Dan Harmon

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Dan Harmon
Dan Harmon (14790686643).jpg
Harmon at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2014.
Born (1973-01-03) January 3, 1973 (age 46)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US
Occupation Writer, producer, performer
Known for Community
Rick and Morty
Channel 101
Monster House
Heat Vision and Jack
Spouse(s) Erin McGathy (m. 2014-2015)

Dan Harmon (born January 3, 1973) is an American writer and performer. Harmon is best known for creating and producing NBC comedy series Community, co-creating Adult Swim animated television series Rick and Morty, and co-founding the alternative television network/website Channel 101. Harmon published You'll Be Perfect When You're Dead in 2013[2] and is currently working on a second book set for publication in 2016.[3]

He also hosts a weekly eponymous podcast, Harmontown.

Early life

Harmon was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from Brown Deer High School in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, and attended Marquette University. He briefly attended Glendale Community College. He would later use his experiences at the community college to form the basis of the show Community.[4]


Early career (1996–2008)

Harmon was a member of ComedySportz Milwaukee, alongside Rob Schrab, a member of the sketch troupe The Dead Alewives. They produced an album, "Take Down the Grand Master," in 1996. Harmon frequently appeared at Milwaukee's Safehouse free comedy stage early in his career. A notable routine was a song about masturbation.

Dan Harmon at a panel for Community at PaleyFest 2010.

Harmon co-created the television pilot Heat Vision and Jack (starring Owen Wilson and Jack Black) and several Channel 101 shows, some featuring Jack Black, Drew Carey, and Sarah Silverman. He co-created Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Program and served as head writer for several episodes. Harmon portrayed a highly fictionalized version of Ted Templeman on two episodes of the Channel 101 web series Yacht Rock, a satirical history of soft rock, featuring stories about Templeman's collaborations with The Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald and Van Halen. He was the creator, executive producer, and a featured performer in Acceptable.TV, a Channel 101-based sketch show airing for eight episodes in March 2007 on VH1. He and Rob Schrab co-wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated film Monster House.[5] He is credited for writing part of Rob Schrab's comic book series Scud: The Disposable Assassin, as well as the spin-off comic series La Cosa Nostroid.

Community (2009–2015)

In 2009, Harmon's sitcom Community, inspired by his own community college experiences, was picked up by NBC to be in its fall lineup. Harmon served as executive producer and showrunner for 3 seasons until May 18, 2012, when it was announced that Harmon was being let go from his position on Community as a result of tensions between himself and Sony executives.[6] On June 1, 2013, Harmon announced that he would be returning to Community, serving as co-showrunner along with Chris McKenna;[7][8] this was confirmed by Sony Pictures on June 10.[9] NBC cancelled the show after its fifth season in May 2014,[10] after which Harmon announced on June 30, 2014 that Yahoo! had renewed the series for a 13-episode sixth season to air online on Yahoo! Screen.[11]

Harmontown (2011–present)

On May 23, 2011, Harmon began hosting a monthly live comedy show and podcast at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood called Harmontown. After his firing from Community, the show became weekly. The show is co-hosted by Jeff B. Davis and features ongoing campaigns of pen-and-paper role-playing games, first Dungeons & Dragons, and now Shadowrun with show Game Master Spencer Crittenden. The show has featured guests, such as Kumail Nanjiani, Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Idle, Greg Proops, Jason Sudekis, Ryan Stiles, Robin Williams, as well as Harmon's ex-wife, podcaster Erin McGathy.[12] Harmon and Davis took the show on tour in early 2013, broadcasting from Austin, Nashville, Somerville, Massachusetts, Brooklyn, Rhode Island, and more. The tour became the subject of a documentary produced by director Neil Berkeley that follows Harmon, Davis, McGathy, and Crittenden. The documentary, also called Harmontown, premiered at the Austin Film Festival SXSW on March 8, 2014.[13][14]

Rick and Morty (2012–present)

Harmon and co-showrunner, Justin Roiland, began developing ideas for an animated show during Harmon's yearlong break from Community.[15] For its fall 2012 season, Adult Swim ordered a 30-minute animated pilot from Harmon and Roiland. The pilot, Rick & Morty, is about the adventures of a brilliant but mean-spirited inventor and his less-than-genius grandson.[16] The show premiered on December 2, 2013 and was renewed for a second season.[17] On the show, Harmon voiced recurring character Bird Person.[18]

Story embryos

A notable contribution of Dan Harmon's is a storytelling framework referred to as the "story embryo".[19] It is the simplest form of a story.

