ATLANTA – Comedy writer Mike Reiss shared a number of words of wisdom with the graduating seniors of Pace Academy during the prep school’s commencement services on May 14, at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.
Reiss, former show runner and head writer of The Simpsons and co-creator of the animated shows The Critic and Queer Duck, took a couple of shots at actor Robert Downey Jr., who delivered the graduation address for Pace last year.
“Last year’s class got Robert Downey Jr., you guys get some Jew you never heard of,” Reiss said, comparing himself and Downey. “Iron Man… Iron deficiency…”
Reiss also weighed in on this year’s presidential campaign and the humor of it all.
“I learned that having a good sense of humor doesn’t mean laughing at jokes you agree with, it means laughing at things you don’t agree with, and most importantly it means laughing at yourself,” he said. “If you’re a Hillary Clinton supporter, please, I hope you can still laugh at Hillary Clinton jokes. And if you’re a Donald Trump supporter – well, you probably have a pretty good sense of humor already.”
During Reiss’ 25 years writing for The Simpsons, he won four Emmys and a Peabody Award. In 2006, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animation Writers Caucus. In addition, his TV credits include It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, ALF and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and he co-write The Simpsons Movie and Ice Age 3.
“The more you open your mind, the more you learn,” he said. “To the class of 2016, I wish you long lives of love, learning and laughter.”
The Pace Academy Class of 2016 graduated 108 students. The graduates will matriculate to 54 colleges and universities in 25 states, with one student going to school in Scotland, continuing a streak of international students stretching back to 2009.