John Kricfalusi

Like his mentor Ralph Bakshi, native Canadian John Kricfalusi spent the better part of a decade drawing low-end studio TV cartoons before his big break. Bakshi "rescued" Kricfalusi in 1987, making him an executive director for the fledgling studio that produced the chaotic and controversial New Adventures Of Mighty Mouse. Kricfalusi and partner Jim Smith founded their own studio, Spümcø, in 1988, selling Kricfalusi's brainchild, the beloved gross-out cartoon Ren & Stimpy, to Nickelodeon the next year. The show was a huge hit, but Kricfalusi's constant battles against the network ultimately got him booted from his own series; Nickelodeon retained the rights and continued producing Ren & Stimpy without its creator. Meanwhile, Kricfalusi took some of the show's subsidiary characters to the Internet, where he began producing independent online cartoon series with icebox.com. He returned to television briefly with a couple of special features for The Cartoon Network, including the raunchy Yogi Bear spinoff Boo Boo Runs Wild. These days, Spümcø sells spinoff merchandise and produces animated ads for companies such as Nike, Old Navy, and Quisp cereal. Kricfalusi has several TV projects in development, including more Cartoon Network shorts featuring classic Hanna-Barbera characters, as well as a series for Fox Kids (The Ripping Friends). Kricfalusi recently spoke to The Onion A.V. Club about why modern cartoons, film, music, education, art, and sexual politics are all disgraceful.

The Onion: When will The Ripping Friends air?

John Kricfalusi: This year. I'm not exactly sure. Summer or fall or something. It's about the world's most manly men, four guys who go around the world kicking ass and taking the law into their own hands and making the world a safe place in which to be manly. They're kind of the opposite of what men are brainwashed into being these days. They're like old-fashioned men, before political correctness. You ever see young guys now, where they're all hugging each other and shit like that? Trying to convince the girls that they're sensitive so they can get laid? Pile of crap.

O: Are we talking men from the 1950s, or Neanderthal Man? How far back?

JK: All men before the '70s.

O: You've complained in other interviews about classic cartoon characters becoming artificially nice throughout the '70s, as well. Is this a society-wide problem?

JK: Well, let's not call it "nice." I have nothing against being nice. Political correctness didn't invent nice. Political correctness is a mean-spirited Commie plot, if you ask me. But just one symptom of political correctness is men hugging men, and that's just a ploy anyway, like I said, to get laid, to convince girls that you're sensitive. No guy is really into that, unless he's gay. Which I'm not saying anything against; I'm just saying that naturally, guys don't like to touch each other, except two ways. And one is really hard, with a clenched fist. My dad gave me this theory just last year. He was railing on and on. [Adopts gruff, hoarse voice.] "I go down to the mall, and I see these young guys, you know the kind, they got the earrings and the long hair and those giant pants, looks like they're wearing a tent? They're down there hugging each other. They're disgusting." He was telling me about this guy on his dart team, one of these touchy-feely guys. [Gruff voice.] "Got his hand on your shoulder, he's slapping your butt. One time I turn around and he slaps me on the butt, and I put both my fists in his face, and I said, 'You try that again, I'm gonna black both your eyes.' And this guy was, like, 30 years younger than me, and you know what he did? You'd think he would take a swing at me, right? No, he sat down and he started to cry! What kinda men are they makin' these days?" "You got me, Dad. I'm going to do something about it. I'm going to make a cartoon that cures kids."

O: And you're going to put it on network TV. It's interesting that you're going back to working for them after all your problems with networks. Do you still think the Internet is the future of animation?

JK: Oh, yeah, Internet animation is my favorite thing. Unfortunately, with this Internet crash, it affected everybody—people who were actually doing real businesses, as well as the people doing bogus businesses to raise money through stocks. So now, for the time being, a lot of people don't have very much confidence in the web. But I think it's only a temporary thing. When you think about it, content online, on a widely known scale, is only about six months old. So it's kind of funny for people to doom something that just got started. But it's the typical thing in the press.

O: What's the status of your online series Weekend Pussy Hunt and The Goddamn George Liquor Program now that icebox.com has folded?

JK: We'll put them up on realcartoons.net.

O: Is that a subsidiary of, or related to, Spümcø? Right now, it looks like it's just part of your site.

JK: It's only related in that I started both of them, but of course Spümcø will be the main supplier of cartoons to the site in the beginning.

O: When are those series likely to reappear online?