While working on Channel 101, Harmon found that many of the directors he was working with claimed that they were unable to write plots for television shows.[20] This caused Harmon to distill Joseph Campbell's structure of the Monomyth into a simple eight-step process that would reliably produce coherent stories.


Dan Harmon appears in a cameo role in episode two in season four of Arrested Development as the Yurt Clerk and in Funny People as a paparazzo. He also has a guest spot as a voice actor in the Fox animated television series Axe Cop.[21] His voice also appeared as a disclaimer-style voiceover in the Community finale.


In July 2009, Harmon was nominated in two Emmy categories for his part in writing the Oscar telecast: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, the latter of which he was awarded for "Hugh Jackman Opening Number" at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards.

Personal life

In December 2013, Harmon proposed to his long-time girlfriend Erin McGathy.[22] The two married in November 2014.[23] They currently reside in Los Angeles, California. The two announced they were divorcing in October 2015.[24]


  1. Keveney, Bill (2007-03-23). "'Acceptable.TV' puts the Net in comic vignettes". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Dan Harmon's "You'll Be Perfect When You're Dead" Now Available". The Comedy Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Dan Harmon Writing Another Book of Essays, Set For Publishing at Doubleday". The Comedy Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Ebright, Olsen (September 17, 2009). "NBC's "Community" Based on Glendale Community College". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved 7 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Dan Harmon at the Internet Movie Database
  6. Rose, Lacey (July 17, 2013). "'Community's' Dan Harmon Reveals the Wild Story Behind His Firing and Rehiring". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Simpson, Connor (2013-06-01). "Dan Harmon Is Officially Returning to 'Community.'" TheAtlanticWire.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  8. Harris, Aisha (2013-06-03). "The Brightest Timeline: Dan Harmon Returning to Community." Slate.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
  9. Andreeva, Nellie (June 10, 2013). "DONE DEAL: Dan Harmon & Chris McKenna To Return To 'Community' For Season 5". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Butterly, Amelia (12 May 2014). "Community TV show "difficult" to resurrect says creator". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Sepinwall, Alan (June 30, 2014). "'Community' renewed by Yahoo for sixth season; movie to follow?". Hitflix.com. Retrieved June 30, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Twitter Page of Erin McGathy".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. DeFore, John (March 10, 2014). "Harmontown: SXSW Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Lies, Erica (April 7, 2014). "Diving Into the Cult of Dan Harmon in 'Harmontown'". Splitsider. Retrieved April 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Cohen, Ivan (January 24, 2014). "Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland on Rick and Morty, How Community Is Like Star Trek, and Puberty". Vulture. Retrieved 7 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Rose, Lacey (May 15, 2012). "Upfronts 2012: Adult Swim Orders Eight Pilots, Including a Project From 'Community's' Dan Harmon". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 19, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Goldberg, Leslie (February 12, 2014). "Dan Harmon's 'Rick and Morty' Renewed for Second Season". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Rick and Morty: Get Schwifty" at the Internet Movie Database
  19. "How Dan Harmon Drives Himself Crazy Making Community".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Dan Harmon, Community - XOXO Festival (2012)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. FOX Releases ‘Axe Cop’ Voice Cast, Sets Saturday Animation Domination HD Premiere. Screencrush.com (2013-01-08). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
  22. McGathy, Erin (December 28, 2013). "Erin McGathy, "Engaged!"". Instagram. Instagram.com. Retrieved March 27, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Rowles, Dustin (17 November 2014). "'Community' Showrunner Dan Harmon Got Married This Weekend, And The Wedding Was Amazing". Uproxx. Retrieved 8 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. McGathy, Erin. "Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 11 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links