to leave over money? Surely you’re already much richer than Mr Burns?

See previous answer. BTW, you may recall the cast of Friends occasionally threatened not to continue the show unless they were paid more money. And they were.

1.11pm GMT

Jonathan Chadwick asks:

Were there any reasons, other than the money, that you went back to The Simpsons after quitting?

Two errors in the question: I didn't "quit", I published a tweet that contained a threat to continue the show without me, a threat not attributable to me. And money was never an issue in that dispute. There was no extra money on the table, I still get paid exactly the same as everybody else in the principal cast. The reason I went back is that the disturbing and somewhat onerous conditions that had been inserted in my--and only my--contract--were removed by mutual agreement.

1.09pm GMT

jezb01 asks:

You can pick and choose what you want to do, I would imagine, but what character would you now most like to play on TV, radio and on stage (one role for each!)?

Stage--I'd love to play the Professor in Candide. Radio/TV--a certain Trumpster.

Candide, if you haven't s;een it, is the most wonderful musical, based on Voltaire's lovely little short novel. The Professor, who has a couple of great songs in the show, is the respresentative of what Voltaire was satirizing, the philosophy of eternal optimism, that "all's for the best in this best of all possible worlds". Trump? Obvious.

1.08pm GMT

Golub2 asks:

The first rule of comedy is to never analyse it. That said, is humour changing? And if so, is it for the better?

Humor is always changing. Newsweek used to run a cover, every five or ten years or so, saying "Satire is back!" It never was.

1.06pm GMT

5h4k35p34r3 asks:

Where do you get your energy from? The volume and quality of your work is incredible. Do you get any downtime?

Interesting you should ask. I've prepared a powerful new energy mixture, of all organic compounds, that's not available in stores. Nor anywhere else. NOr does it exist.

1.06pm GMT

Jackie Charlton asks:

Should art challenge political perceptions? The speech at the Hamilton musical was the most poignant response to the wayward perceptions of many Americans. It was powerful, but won’t change how powerful people get elected.

If artists have something powerful or useful to say, of course they should challenge the orthodoxy of the day. But there's no rule about art, except maybe don't do bad art.

1.04pm GMT

wondermouse asks:

Incredibly, it’s coming up to the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons. Is it still fun to do, or has it become somewhat routine? Do you ever get bored doing it?

It's always fun doing multiple characters. That's what attracted me to the show in the first place.

1.03pm GMT

ID6944202 asks:

When, and how, did you first suspect that Tap was becoming a cult classic?

When somebody told us that it was the first home video to make money that wasn't porn.

1.01pm GMT

GeeDeeSea asks:

Do you think Mr Burns would’ve made a better president than Mr Trump? And would Smithers be a better choice [for US chief of staff] than Reince Priebus? Or is there no difference?

As far as I know, Priebus is not a closeted gay man. I think Burns is less concerned with what other people think of him than Trump is, so he might give brusquer press conferences.

12.59pm GMT

Cathal Campbell asks:

Was Big Bottom written with the intention of having three bass players, or was that a genius idea that happened during the recording?

It was part of the original inspiration of the song to have it only played on bass.

12.58pm GMT

OleksandrOK asksL

What is your favourite book?

"Confederacy of Dunces" Tells you all you need to know about New Orleans.

12.57pm GMT

RobinClarke asks:

Le Show is my “letter from America”. Given that a lot of news media expects readers to do their own fact-checking these days, where do you do yours? Which writers on US politics should I check out?

I read widely-NYT, WashPost, New Orleans Advocate, Guardian, Telegraph, The Age (Melbourne). I try not to read opinion pieces. And I watch/listen to BBC, AJE, CNN (for laughs).

12.54pm GMT

Hello, and welcome. Fire away

11.04am GMT

Mr Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Kent Brockman, Dr Hibbert … Harry Shearer is best known as the voice behind many of the Simpsons’ standout characters, although his comic skills reach much further than the voiceover booth.

Following a stint on Saturday Night Live, Shearer’s big break came in 1984 with This Is Spinal Tap, which he co-wrote and co-starred in. Its lampooning of heavy metal music remains the high-water mark for the mockumentary genre. As well as starring in further movies by Tap alumnus Christopher Guest, he’s played Richard Nixon, written newspaper columns, made documentaries and, since 1983, presentedthe radio series Le Show.

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