'Family Guy' creator regrets JFK assassination joke

Seth-MacFarlane

Image Credit: USA Network

It’s tough to imagine a sensitive topic that Fox’s Family Guy has not mercilessly mocked. But creator Seth MacFarlane says he now has a few regrets.

Talking to journalist Krista Smith for her upcoming USA Network talk show, Out of Character with Krista Smith, MacFarlane reveals there’s some gags he wishes the envelope-pushing animated hit had not aired — including one in particular.

“There have been jokes that I would have rather we not have done,” MacFarlane said. “The JFK Pez Dispenser was something I would probably not do now.”

The joke was from the first season of Family Guy back in 1999 (clip below) and was deleted from some subsequent airings. In the scene, a kid runs out of a store excited about his new John F. Kennedy Pez Dispenser. The toy’s head gets shot off by a police sniper. The kid whips out another Pez Dispenser and says, “Good thing I still have my Bobby Kennedy Pez Dispenser.”

MacFarlane has defended Family Guy in the past as an “equal-opportunity offender,” such as when a character with Down syndrome drew the ire of Sarah Palin. He once compared getting complaints from the Parents Television Council to “getting hate mail from Hitler.” Yet he told Smith he’s “felt horrible” over a joke and noted there’s “a couple of surprising people who have become very upset” about being mocked in the show.

“Adrian Brody got very upset with me at a party about a joke we made about him,” MacFarlane said. “I felt horrible. Because I actually think he’s a tremendously gifted actor. If you’re going to take a stab at somebody — even a celebrity, it can’t be just mean, it also has to be funny or they have to really, really deserve it.”

Smith’s celebrity interview program debuts Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 11 p.m. on USA, and includes profiles of MacFarlane, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and designer Jason Wu.

Here’s a clip of the JFK Pez joke:

Longtime Family Guy fans know, however, that there’s another 11/22/63 joke that’s arguably more shocking — showing the assassination of Mayor McCheese:

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