JK: I don't know, maybe a month. I don't know if I just want to give them away. I have to find a sponsor or some way to pay for the productions.

O: What about your updates of Hanna-Barbara cartoons? Were those your idea, or The Cartoon Network's?

JK: I've been doing it since I was a little kid, on my own. I loved all cartoons, but for some reason there was something about the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Quick-Draw McGraw. They ran those three cartoons every afternoon, along with Beany And Cecil. So those were my favorite cartoons at the time. I just sat there drawing them all day. And I went out and bought all the coloring books and all the comic books. In the comic books, they'd show you how to draw the characters. They'd have a grid with a character's head, and it would say, "Now you, Junior, can draw your own grid and fill it in, and then you get Lumpy Bunny!" So I'd do that, and that style became ingrained in me. For years, I would just draw my own stories with those characters. Even when I went to high school and got rebellious like everybody else, I just drew rebellious versions of Hanna-Barbera cartoons. I was a skinny kid, not athletic or anything, but I wanted to go to the parties with the football players and stuff. And to make sure I didn't get my ass kicked, I would have to be the life of the party. So I'd be telling jokes, or drawing this strip I called Cave Newts that I used to do in high school, which was dirty stories with the Flintstones. I'd take their personalities, and the environments and types of stories they did, and exaggerate them. And meanwhile, as I was doing that, on Saturday-morning cartoons they would make re-dos of classic cartoon characters. But they would take out everything that made them popular in the first place. Like, Yogi Bear was a rascal, right? He went around filching picnic baskets. He didn't want to get caught. So kids identified with him: "Oh, that's cool, he's getting away with stuff!" In the '70s, all of a sudden he's in charge of cleaning up the environment, which is the total opposite of his personality. They made Fred Flintstone nice, but when he first started, he was a complete asshole. So they basically destroyed all the characters. About... I don't remember what year it was, '95 or something like that? Fred Siebert started up this program at Hanna-Barbera, where they would do six-minute shorts like the old days, and he would look for new directors and new series that he could develop out of the shorts. I showed him my fucked-up drawings of Hanna-Barbera characters, and he thought that was funny. I said, "I don't know how radical you're going to be here at Hanna-Barbera, but if you really wanted to do something wacky, I would love to make cartoons in this style at Hanna-Barbera. And my cartoons are actually going to be a lot closer to the original Hanna-Barbera cartoons than the recent Hanna-Barbera cartoons were, the ones where they were bastardizing the personalities, having everybody get along and share and all that stuff."

O: Didn't you start your animation career in the late '70s working for Hanna-Barbera and Filmation?

JK: Yeah. They weren't doing those characters at that time, or at least I wasn't working on them. I was working on the really, really hideous stuff, like Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids. But actually, the first cartoons I worked on at Filmation were re-dos of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle. So that was my introduction to ruining old characters that I loved when I was a kid. The next year we ruined Tom & Jerry and Droopy, and a few years later I got to ruin The Jetsons. I actually tried to save it while I was working on it, but it was pretty hard, because the whole thing was set up to ruin them. They sent me overseas, to Taiwan, to supervise the production of 15 episodes of The Jetsons there. I was kind of out of sight, so I did my best to make the drawings cool, at least.

O: Was that the series with Orbitty, the little white blobby—

JK: Ahhhh! You see what I mean? They invent these characters in a completely different style that has nothing to do with [the original characters]. Orbitty was there because E.T. had just hit it big a couple-something years before, and they wanted to make sure that the kids liked The Jetsons. They figure the Jetsons would be too old-fashioned by themselves, so they say, "Let's get this ugly character in there! E.T.'s really ugly, but the kids loved him, so we'll put an ugly character in here!" Ouch. Every chance I got, I'd have Astro accidentally step on his head, get him crushed under the couch. Everything I could do to get that thing out of the way.

O: How did you make the transition from Filmation to working with Ralph Bakshi?

