The Sporting Life: Funny Guy Edition

Seth MacFarlane photo by  Art Streiber

Seth MacFarlane photo by Art Streiber

Seth MacFarlane performs with the Nashville Symphony on Friday, July 1, at 8:00 p.m. at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The dynamic Seth MacFarlane joins the Nashville Symphony for one night only to sing classic big band tunes and standards from his three hit albums, including his latest Grammy-nominated collection, No One Ever Tells You. Creator of Family Guy and Ted, MacFarlane has traveled the globe to sing with some of the world’s greatest orchestras. Don’t miss your chance to see this phenomenal entertainer in his first-ever Nashville appearance.

Grammy-nominated singer, writer, actor, producer, and director Seth MacFarlane’s latest album No One Ever Tells You, debuted No. 1 on the iTunes jazz charts. It was produced by Grammy-nominated producer, composer, and arranger Joel McNeely, who will conduct the symphony during MacFarlane’s performance. The album is a 17-track set featuring such standards as “Ship Without a Sail.”

To date, MacFarlane has released three successful albums and has garnered two Emmy awards, four Grammy nominations, and an Oscar nomination for his work in television, music, and film. He has traveled the world, performing with renowned orchestras such as the BBC Proms, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic.

MacFarlane began his career studying animation and design at the Rhode Island School of Design. Executives at FOX made him an offer to create a pilot presentation while he was working at Hanna-Barbera. MacFarlane created, animated, wrote, produced, directed, and provided all the main male characters’ voices for a seven-minute short that eventually became Family Guy.

Family Guy was canceled twice. Executives revived the show for a third time when they noticed DVD sales, international revenue, and cable ratings on the rise. Family Guy is a multi-billion-dollar asset for FOX, and in 2009 it became the only animated show since The Flintstones in 1961 to be nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Comedy category. In addition to Family Guy, MacFarlane serves as co-creator, executive producer, and voice actor on American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, the latter of which ended its 88-episode run in May 2013.

MacFarlane executive produced Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the 21st century update version of the landmark series Cosmos, Carl Sagan’s iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science. Hosted by the stellar astrophysicist and public intellectual Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered in March 2014 on 10 U.S. networks, simultaneously across FOX and National Geographic platforms around the world, making it the largest television premiere event of all-time. It has since become the most-watched series in the history of the National Geographic Channel.

MacFarlane made his feature-film directorial debut in 2012 with the highest-grossing original R-rated film of all-time, Ted. This buddy comedy starred Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane as the voice of a lovable foul-mouthed teddy bear. The film made over $545 million worldwide and was also co-written and produced by MacFarlane.

MacFarlane has gone on to write, direct and produce A Million Ways to Die in the West, and Ted 2. Next up for MacFarlane is Illumination Entertainment’s animated musical family comedy, Sing, in which he voices Mike, a small mouse with a big Sinatra-esque voice and an arrogant attitude. The film is scheduled for a December 21, 2016 release.

MacFarlane created the Seth MacFarlane Foundation in 2009 to focus his charitable efforts. Through his foundation, he funded the Seth MacFarlane collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan archive at the Library of Congress. He also continues to be an avid supporter of science communication, cancer research, and the non-profit organizations Chrysalis and Perry’s Place.

Interesting factoid: On the morning of September 11, 2001, MacFarlane was scheduled to return to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston. Suffering from a hangover after the previous night’s celebrations that followed his speech at his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design, and with an incorrect departure time (8:15 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m.) from his travel agent, he arrived at Logan International Airport about ten minutes too late to board the flight as the gates had been closed. Fifteen minutes after departure, American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked, and at 8:46 a.m. it was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board.

About the incident, MacFarlane has said, “The only reason it hasn’t really affected me as it maybe could have is I didn’t really know that I was in any danger until after it was over, so I never had that panic moment. After the fact, it was sobering, but people have a lot of close calls; you’re crossing the street and you almost get hit by a car….. this one just happened to be related to something massive. I really can’t let it affect me because I’m a comedy writer. I have to put that in the back of my head.”