Skip to main content

In a recent interview with MSNBC, Dan Harmon said he’s changed both personally and professionally in recent years. When the Rick and Morty creator was 27, he says he “was what we might have called an incel.” Here’s how his life looks different now, and how that’s affected his feelings about women and companionship.

A close-up of Dan Harmon in a blue button-down shirt.
Dan Harmon | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Seeso

Dan Harmon on the internet revolution and nerd culture

Rick and Morty has an almost cult following with hoards of fans discussing plot lines, theories, and the show’s philosophies in various corners of the internet. Rick and Morty fans are devout and proud. And some of them are nerds, defined as “people that are experts in something that is, on some level, pointless to someone else” by Harmon.

In his interview with Ari Melber, Harmon went on to speak about “the internet revolution,” where everyone realized they were a nerd in some way or another. In 1999, he says “the nerds became the bullies.”

“The word ‘nerd’ was co-opted from militant nerds out there that resent that day,” he said. “I look back and say, ‘How long did we spend wishing that every movie was about a comic book character instead of a retired cop? How long did we endure this society?’ Now we’ve taken over.”

Still, the Rick and Morty creator describes the internet as “a sewer” — “It’s where the worst of us go.” 

Dan Harmon was ‘the kid that annoys the hell out of me on my Instagram’

Some of the worst of the bunch happen to like Rick and Morty. Harmon says he “totally understand[s] it.”

“I was what we might have called an incel when I was 27,” he said. “I look at my early bloggings and things and I am the kid that annoys the hell out of me on my Instagram.”

Melber pressed Harmon to define “the kid,” the “incel” further, in his terms.

“The guy who’s angry at women because he feels entitled to company and is wondering when the world became an illusion whose job was to deprive him of that which satisfies him,” replied Harmon. “This isn’t how cool people think. If you were in control of your life, which I am now, you’re not gonna think that way. The big question is: Are you an honest person? Are you a person? Or are you a collection of reactions?”

In recent years, Harmon has made some changes in his life. One of those changes is achieving more balance. When he was working on Community, the following scene wasn’t an anomaly:

“I was at my office at 3 in the morning with a glass of booze in one hand and a dry erase marker in the other and an empty office literally crying as I broke a story for Episode 3 or 4 of Season 1,” he described.

Now, with 70 episodes promised to Rick and Morty by Adult Swim, he’s more “chill.”

“I think I’ve made a very healthy choice in the wake of signing that agreement to go home at 5 pm,” he said.  

‘I wish only saints and cool race car drivers liked [‘Rick and Morty’]’

Harmon has commented in past interviews on how it’s disappointing to him when the “meanest person in a conversation” quotes the show.

“It always bums me out when somebody uses a meme of a quote for the show and it’s being used by somebody who isn’t the greatest specimen,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2019. “I hate it when a line from our show is being used by the meanest person in a conversation online.”


‘Rick and Morty’ Creator Dan Harmon Answers: ‘What Is the Point of Life?’

But, at the end of the day, “it is what it is.” Harmon can’t control who watches the show. He can only control his own personal development.

“It’s a popular show,” he said. “I don’t think, ‘Oh God, I’ve done something terrible.’ I wish only saints and cool race car drivers liked our show, but then we wouldn’t make any money.”