Dan Harmon

Comedy writer



March 3, 1973


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, WI


48 years old


Show more categories

A little about Dan

On the spectrum

In 2011, while writing the character Abed for Community, Harmon realized through research that he might have Asperger syndrome. He consulted a doctor about it and concluded that he himself is on the spectrum.

Story Circle

Dan invented a storytelling framework referred to as the "Story Circle." It distilled Joseph Campbell's Monomyth into a simple, circular eight-step process that would reliably produce coherent stories.

Cancelled by 4chan

In July 2018, Harmon received criticism when a comedy skit from 2009 resurfaced. In the video, titled "Daryl", which was intended to be a parody of Dexter, Harmon acts out a rape using a baby doll as a prop. The video was circulated on 4chan and wou...

Related comedians


Dan's posts (25)

Create post for Dan

Dan Harmon


Nihilism and the meaning of life

The knowledge that nothing matters, while accurate, gets you nowhere. The planet is dying. The sun is exploding. The universe is cooling. Nothing's going to matter. The further back you pull, the more that truth will endure. But, when you zoom in on earth, when you zoom in to a family, when you zoom into a human brain and a childhood and experience, you see all these things that matter. We have this fleeting chance to participate in an illusion called: I love my girlfriend, I love my dog. How is that not better? Knowing the truth that nothing matters can actually save you in those moments. Once you get through that terrifying treshold of accepting that, then every place is the center of th...


Q: You seem like the kind of guy that doesn’t give too much of a shit about what anyone thinks. What's your best advice on handling or taking criticism? A: Well, you're wrong. It's kind of the opposite...I only give a shit about what anyone thinks. So much so that I've been through stuff where I had to just face the painful fact that a lot of people aren't going to be predisposed to like me...and that the harder I try to CHANGE that, the less likable I become. At a certain point I think a lot of us make the practical calculation, and say "well, I'm not really getting anywhere trying to justify myself to anyone...and come to think of it, people justifying themselves to me aren't my favorite ...
I'm not as good as other players at retaining my real-life memories, so I tend to end up with a pretty low score doing the same thing over and over again in Roy. When the teacher tells the class to think about a career, I choose writing in order to avoid hard work, then I end up moving to Hollywood and working pretty hard for 20 years and I finally get to do a roleplaying show on a streaming service, but then when I'm promoting it by doing a reddit AMA, someone always asks about my Roy score at which point my brain 'aofj fqwe jfdflalsdf adkafa adfa


My best advice about writer's block is: the reason you're having a hard time writing is because of a conflict between the GOAL of writing well and the FEAR of writing badly. By default, our instinct is to conquer the fear, but our feelings are much, much, less within our control than the goals we set, and since it's the conflict BETWEEN the two forces blocking you, if you simply change your goal from "writing well" to "writing badly," you will be a veritable fucking fountain of material, because guess what, man, we don't like to admit it, because we're raised to think lack of confidence is synonymous with paralysis, but, let's just be honest with ourselves and each other: we can only hope to...
TV was an accidental detour from what I thought was going to be a feature writing career - it started when Ben Stiller asked me and Schrab during a movie pitch meeting if we had any TV ideas...a very long story later, we ended up doing Heat Vision and Jack with Stiller and although FOX didn't pick it up, I had already gotten a taste of how much more empowered writers were in TV than they were in features and ended up sticking around for a few decades.
Up the Creek Xanadu Better Off Dead Revenge of the Nerds
I don't know if this counts as a "fan theory" but there was a guy that totally predicted the Council of Ricks as soon as we started messing around with alternate timelines. They even referenced the Fantastic Four's "Council of Reeds" or whatever it was called, which we hadn't even known about, I don't think, but which we were sort of ripping off. I mean, the guy saw that we were doing alternate timelines and was immediately like "oh, this means they could do a council of ricks if they wanted," and we were pretty stymied by that because it's exactly what we were writing when he posted that. That doesn't happen a lot. But you're more asking about stuff like "I think Rick is actually Goldenfold...
My favorite part of working on Community was getting to work with Chris McKenna, and learning from him (and from Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan) how to start transitioning from sealed-off, alienated writer guy into connected collaborator guy. Talking to other writers about how to tell a story the best way possible, sharing personal experiences and mining them for premises, and just generally being holed up in a room somewhere on a movie lot with a bunch of smart, funny people working together to try to make a perfect show, I always miss that feeling and it changed my life.
I wipe what you would call front to back I think but the thing that makes me (and apparently 40 percent of people polled) a monster is that I wipe STANDING UP, that's how I learned to wipe as a kid and I never got a "okay, now that you know how to wipe your ass, it's time to do it sitting down" lesson. I just got the "here, this is toilet paper, get the poop off your butt" orientation and now it seems that it's baked into my neurology because I tried doing it the sit-down way and I could sense that it works a little better technically but my brain just kept screaming WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, WHY ARE YOU REACHING INTO A TOILET WHILE YOU'RE STILL ON IT


