The man who has made America laugh since 1997 made his mark on comedy animation with two of the most quintessential television shows of American history: King of the Hill and Bob’s Burgers.
Jim Dauterive is one of the most important screenwriters in American television history. He developed the beloved characters and stories of nationally acclaimed television shows.
The Emmy Award-winning writer visited Texas State April 29 for a discussion with Barbara Morgan, executive director of the Austin Film Festival. Dauterive and Morgan talked about Dauterive’s success in the television industry.
Dauterive has had a relationship with Texas State and the people involved in the Wittliff Collections since the university was still called Southwest Texas. For over 10 years, the Wittliff Collections has had materials from King of the Hill in their archives.
“I feel very fondly about (Texas State).” Dauterive said. “For instance, when I was arranging the archives to go to Texas State, people ask ‘Why not UT?’ I said, ‘well I have a relationship with these people here and I like the underdog.'”
After attending the Austin Film Festival for several years, the opportunity to speak at Texas State was one Dauterive was happy to take.
“I’m very happy to come down to do any events to benefit the Wittliff,” Dauterive said. “I also like meeting students and talking about the shows. I like the relationship that King of the Hill and Bob’s Burgers has with its fans.”
The people who work within the Wittliff Collections wanted to give Texas State students who may be interested in screenwriting or animation the opportunity to learn from an influential figure in television.
Mark Willenborg, marketing and promotions coordinator at the Wittliff Collections, said the discussion allowed students to gain access to someone operating on a high-profile level.
“(Dauterive) really understands the business and what it takes creatively, practically and legally,” Willenborg said.
In Dauterive’s discussion, he talked about both King of the Hill and Bob’s Burgers by covering the animation process, screenwriting and how the shows began.
Included in the discussion were surprises for the audience. Dauterive presented never before seen clips of upcoming Bob’s Burgers episodes while discussing the significance and behind-the-scenes process of each. There was a Q&A with the audience at the end.
Christhany Zhu, student at St. Edwards, attended the discussion. She is a fan of King of the Hill and Bob’s Burgers.
“I do some writing, so it was interesting to hear about comical writing and how that’s done,” Zhu said. “It’s really different from any other kind of writing, especially for a show that lasts so long.”
Dauterive will continue to donate materials from Bob’s Burgers to the Wittliff Collections and showcase both of the screenwriter’s most significant works.
“(I hope students) get inspired, see opportunities and realize that things are possible if you stay opened to them and work hard,” Dauterive said. “It takes luck and ability.”