Sam Simon
Images via Wikipedia and s_bukley /

If there’s an afterlife, Sam Simon has everyone laughing

by Jo Asquith

Before my grandmother died at the age of 102, she told me that my grandfather, great aunt and great uncle were together in an apartment waiting for her so they could finally play cards. I’ve never been a religious or Heaven-centric person, but that visual has always stuck with me. Maybe there is an afterlife where you meet up with your favorite people and get to do your favorite things?

I grew up in one of those families where laughter was an important thing. I often used humor to get through uncomfortable situations. It is how we all dealt with things — good and bad. Little did I know that Sam Simon, who taught me so much about humor, would also teach me about giving back and living life to the fullest!

Two generations of my family have watched The Simpsons. That dysfunctional, crass, inappropriate family means the world to me. They had unconditional love for each other and I was lucky enough to grow up in a family like that.

While my own family did not dabble in illegal behavior, I could relate to all the other flawed behavior and the fact that this family would always come back together and still love each other. I realized that as my own family was facing hard times, we were able to still find humor with each other and move forward with love and laughter.

I fondly recall letting my own children watch The Simpsons for the first time. The first episode was the one where Homer and Marge were re-sparking their passion. I almost died as my kids laughed at Homer and Marge naked inside the miniature golf windmill. So inappropriate. Then it happened. Homer was hanging naked from a hot air balloon and his naked body slammed against Springfield’s version of the Crystal Cathedral and his butt dragged and squished across the glass during the reverend’s sermon. Homer’s naked, splattered body made my six-year-old giggle for days. We paused that scene and replayed it at least a hundred times.

I was once warned by the principal of my children’s pre-school that sarcasm creates nasty kids. I couldn’t help but think it also creates really funny kids! I knew I had a kid with comic timing when he took my phone at lunch on a field trip and announced, “Ivana Tinkle, Ivana Tinkle… Everyone put down your glasses, Ivanna Tinkle.” Yeah that’s my boy!

Then came the news of Sam Simon’s diagnosis. It was sad. Like a friend was sick. My daughter read the article about how he bought the chinchilla ranch and was saving all those chinchillas. Not only did his name appear on her favorite show, but he was doing tremendous and generous things at the end of his life. As she was planning her own charity project for her bat mitzvah, she asked me if she could give back to the animals just like Sam Simon. Together we made a plan to bring food and blankets to the homeless pets around Los Angeles.

Not only did my daughter have a knack for quoting the titles of Troy McClure movies, but she had learned the power of giving back.

I thank Sam Simon and his talented colleagues for making me laugh at the simple things. For helping me realize that the funniest things in life are in our own living rooms. Laughing at ourselves can make life a much easier place to exist.

One day, I will go to my apartment in the afterlife and I will quickly look for Sam Simon. I assume I will hear dogs and laughter. Maybe even a chinchilla or two. I will give him a great glass of whiskey and whether he drinks or not, he will enjoy it. We will talk about Mr. Burns and Side Show Bob and then the phone will ring. Sam will look at me and say, “Mike Rotch! Mike Rotch! Hey, has anybody seen Mike Rotch lately?”

If there is an afterlife, I plan on laughing!

Jo Asquith

About Jo Asquith

Jo Asquith was a film executive and studio based producer for 17 years. She is now writing and a proud single mom of two.

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