JK: He saved me. He saved the business for cartoonists. I'd just finished the Jetsons thing. I came back, waiting to be hailed as... I thought they'd have a parade waiting for me. "John went and put jokes in our cartoons! He's going to be our hero!" I thought there'd be a big party for me, but instead, a lot of people were mad at me for putting jokes in the show and making it lively. So I was out of a job when I got back. I didn't get fired, exactly; they just didn't give me another job. So I was getting depressed. Cartoons were getting uglier and uglier, and I was moping around the apartment. And one day I got a call from Hanna-Barbera that said, "Some guy named Ralph has been calling, wants your phone number. We don't normally give phone numbers out, but he says he's a friend of your dad's, and your dad is really sick, in the hospital. Should we give him your number?" "Uh, yeah, okay!" The only Ralph I've ever met is Ralph Bakshi, so I thought, "I bet this is Ralph Bakshi, pulling a fast one." Sure enough, I call his number, and it's Ralph. [Adopts deep, gravelly voice.] "Sorry about that message, but the only way I could get a-holda ya was to make up some story! You're not pissed, are ya?" "Nah, that's okay, I'm just glad my dad's not dead." Ralph had retired for a few years. He got disgusted with the business and had retired, maybe three or four years before. [Gravelly voice.] "I'm comin' outta retirement! I'm gonna start a TV cartoon studio this time—fuck features! We're gonna be partners, 50/50, you and me, buddy! 'Cause you're the funniest guy I ever met! All right, I'm comin' out." "Uh, okay." He goes, "Wait a minute. Describe yourself to me!"

O: So you'd never met in person?

JK: No, we had met! He wasn't sure he had the right guy when he called me. "Describe yourself to me!" "I don't know, I'm about 5'11", skinny, kinda pasty-looking..." "All right, all right, that's you, Johnny! I'm comin' over!" A couple days later, at seven in the morning, bang bang bang bang, an elephant knocking at my door. I come to the door in my pajamas, "Uhhh..." "Johnny, yeah, that's you! We're gonna be partners, 50/50! C'mon, let's go, put your clothes on, we're startin'!" So he rented a space down on Ventura Blvd., above an old clothing store. We developed something like six Saturday-morning cartoons, wrote a script for a movie... It was really funny: It was called Bobby's Girl, a sort of '50s teen-comedy thing. Those were sort of popular in the '80s. Anyway, we couldn't sell anything. In those days, you couldn't sell a cartoon unless it was pre-sold. No matter how good the concept was, all the executives in the Saturday-morning cartoon business wanted to play it safe. And their idea of playing it safe was, you had to do a show based on a toy, like He-Man or G.I. Joe, or you did something based on a well-known property like Spider-Man or whatever. You couldn't sell anything original. And you really couldn't sell anything that was cartoony. No one understood what cartoons were. You watch those '70s Hanna-Barbera cartoons and there's a million of them, Penelope Pitstop and all that. Scooby Doo is typical of the non-cartoony cartoon style, where nothing cartoony ever happens.

O: When you say "what cartoons were," what do you mean?

JK: What makes a cartoon a cartoon is that it can do things that you can't do in any other medium. Just like any medium. What makes music music is melody and rhythm, and a million variations on those things—a pleasant melody, normally, unless you're talking about modern music. If you took those out, it wouldn't be music anymore. So in cartoons, what makes it cartoony is that you're doing things that are impossible to do. You have characters that have strong personalities, but they can do crazy things. If you watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon, they squash and stretch and make funny expressions, and they do all kinds of things that you laugh at, visually. You couldn't do anything like that in the '70s or '80s. It was against the law. They thought you were crazy if you did anything like that. They said, "The way you're drawing, the character looks weird!" Well, it's supposed to look weird. It's a cartoon. I swear, all the people in charge of cartoons had never seen a cartoon before except for the '70s ones.

O: Why do you think the industry changed so much in the '70s?

JK: Well, a lot of things happened. The thing everyone blames is that TV cartoons are a lot cheaper than theatrical cartoons, and that's true, and that's obviously going to hamper the quality considerably. But [early TV] cartoons were still cartoony. The characters still did impossible things; they just didn't do them with full animation and as many backgrounds. They just cut down on the production values. That was because those cartoons were still made by cartoonists. By about 1964, [CBS network executive] Fred Silverman had invented the concept of doing Saturday-morning cartoons, where you had a whole block and ran cartoons back to back. And once he did that, the demand for cartoons rose considerably. All three networks started up their own Saturday-morning programs. They had to produce a million cartoons, faster and more than they had ever done before. And all the cartoonists who had done the classic cartoons were starting to get old, and there weren't enough of them to go around. So they just started hiring people off the street. There was a big dearth of writers. People who could draw at all were really valuable by that time. People who could write, nobody gave a shit about. They started giving writing jobs to people who were driving trucks the week before, gofers, film editors. And all of a sudden, hordes of complete amateurs are writing cartoons. And while that happened, we started getting these executives in the Saturday-morning cartoons that were basically somebody's secretary, because nobody really wanted to be in charge of Saturday-morning cartoons. Everybody wants to be in prime time, right? So you have people who didn't know anything about cartoons, about entertainment... They were just stenographers or something, they're in charge of the decisions, and we have people with no experience writing the cartoons. They take over. Now, the most imaginative art form ever created is the least imaginative art form. That killed creativity in cartoons. From about the mid-'60s until about 1990, it was the worst form of art ever created.

