‘Family Guy’ Creator Seth MacFarlane Got a Job as a Newspaper Cartoonist When He Was Just 9 Years Old

Seth MacFarlane has made millions of people laugh for over two decades with his hit cartoon Family Guy, but his success goes back much farther. 

The talented writer actually started working as a newspaper cartoonist when he was only nine years old. 

Seth MacFarlane landed a newspaper cartoonist job at 9 years old

Seth MacFarlane
Seth McFarlane attends the 57th Annual ICG Publicists Awards | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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MacFarlane locked in the job after submitting a cartoon he’d drawn on a whim. The newspaper staff loved his work, which was titled Walter Crouton, and hired him shortly after. From the age of nine until he went off to college, MacFarlane maintained the job as the local newspaper’s cartoonist. 

He explained how he landed the role in a resurfaced 2015 interview with Howard Stern.

“It was a very small town,” MacFarlane said. “And I think there was only about 600 people in town at that point. So it… The town was that small that I was the only cartoonist in town.”

He grew up in a log cabin in a small Connecticut town

Having grown up in the remote town of Kent, Connecticut, MacFarlane was raised in a log cabin. 

“A log cabin,” MacFarlane said. “My father built two houses when I was—and both were—one of them was the log cabin, and the other one was a timber frame that he couldn’t—he refused to build a house that was not built with the techniques that were used 300 years ago.”

His cartoon made a local priest very angry

Even though MacFarlane’s work was remarkable for someone his age, not all of it was well received. In the newspaper’s cartoon competition, he drew one that showed a little boy asking for fries during communion. The local priest was not happy. 

“I actually got an angry letter from the local priest, saying ‘Shame on you for insulting the almighty God and those who love him,” MacFarlane said. “And down below, it said, ‘Do you like me, check yes, no, or maybe.’” 

By that point, MacFarlane realized that his words were powerful enough to evoke reactions from people, good and bad. However, he swears that he doesn’t intentionally go out of his way to upset people with his jokes. 

“It was kind of alarming, I think,” MacFarlane said. “The misconception is that I set out to do—believe it or not, I actually don’t set out to piss people off. My sense of humor happens to be innately angering, I think.”

Seth MacFarlane’s early success didn’t earn him widespread recognition

Despite achieving such a massive accomplishment at only nine years old, MacFarlane’s life didn’t change too much after getting the job. His classmates held him in the same regard as they did before. 

“You know, no, it didn’t really affect much, I guess it should have, huh?” MacFarlane said. “I was still kind of a nerd.” 

Personally, MacFarlane didn’t feel very distinguished either. His confidence in himself didn’t get much of a boost, despite doing remarkable work. 

“I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything that’s given me tremendous confidence,” MacFarlane joked.