One of Bart Simpson’s most famous catchphrases didn’t originate with “The Simpsons” writers, but with the voice of Bart herself.
Nancy Cartwright says Bart’s “Eat my shorts!” outburst “was an ad-lib” at a table read early in the life of the series. “I don’t know — it just occurred to me,” she says in the clip below, which is part of a much longer interview at EmmyTVLegends.org.
The site is part of the Archive of American Television, which does long-form interviews with performers, producers, writers and executives spanning the history of TV.
Cartwright explains that “Eat my shorts” was something she and her high school marching band cohorts occasionally chanted when they were goofing around. It stuck in her mind, it got a big laugh from the writers, and a catchphrase was born.
Cartwright also talks about the give-and-take between cast members and writers and how ad-libs like her now-legendary one can make it into the script. Take a look:
“The Simpsons'” annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode airs at 8 p.m. ET Sunday (Oct. 30) on FOX.