O: So cartoons have improved in the last decade?

JK: Yeah, they've gotten considerably better since Mighty Mouse. That was what started the whole change.

O: What was different about how Mighty Mouse was produced?

JK: It was the first series that was completely created by cartoonists: It was written by cartoonists, all the creative decisions were made by cartoonists, and we created all the characters. It was totally different from anything anybody had done. We broke every rule you could think of, everything they told you that you couldn't do. I used to, once in a while, have characters turn to the camera and say something. They used to tell us, "You can't break screen direction. You'll lose the audience, and the kids won't believe in the characters anymore." I said, "Have you seen Bugs Bunny or anything, or Popeye, where he turns to the camera and says something funny before he pops his can of spinach open?" They said, "No, no, kids are more sophisticated today." Anyway, we did that once in a while on Mighty Mouse, and that spawned Tiny Toons. A whole bunch of things we did once or twice on Mighty Mouse became whole trends in other people's cartoons. Everybody copied it instantly. Tiny Toons was founded on not only the types of jokes we were doing in Mighty Mouse, but they also hired half our staff. And they swore they were going to use the same system we were using—the director system, the unit system—where directors would write their own stories, or supervise the writing, and follow the production through from beginning to end. Which is the opposite of how Hanna-Barbera did cartoons at the time, or Filmation, or DIC, or anybody. Tiny Toons took everything we tried in Mighty Mouse that didn't work. They took all our mistakes, and created their own style around them.

O: You've certainly gone on record before about not particularly caring for Tiny Toons.

JK: It's terrible. It's absolutely horrible. The director system didn't last long. Producers were losing control, executives were losing control, because all the artists wanted to do their own thing, like we did on Mighty Mouse. So gradually all the writers snuck back in... You should put quotes around "writers," because they're not real writers. People who write cartoons are not real writers. They'd all rather be writing movies or sitcoms, or something like that, but they're not good enough. These are people who can't construct a sentence, let alone a plot. And if you watch Tiny Toons, it's like watching an 11-year-old in front of the class on Red Cross Day, trying to tell a joke. Telling it badly and, when he gets to the punchline, saying, "Did you get it? You get it? Well, let me explain it to you, 'cause you didn't laugh." They do that in Tiny Toons all the time. Somebody will walk off a cliff, look down, and then fall. And when they hit the bottom, they say, "There is an unwritten cartoon law that if you don't see that you've stepped off a cliff, you won't fall, but as soon as you see that you've stepped off..." Shut up! You don't have to explain it! We got the joke when we saw it 50 years ago, when it was invented! It just drives you crazy, watching that stuff. It's so obnoxious.

O: Did you have to fight CBS to get Mighty Mouse done your way?

JK: I had no contact with the network past the first week. It was really funny, because Ralph had convinced them that we'd developed Mighty Mouse as a show and we had the rights to it, and we didn't. He was in a meeting where we were pitching all the shows that we'd developed, and they told him, "I'm sorry, we really like all these shows, but we can't buy them because they don't have any marquee value." And he blew up. He had one of his famous explosions. He spit out his cigarette at them and screamed at the top of his lungs, "Marquee value? You want fucking marquee value? You're talking to me, Ralph Bakshi, king of animation, about marquee value?" Scared the crap out of them. He's a very large guy, super-strong, and he's been known to hurl... I've seen him pick up desks and throw them across the room. And he has perfect aim, too, absolutely dead-perfect aim. You don't want to fuck with Ralph. So he starts screaming at them, and they were scared, right? They told him, "Honestly, Ralph, if you had a character that was safe, that everybody knew, we'd buy the show from you. We really want to buy one of your shows!" He goes, "I'll give you fucking marquee value!" "Well, who you got, Ralph?" "Mmmm... Mighty Mouse!" He remembered the first job he ever worked on was at Terrytoons in the mid-'50s, and just spit out "Mighty Mouse." They said, "Okay, we'll take it, just please leave the room and don't kill us!" So he gets to the car, races back to the studio, and tells his partner, "Find out who the hell owns Mighty Mouse, quick!" Then he goes over to my house, because we'd finished all our development and were just trying to figure out whether we were ever going to get a job. And he pounds on my door on Saturday morning, again at like seven in the morning, yelling, "Johnny, get out of bed! I sold Mighty Mouse, let's go! We've gotta have a studio by next week! We need 35 people and 13 scripts!" So I got on the phone and called everyone I knew who hated working on Saturday-morning cartoons, all the disgruntled artists, and raided a bunch of studios. They left in droves, and by Monday we had a studio. We wrote, like, 20 stories in a week. And the following week we started production. It was a crazy, crazy time, with everybody working 15-hour days, all sorts of personality conflicts, everybody getting in each other's way, but somehow we pulled it off and made this weird show.

