Details: Thanks to a $100 million deal with FOX, you're the highest-paid writer-producer on TV. How has life changed?
Seth MacFarlane: I have the same job. I go to the same place every day and work with the same people. I bought a new house. I have a car that I like—an Aston Martin—for Sunday drives in the country. I bought a piece of a plane so I could avoid the airports. But look, I'll still go through the Burger King drive-thru.
Seth MacFarlane: Well, Whopper Jr. these days, now that I'm in my thirties.
Details: Are women just crawling out of the woodwork?
Seth MacFarlane: Believe it or not, I have about the same success rate as anyone else. Sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. When you're dealing with women of substance and quality, success in Hollywood can be something you're actually fighting a perception of. Without naming names, there are certainly a lot of people who do what I do who have taken enough hedonistic advantage of their position as to put a negative stigma on the job. If you're a producer, you're somebody to check into.
Details: A player.
Seth MacFarlane: Exactly. I tried that for a little while. It's somewhat dissatisfying. With the sort of woman who's worth spending a significant amount of your time with, you do oftentimes have to press a little bit to insist that they get to know you.
Details: To prove you're not a cad?
Seth MacFarlane: A douche. I don't own one wool knit cap, though, so I think I've got that going for me.
Details: I understand you recently went to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner as Larry King's date.
Seth MacFarlane: Yes. I did his show, and he asked me during one of the breaks if I wanted to go, and I had no other plans, so I said, "Sure, why not?" It's kind of a hilarious competition among the press with regard to who can rustle up the biggest celebrity. Larry must have been desperate, resorting to me.
Details: You were his arm candy.
Seth MacFarlane: I was Larry King's arm candy. He bought me the most beautiful gown. It was the sweetest thing.
Details: You recently wrote—and will direct—an R-rated live-action/CGI comedy called
Ted, about a man and his teddy bear. Are you concerned this could be your Howard the Duck?
Seth MacFarlane: That thought has crossed my mind. There's an old episode of Star Trek about this perfect society where the people live in absolute harmony with each other, but the one catch is every day there's something called the red hour when they all go berserk. I think that's a good analogy for Howard the Duck's place in George Lucas' career. But there's something exciting about entering an unfamiliar medium that you can possibly completely fuck up. The danger of career annihilation is kind of appealing.
Details: The word is that the R rating is truly a "hard R."
Seth MacFarlane: "Hard R," I think, is a term that is used in features, certainly with comedy, in the same way that the phrase "about a dysfunctional family" is used in television. It's sort of tossed about with reckless abandon, even when it doesn't apply. Ted is definitely an R-rated comedy, but the story is relatively, dare I say, sweet.
Details: You dominate Sunday nights on FOX, voicing many of the characters on your shows, which—combined with the reruns of Family Guy on TBS—makes you difficult to avoid. Do you ever turn on your television and hear your voice coming out of it?
Seth MacFarlane: It's a very fashionable thing to say, obviously, but I really don't watch a lot of TV. The buffet is a little lacking these days. There are no shows on television right now that genuinely make me laugh, with the exception of Real Time With Bill Maher.
Details: You once compared Arizona's immigration policy to Nazi Germany's.
Seth MacFarlane: My phrasing of that comment was a little bit inelegant, but the spirit of it is intact. It was odd to me that the Anti-Defamation League got so up in arms about that. They said, "How can you compare this to the Holocaust?" which seemed to me an utterly idiotic response. No one is comparing Arizona to the Holocaust. But in the 1920s, everyone thought the Nazis were a crazy fringe group that would vanish. So we're saying, "Okay, here's an example of something in its early stages—it could go nowhere; it could go somewhere very bad." We point it out, and we're attacked.