Marc Edward Wilmore
May 4, 1963
Marc Edward Wilmore (born May 4, 1963) is a television writer, producer, actor, and comedian. He is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona. In the early 1990s, he was a writer for In Living Color, and became a regular cast member in the final (1993–94) season. From 1999 to 2001, he served as a writer for the claymation series The PJs, and provided the voice of the character Walter. He was a writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2000, he became a writer and producer for The Simpsons. His older brother Larry Wilmore is also a writer, producer and actor.
In a scene in the episode "They Saved Lisa's Brain," Comic Book Guy announces that Springfield is in 299th place on a list of the United States' 300 most livable cities. East St. Louis is in last place. A journalist for a "local East St Louis [news]paper" noticed this, and called Matt Selman, the credited writer of the episode, to ask him why they were "taking a shot at East St Louis." Selman jokingly replied: "because it's a crack-ridden slum." After the interview, he went on vacation in Greece for two weeks. While Selman was on vacation, executive producer and the episode's showrunner Mike Scully received a phone call from The Simpsons publicist Antonia Coffman, who reported that Selman's comment on East St Louis had been taken "very seriously" by the newspaper. The Simpsons staff received several angry letters from East St Louis's residents, demanding an apology. Because Selman was out of reach, the other staff members had to take care of the controversy.
When Selman returned, Scully scolded him and told him that he had to apologize to the mayor of East St Louis, who, unbeknownst to Selman, was portrayed by Marc Wilmore. Wilmore, a former writer on the television comedy The PJs, had been asked by Scully to participate in a practical joke, in which he would play the mayor of East St Louis and confront Selman about his controversial statement. According to Selman, Wilmore gave an "Oscar-worthy performance." "I was terrified," he stated in the DVD commentary for the episode, "[we had] a twenty-minute discussion in which [Wilmore] said that [his] children were teased at school [because of Selman's comments], and that the Fox affiliate were gonna be thrown off the air..." According to Wilmore, Selman immediately blamed the other writers. Said Selman, "Well, everyone participates, you know[...] Have you never heard of the word 'collaboration'?" Selman realized the joke when he turned around and saw "all the other writers laughing." "I was so relieved," he said, "I was soaked with sweat[...] I had betrayed my fellow writers, tried to get them in trouble, and they all knew me for the turn-coat that I was." As compensation for his involvement with the joke, Wilmore was given a role in the season 11 episode "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", in which he played a psychologist. In 2002, Wilmore became a writer on The Simpsons.