The Simpsons take over the Hollywood Bowl
Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie took center stage this weekend at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate the music of the beloved animated sitcom, “The Simpsons.”
The event was hosted by Hank Azaria (voices of Moe Szyslak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Bumblebee Man).
“The Simpsons Take the Bowl” presented music played by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, while scenes from the show’s 25 year run played on the big screens.
Azaria, in character as Apu, sang “Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart” from the episode “Homer and Apu” while girls in hot dog costumes danced around him.
This was a great opening act for the show allowing Azaria to introduce Yeardley Smith, (voice of Lisa Simpson) who served as somewhat of a co-host for the event.
Smith said during the Michael Jackson episode “Stark Raving Dad,” the singing voice of Jackson was not him at all. Instead, it was a singer named Leon Kompowsky. Smith then introduced Kompowsky along with Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson) to sing “Happy Birthday Lisa.”
To not only hear Bart’s voice but also Kompowsky, who sounded exactly like the King of Pop, sing this song live was not only amazing, but moving as well.
“The Simpsons” creator, Matt Groening, got a standing ovation when he walked out on stage. “You might remember me from shows such as ‘The Simpsons’ and reruns of ‘The Simpsons,’” he said. Groening also referenced the 12-day Simpsons marathon held on FXX. He recalled one fan watching the entirety of the Simpsons episodes throughout the 12 day period.
Of course, no Simpsons event would not be complete without guest stars. Beverly D’Angelo donned a sequined jumpsuit, reminiscent of her character Lurleen Lumpkin from the episode “Colonel Homer.” She sang “Bagged Me a Homer” in true country style.
Weird Al Yankovic also made an appearance and sang “Homer and Marge” which was a parody of John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane.”
Other classic songs included, “We Do” (The Stonecutters Song), “See My Vest” and the “Spider-Pig,” which were sung by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.
The audience was encouraged to sing along with them as words appeared on screen, making their performances nothing short of epic.
Jon Lovitz paid tribute to his friend Phil Hartman, who voiced Troy McClure, with his song from the fictional “Planet of the Apes” musical. Lovitz said he considered Hartman a mentor from their days on “Saturday Night Live” and remembered Hartman as being happy.
Conan O’Brien also paid tribute to Hartman with the Broadway-inspired “Monorail Song” from “Marge vs the Monorail.”
O’Brien wrote that particular episode when he was a staff writer for “The Simpsons” in the early ‘90s. He joked with the crowd and singled out some people in the audience.
“These people are season ticket holders,” he said. “They’re wondering why we’re showing cartoons.”
In his usual self-deprecating style, O’Brien joked about leaving “The Simpsons” in 1993 for what he thought was going be a stable career in late night TV.
O’Brien told the audience, “I said, ‘(The Simpsons) will only last one or two more seasons.’”
Original animation was also created for the event which showed the Simpsons on their way to the Hollywood Bowl. They poked fun at the stacked parking lots, the long walk to their seats and their view once seated, which for them, was on top of the Hollywood Sign.
Of course, no Hollywood spectacle would be complete without fireworks, which ended the night, while the final scene from “The Simpsons Movie” played on screen. Then, in an attempt to outdo the fireworks, the entire cast, with the help of Cartwright, performed “Do the Bartman” on stage. The song got everybody on their feet as those of us old enough reminisced about 1990.
The crowd was a mix of parents, kids and twenty-somethings, which proves the lasting impact of “The Simpsons” as they head into their 26th season.
In the words of Comic Book Guy,“This was the Best. Concert. Ever!”