O: And you never heard any feedback from the network until they pulled the plug on the show over the cocaine controversy? [Mighty Mouse was canceled due to a flap revolving around the character sniffing a flower for energy. —ed.]

JK: That was two years later. I wasn't even there anymore. I heard that on the radio. I was working on Beany And Cecil over at DIC. I was only there for the first season of Mighty Mouse, though I should have stayed with it. You know better later, I guess. A lot of the trends of today came directly from that show.

O: And from Ren & Stimpy. If Mighty Mouse was the start of cartoons being cartoony again, Ren & Stimpy set the standard for gross and confrontational humor.

JK: That was a direct line through me. Everything that I did wrong in Mighty Mouse, and we did a lot of things wrong, I swore I wasn't going to do on Ren & Stimpy. So I left that to Tiny Toons. They took over the mistakes. I got rid of all the self-conscious stuff, the sporadic storylines, and not being able to stick to a character. I went off and said, "I'm going to pick some star characters and really develop their personalities and stick with them." So I stuck more to the stories on Ren & Stimpy, and less to the anarchy of Mighty Mouse. Ren & Stimpy seems anarchic, but what holds it together is the definite conflict between the main characters. That didn't exist with Mighty Mouse, which was more like Mad Magazine: Whatever we came up with that was weird, we'd do.

O: Were you just trying to push the envelope, or did you have a specific artistic goal in mind?

JK: Depends on what you mean by pushing the envelope. Some people use that to mean push censorship. Other people just say it's creative, trying to do new things all the time. That's probably more what I like to do. I just like to experiment and not do the same plot over and over. The famous thing among writers on Saturday morning is, they say there are only seven plots, and you interchange the characters. I always thought that was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard. I'm always coming up with new things to try. If I'd doomed myself to seven plots, I would have quit a long time ago.

O: Ren & Stimpy was where you seriously started incorporating '30s, '40s, and '50s styles into your art. How did you develop that visual style? How did it come together?

JK: I don't know. Some of my influences... Bob Clampett, the greatest cartoonist of all time. Chuck Jones is a big influence, and Tex Avery. That's animators. Then there are a lot of comic-strip and comic-book artists. Don Martin... not his drawing style so much as his humor. There are millions of influences. I loved Marvel Comics, though you probably wouldn't see much of that in Ren & Stimpy. If it shows up, it's probably subtle. I'm also a big fan of old movies, so a lot of my visual influences come from Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder and Hitchcock. And early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, which have the simplest, clearest staging in the world. That was really good for me to learn when I was a kid, because it was so clear: When I started my own comics and storyboards, I just used that. And then, as I was influenced by more sophisticated things, I added my live-action influences. Clampett has really sophisticated cutting, and that started entering into my staging. But I always had the solid basis of the simple three-shot cutting and staging of Hanna-Barbera, where they had a long shot, a medium shot, and closeups for reaction. That's the absolute basis of film language. It was admittedly a cheap system, but it also made it clear. Not very many cartoons do that. Particularly Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and all that stuff, which work completely against what's going on. I mean, the stories aren't worth doing anyway, but it's just anarchy. You watch that stuff and go, "Oh, my eyes are sore."

O: What do you think about the MTV editing style that's taken over popular culture over the past couple of decades?

