Josh Lieb is an Emmy-winning producer for The Simpsons and The Daily Show and author of I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President. He has also been a writer for the popular 1990s television series "NewsRadio" and for The Jon Stewart Show.
Question: Do you want to live forever?
Josh Lieb: No. Look, it’s easier to say I don’t want to live forever when I haven’t quite come to grips with my own mortality yet. I’m in my late-30’s, maybe when I hit 40 I’ll go, “Oh, you know, I really am going to die, I still have enough youthful vigor in me to believe – to have a hard time comprehending my actual death. But I don’t think I want to live forever or, I certainly wouldn’t want to live forever as an old person. And no knock on old people, because they are wonderful, but it seems very hard.
Question: Aubrey de Grey says it may be possible in your lifetime.
Josh Lieb: I don’t want to hobble around for centuries, and it seems that all the stuff we do when we were young and we think we are going to live forever, you live with such a vengeance, you start smoking when you’re 15 because you really don’t give a damn about your mortality and you don’t think you're ever going to die, or if you do die, you’re going to die in a car wreck, you’re not going to die of emphysema. And then you’re 90 and you die of emphysema, and it’s miserable. And I mean, I don’t know. I don’t have that devotion. I think I’m sure Aubrey De Grey says you can live forever; here’s how you do it. You eat 800 calories a day, you never have a cigarette, you drink one glass of red wine twice a week, and you know, I don’t want to say it’s not a life, but it’s not my life. And I guess I still got a bit of that romantic jackass in myself who imagines myself larger than life and I do give myself license to misbehave a little, but you do have to – I do enjoy a good steak. My father’s family is from Nebraska, and my mother’s father was there. I’m tremendously Jewish; I like nothing better than Gribness, which is fried, rendered chicken fat with some onion in it. Like, it’s delicious. I can’t eat that very often; it will make me sick. But that is a delicacy and I can eat it and go wow, 250 years ago, there was a Rabbi in Poland who was my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, who was enjoying the same meal. So, I think when you devote yourself to living forever, you probably divorce yourself from all the previous humanity before you.
Recorded on: October 9, 2009. Interviewed by Paul Hoffman.