Joel Cohen

Artistry and enterprise aren’t opposites. In fact, they’re fundamentally linked.

Writer and Co-Executive Producer on The Simpsons

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Joel Cohen | Writer and Co-Executive Producer on The Simpsons

How did Joel Cohen—a former “suit” in the corporate world—end up writing for The Simpsons? And what can he teach us about innovation, creativity, teamwork, and the value of a diverse workforce? A hilarious speaker, Cohen draws links between running a business and keeping a hit show fresh. 

“The greatest TV show of the 20th century.”

TIME on The Simpsons

Joel Cohen found success in the corporate world before making a completely illogical career move into comedy writing. Luckily for him (and taxpayers who fund the welfare system), it worked out: he became an Emmy-winning writer for The Simpsons. Cohen’s experience as both a “creative” and a “suit” has not only left him with a puzzling resume, it also gives him a unique perspective to discuss creativity and its place in business. “The same factors that allow creativity to arise, to live or to die for writers are also present and relevant in corporations and even individuals.” His insights are entertaining, highly practical and slightly tinged with a Canadian accent. 


“In the 27 years I have been arranging speakers for this organization, I have not enjoyed a presentation as much as I personally enjoyed Joel’s. He was absolutely fantastic, funny, and engaging, and we've gotten great feedback from attendees. Thanks for your recommendation.”

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids

“Joel was great and better still he is a lovely guy. His presentation was to an audience of about 800 people and he was well received. So much so that I believe he was considered the best speaker of the two day event—which meant DDB was also shown in a good light.”

DDB Group Asia Pacific

Speech Topics

Innovation & Creativity
The Business Tao of Homer Lessons in Creativity and Innovation from The Simpsons

Joel Cohen is an absolutely hilarious, deadpan, quick-on-his feet speaker—perfect for any group that needs to inject more creative energy into their work, but who prefer to laugh a little (okay, a lot) while learning how. Armed with inspired anecdotes and clips, he takes you into the fabled writers’ room at The Simpsons to draw the links—and there are many—between maintaining a hit show and running a successful company. He asks, and then brilliantly answers, questions essential to the success of any industry. How do you manage group dynamics to get the best from your talent? How do you find, evaluate, implement, and even discard, new ideas? How do you chart a renewable path to innovation? And how do you overcome creative log jams? (Note: for actual, literal logjams, Cohen recommends a chainsaw—or even better, hiring a guy with a chainsaw).

Arts & Pop Culture
How I Chose to Waste My Education A Writer Takes You Behind the Scenes of The Simpsons

In this crowd-pleasing talk, Cohen shows you how some of the most memorable moments in the show’s history—nay, in popular culture—came into being.