Former The Simpsons writer Conan O’Brien co-wrote a script for an episode starring Prince that was rejected by the late singer
Following the recent passing of Prince, excerpts from a script for an episode of The Simpsons surrounding the late singer that was co-written by Conan O’Brien were released by the animated show’s showrunner, Al Jean. The episode in question was meant as a follow-up to the 1991 critically-acclaimed installment starring Michael Jackson, titled “Stark Raving Dad,” that featured the King of Pop voicing a mental patient named Leon Kompowky, who claimed to be the pop superstar.
The unproduced Prince episode penned by O’Brien, who was a Simpsons writer at the show’s height from 1991 to 1993, was meant to once again revolve around Leon, but this time he would claim to be Prince. However, discussions to get Prince to voice the character broke down after he allegedly objected to some of the material found in the script.
Jean released portions of the unearthed script on Twitter over the weekend to the delight of Simpsons fans. The episode, which would have aired during the show’s fifth season, began with Lisa attempting to win tickets to a Prince concert on the phone while being pestered by a spider. The singer, who recently passed away due to unknown circumstances on April 21 at the age of 57, later shared a scene and flirts with Marge’s sister, Selma. Some of his film work is mocked during their exchange, which may irked Prince, leading him to drop out of the episode, according to Jean, who also theorized that he “didn’t want to play second fiddle” to Jackson. In another scene, Prince hands an unenthusiastic Lisa a cassette tape with a birthday song he wrote for her, and gives Bart the phone number of one of his ex-girlfriends, singer Vanity.
Jean credited Jacqueline Atkins, who was a producers’ assistant during the show’s early days, for re-discovering the script. He also stated that the first draft was written by Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk based on an idea by Jim Brooks, with O’Brien making uncredited re-writes. The comedian is responsible for such classic episodes as “Marge Vs. Monorail” and “Homer Goes to College.”
See excerpts from Prince episode script below:
Prince was obviously best known for his music, but had a limited amount of film credits that were referenced in The Simpsons script, including Under the Cherry Moon, Sign o’ the Times and Graffiti Bridge – all of which he directed and starred in – as well as the classic movie Purple Rain, which inspired the song and album of the same name. He also made a rare cameo appearance in the Fox sitcom New Girl in 2014 that the network will be re-airing this Tuesday, April 26 at 9:30 p.m. Meanwhile, O’Brien will return with new episodes of his late-night talk show Conan this week at 11 p.m. on TBS.