Every year, the competition at the Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program is tough and this year, Bob’s Burgers took the trophy, beating out Archer, Elena of Avalor and animated juggernauts South Park and The Simpsons. Having been nominated every year for the category since 2012, this marked the second time Fox’s cult animated series won (the first was in 2014) and it was a wonderful surprise for co-executive producer and writer Wendy Molyneux.
“I don’t think about the possibility of winning when we go. Most of us look at the Emmys as a platform for serving ourselves alcohol for the night,” laughs Molyneux. “You cannot focus on whether you’re going to win or lose because most of the time you’re going to lose — and also you’re going to lose to The Simpsons or South Park which is like losing to Meryl Streep. You can’t even be mad about it.”
It’s obvious that the win is fantastic for Molyneux, but what makes her feel even more gracious is the team’s genuine love for the show — a team that has been intact since Bob’s Burgers first started in 2011. “Nobody leaves — we’re a family,” says Molyneux, who works on the show with her sister and writing partner Lizzy Molyneux. “Winning the Emmy was like us going to Applebee’s and someone giving us a bunch of trophies.”
The show, which was created by Loren Bouchard (Dr. Katz, Home Movies), has garnered a cult following over the years. Whereas their animated peers The Simpsons and South Park have a broad reach across the globe, Bob’s Burgers is a niche show, with a growing presence. “I remember when the show first started, I told my kids’ friends’ parents that I worked on Bob’s Burgers they’d say ‘Oooooooh!’ as if I was making something up,” said Molyneux. “Now that people know who we are, it’s nice.”
With a presence at Comic-Con, live shows and tours, the show’s fans are very passionate and loyal. Molyneux says that she loves going on Etsy and buying things that fans have made. Most recently she saw that a fan recreated paintings of animal anus pictures based on the episode where Linda’s sister Gayle paints pictures of — you guessed it — animal anuses. Molyneux bought them, of course. Then again, what diehard fan wouldn’t?
Fan art will play a huge role in the upcoming October 1 season premiere of Bob’s Burgers as the episode will feature over 50 different pieces of art submitted by fans. “We want to make sure that our fans know that we know that they are out there and that we’re very grateful that they turned Bob’s Burgers into something that lasted 8 years,” said Molyneaux.
Season 8 will continue to follow the hilarious, sometimes crude, but always loving antics of the Belcher family and their titular burger establishment. And in the new season, Molyneux listed off an impressive roster of guest stars joining the core cast of H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, John Roberts and Kristen Schaal. Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite), Fred Savage (Friends From College), John Early (Search Party), Jillian Bell (Idiotsitter), Nicole Byer (Loosely Exactly Nicole) and Andrea Savage (I’m Sorry) will be featured as guest voices while Molly Shannon is set to return as Millie and Zach Galifiniakis will reprise his role as Felix Fischoeder. There will also be an hourlong Christmas special this season which will feature Todrick Hall and Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver (probably not as Kylo Ren, though).
In addition to the animated series, Bob’s Burgers puts on live shows and this year they decided to leverage that into a newly-created charitable arm called “Beef Relief” — a title that is certainly on-brand for the show.
“We needed a name for a charitable arm of Bob’s Burgers and obviously we wanted it to say what it was and we wanted it to be funny,” explained Molyneux. “My sister Lizzy suggested ‘Beef Relief’ and that wound up winning out of 20 possible suggestions — and that’s the one Loren gravitated towards as well.”
The first event for “Beef Relief” will happen on September 21 in Los Angeles at Largo to benefit the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well-being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.
Molyneux says that they chose to bring awareness to the IRC with the benefit after hearing the organization’s head talk about the crisis in Yemen on the podcast Pod Save the World.
“There are over 400,000 people with cholera [in Yemen] and I think up to 80% of the people in the country are now food insecure because of conflicts in the region,” explains Molyneux. “There are complex reasons for that, but that’s not what we’re getting into. We said, ‘here’s a need for some money and a chance to bring visibility to the IRC.’ So our approach was just to put together, as contrary as it sounds, a very funny night to support a not funny problem.”
The benefit, which is open to the public, will be hosted by Kristen Schaal and feature stand-up performances from cast members and guest stars from Bob’s Burgers including Dan Mintz, Andy Kindler, Will Forte, Ron Funches, Zach Galifianakis, Laura Silverman, and Nicole Byer. The event will also feature Pod Save America host Jon Lovett. All the proceeds from the event will be divided between IRC’s international chapter and the services that they provide in Los Angeles.
“I feel like the IRC is a dignified organization and we are throwing them a comedy concert called ‘Beef Relief’ — which sounds like fart,” jokes Molyneux. “It’s kind that they let us associate their name with our fart concert, essentially — but that’s in the spirit of the event. Whatever we have to do to draw visibility to send money their way, we’ll do it!”