I held onto a hope this season that we could get Vin Diesel because I hear he's an avid roleplayer.
A lot of times it's like a crazy person running up to a whiteboard in the writers room and drawing a turd monster with breasts for testicles. And that crazy person's name is Justin Roiland, or, as I call him, Li'l Goldmine!
I tend to assume vodka and I know it seems unlikely that Rick wouldn't use sci-fi tech to somehow augment whatever he drinks but I think in rick's mind part of the "addiction" to the flask of good old fashioned booze is that it anchors his identity, and I think he knows that if he augmented the booze or the flask, then why not just whip up a very rudimentary nanobiotic alcohol dispenser in his body or inject himself with a plasma component that just amounts to always having a certain blood alcohol level, and I think the reason he doesn't do that is because he's a little afraid he'll lose sight of who he is
The pros and cons of live action and animation are pretty much what you'd expect: in live action, you can shoot the same scene from a thousand angles for a thousand takes and figure out how to assemble the scene in "post," but if you realize that a character should have been looking a different direction or wearing a different kind of hat, you're either CGing their eyeballs or you're screwed. In animation, you can make eyeballs and hats change until the cows come home, but on the other hand, your script has to be darn near finished before the first actor even records their first line. The funny thing to me is that in live action, you can type "a room full of people" and nobody will have a he...
It was a joy. I didn't have to deal with any of the pressures and anxieties that I'm sure are a constant over there. Stepping off an elevator into a lobby with a giant MARVEL logo is already insane, it feels like you're being brought into the Pentagon. Then to finally meet the mucky mucks over there like Kevin Feige was so refreshing and uplifting....I've been pitching and babbling about high concept stuff for twenty years and I'd gotten so used to this dichotomy of the "suits," who loved sports and couldn't wait to leave work and who barely cared about the medium, versus the writers, who were the only nerds on a movie, constantly irritating the suits with their logical points about the orig...
If my twitter feed has been any indication, I already have! Just kidding. I love Black Mirror (what a pointless thing to say, who hates or even moderately dislikes it) ...It would be amazing to write an episode, I don't know if I'd have the chops to commit to grounded sci-fi without bailing into the absurd, but I'd love to try. And in case it needs to be said, obviously the parallels between the "meow meow beanz" Community episode and the episode of Black Mirror that deals with the same topic are total coincidence. From what I've heard, the cosmetic details that are uncannily identical would have been the easiest thing in the world to change if you were really trying to rip something off, an...
Each year I'm getting more and more joy out of the process than the outcome...that may be because I've been fortunate to have great outcomes and are taking them for granted but I like to think I'm remapping my neurology and interpreting certain experiences differently. I like talking to other people about how to tackle a story. If I were a character in a movie, my "arc" would definitely have something to do with a journey from isolation to collaboration. In other words, as I near my retirement, my real joy has become exploiting younger writers.
Q: "Dan, it seems like people tend to assume you're sexist because you don't shower and have that oppositional defiant disorder edginess that often comes with closet chauvinism among comedy writers, but is it true you're, like, super pro-actively invested in the obliteration of the entertainment industry's glass ceiling?" A: I'm glad you asked that, Kevin, but you see, even with that question, we're already slipping into progress' biggest impedance within the male worldview which is the unspoken characterization of feminism as some kind of charity or favor. While pro-active steps need to be taken for any effective change to occur, in my opinion, my taking of those steps has never been me "d...


Everybody's really nice to me. And there's been so many times when a stranger has suddenly said "holy shit it's Dan Harmon" or "by the way I didn't want to freak you out earlier but I'm a big fan of your work" that I now get to assume, just as a mental exercise, that at least one person in any room I enter is a fan, which makes me feel confident and also puts me on my best behavior because this theoretical "fan" is watching and I don't want them to think I'm a bad person. So on one hand, achieving notoriety is definitely surreal in that it's nothing like reality, but on the other hand, all it really does is make reality the way reality should be for every single individual. And I've been kin...
I think it's that Community and Rick and Morty don't punish obsession. I remember Megan Ganz coming to work on Community and she seemed kind of bummed out and told us that her therapist, having listened to all of her frustrations about working on Community, finally said, "but isn't it just a show?" And the reason Ganz was bummed out by that was because she knew right then and there that she now had to go and find another therapist. Nobody that worked on Community or that works on Rick and Morty has the capacity to regard the show as unimportant - people that feel that way quit - and I think you can feel through the screen that if you were to approach someone working on Rick and Morty with a ...
Yeah, because there's a lot of people jockeying for the job of "making shit up," which means there's an overwhelmingly statistical potential for disappointment in your chosen field. And that's great news because it means you're either going to realize that if you had to, you'd do it for free or you're going to realize that when push came to shove, you'd be fine doing something else and maybe writing as a hobby, etc. Nobody can tell you that it's going to work out. Outcome can't be controlled, we're not luck writers, we're screenwriters. So all one screenwriter can say to another is, hey, it's a tough racket for a really long time with random pockets of insanely good fortune to be found..ther...