JK: I think it's crazy. It's terrible, out of control. Movies are just a headache to me. You go to a movie and there's no organization, no planning of thoughts. Hand-held cameras, that stuff drives me insane. I keep expecting the camera to drop on the ground or something. Makes me dizzy. Everything's random now. Nobody has any control over anything anymore. All the people I like were in the Age Of Thought. Everything was planned, organized, thought out, practiced, rehearsed. Perfectionism. Now, it's just like, "Throw a bunch of ideas up in the air. Where they land, that's what you get." Every time I go to a movie, I come away depressed. They all look like committee products. Nobody has any skill anymore.

O: What about music, or television? Is anyone producing anything new that you enjoy?

JK: There are cartoons that have elements of things I think are good. Powerpuff Girls has some really imaginative color in it, and that's a first for cartoons. Color has been pretty crappy for the longest time in cartoons. And it's controlled color, not random, very well thought out. A lot of the Cartoon Network cartoons are much better than in the previous decade, that's for sure. Cow And Chicken has absolutely beautiful drawings in it. Then there are some that are just... I'm not going to name them, but they look like three-year-olds draw them. I don't have any interest in that stuff. They're holding back history.

O: Is there any future for network cartoons, or is the future of real cartoons all on the Internet?

JK: The future of everything is on the Internet. Anything that's corporate and large is doomed to be bad.

O: What about something like South Park? Does that give you any hope for independent animators pushing their own vision on cable?

JK: It's not their own vision. What vision? It's a bunch of used Ren & Stimpy jokes. It's the same stuff over and over again. It's all been done. And cartoons have to be drawn well. Every once in a while, people will say, "Hey, did you read this comic book?" "Ah, the drawings were really crummy in that one." "Oh, but the story was great!" I'm sorry, but I can't get past the ugly drawings. If you want a good story, read Hemingway. Some comic writer is going to write better than a real writer? I don't think so. It's not all about the drawings, but it's about the drawings first. I don't say story is not important. But without the drawings, who gives a shit?

O: What about Internet cartoonists? Are there any you think are moving in the right direction?

JK: They're sort of in the same mold as the sitcom cartoons. They're all drawn really primitively, and they're not really about characters, the ones I've seen. They're all really random. We're at the amateur stage right now on the Internet. Anyone who can get online can make a cartoon. It's really easy to use Flash. We need to get to the point where professionals are doing it.

O: What professionals? If you hate everyone producing cartoons these days...

JK: There really aren't many professionals these days. We need a medium that allows people to grow enough to become professional, like we had in the '30s and '40s and '50s. Because there are no schools that teach anybody anything useful anymore, as far as art goes, or storytelling, or anything like that. It's something that has to evolve like it did in the early 20th century. There are people who are good artists in animation. The storytellers have yet to rear their heads.

O: Do you think the presence of the Internet can make that possible, or is some kind of formal education or mentoring system necessary?

JK: Education would be nice if it were real education, but that's gone out of fashion. Now it's hippie education, the everybody-is-creative theory. You just summon your creative soul out of the dust or something, instead of them sitting you down and teaching you, "Okay, here's how composition works. Here's how anatomy works. Here's how you incorporate your knowledge of composition and anatomy into the work you're doing professionally." There's no school like that today. There are no standards anymore. All you have to do is open up a magazine from the 1930s or '40s and just look at the illustrations, and your jaw will hang limp. Every illustration—even the cheesiest ones, like the underwear ads—is drawn a thousand times better than the best fine art is today. It was a time of greatness. Everyone was really good at what they did in the '30s, '40s, and '50s. Now, you have the Age Of Amateurism. It's not to say that there aren't people with talent, but it's very hard to develop your talent, or you have a very one-sided talent, because there's nobody to tell you what your weaknesses are, so you only develop your strengths. And that's including me. We just don't have the same situation people did 60 years ago.

O: Of course, 60 years ago, you never would have been able to get away with most of the things you animate.

JK: You can't get away with Bugs Bunny today. They cut the hell out of Bugs Bunny. You can't see Bugs Bunny cartoons intact on TV. We're way more restrictive today than they were then. A lot of the stuff that was allowed then isn't allowed today. You can't have slapstick anymore. They call it violence now. I had a meeting a while ago where I had someone hitting someone on the butt with a frying pan. We couldn't do it, because it was "domestic violence," so kids having an abused childhood would cry because they saw a cartoon character hit another cartoon character. That's how insane we are. We're not any more liberal than we were 60 years ago. Just certain things are not taboo now that were taboo then. But most things that weren't taboo then are taboo now.

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