Joel Cohen

Emmy Winning Writer and Producer, The Simpsons

How Sustained Creativity is Making History

  • What does it take to stay creative and innovative for 28 straight years?
  • What lessons can be drawn from the process and group dynamics of a hit TV show?
  • How do you fix a leaky water heater?

Joel Cohen can answer two of those questions.

In his fascinating and wonderfully humorous presentations, he provides vibrant stories and key lessons to the show’s sustained creative process, group dynamics and culture of innovation. A hilarious speaker, Cohen draws links between running a business and keeping a hit show fresh. This most certainly will be the best time you will ever have at a speech.

  • The Simpsons: There’s no “I” in “Innovation”  (oh wait, there’s actually two of them)…Lessons in innovation from the most successful show in TV history.

“Just a brief note to again thank you for a great presentation at IBM’S IMPACT Conference in Orlando. All of the feedback’s been extremely positive. It was great to work with you and I hope to do it again soon. Thanks again for a job well done.”
IBM & Drury Design Dynamics

“Joel was great and better still he is a lovely guy. His presentation was to an audience of about 800 people and he was well received. So much so that I believe he was considered the best speaker of the two day event…which meant DDB was also shown in a good light.”
DDB Group Asia Pacific

“Everyone had a great time and very much enjoyed your time with us. Thank you for making an otherwise boring sales meeting very much brighter. ”

“In the 27 years I have been arranging speakers for this organization, I have not enjoyed a presentation as much as I personally enjoyed Joel’s. He was absolutely fantastic, funny, and engaging, and we’ve gotten great feedback from attendees. Thanks for your recommendation.”
The Economic Club of Grand Rapids

“I just wanted to tell you that yours was the funniest presentation I’ve ever seen in my life. Judy and I were the most cynical bastards in that room and we were pissing ourselves. My favorite was the Ikea bit. I loved it because I was thinking at first that it wasn’t as funny as the other stuff but then you kept going and going and going. Effing genius.”
Institute of Communication Agencies

“Just a short note to thank you so much for your presentation last week and all the running around you did for press opportunities. Much appreciated!

Your keynote was fun and relevant to our members.. in addition, with times like this, it was fabulous to inject some humour into the room and leave people laughing. All of our guests thoroughly enjoyed it!”

Joel has been invited to keynote more than a hundred events worldwide, including Merrill Lynch, AOL, Oklahoma State University, International Interior Design Assn., Accenture, Canadian Home Builders Assn., Colorado State University, Red Hat, Training Magazine, InnoTown, Illinois State University, Communique, Brightworks, Savannah College of Art and Design, Eli Lilly, Desire2Learn, Colorado State University, CropLife Canada,  DDB Group Asia Pacific, Envirotec, Beckman Coulter, Arido, Google, Canadian Produce Marketing Assn., Institute of Communication Agencies, Chick-fil-A, Mexico Corporate Leaders Summit, Compass Group, Canadian Construction Assn., Aptean, The Economic Club of Grand Rapids, …and many more.

Travels From:  California
City: Los Angeles
$15,001 to $20,000


As the Emmy award-winning writer and producer for The Simpsons, the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in history, Joel has been a key part of the show’s success. Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast more than 600 episodes, and was named by Time as “The greatest TV show of the 20th century.” It has won dozens of awards, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award.

A graduate of the University of Alberta (B.Sc.) and York University (M.B.A.), Joel Cohen found success in the corporate world before making a completely illogical career move into comedy writing. Cohen’s experience as both a “creative” and a “suit” has not only left him with a puzzling resume, it also gives him a unique perspective to discuss innovation and its place in business. “The same factors that allow creativity to arise, to live or to die for writers are also present and relevant in corporations and even individuals.”

In addition to writing for several movies, TV and online projects, Joel is also the author of the new book How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters. This hilariously chronicles Joel Cohen’s step-by-step journey from being a couch potato to being whatever type of potato can finish a marathon.

Quick List Resume

  • Co-Producer and Writer, The Simpsons
  • Writer, Suddenly Susan
  • Contributing writer on over 30 feature films
  • Co-created Starbucks first ever entertainment series
  • Former Advertising Executive, Turner Broadcasting
  • Managed a sales division with over $40 million dollars in revenue
  • Author, How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters
  • Awards: 2 Emmy awards (nominated 4 times)
  • Awards: 3 Writer’s Guild Award
  • Awards: Jewish Image Award (an honor he had never heard about before, yet accepted the trophy all the same)
  • Has given over 100 speeches in the US and around the world
  • B.Sc., University of Alberta
  • MBA, York University




Joel Cohen is an absolutely hilarious, deadpan, quick-on-his feet speaker…perfect for any group that needs to enhance their innovation culture, but who prefer to laugh a little (okay, a lot) while learning how.

Armed with inspired anecdotes and clips, he takes you into the fabled writer’s room at The Simpsons to draw the links – and there are many – between maintaining a hit show and running a successful company.

He asks, and then brilliantly answers, questions essential to the success of any industry. How do you manage group dynamics to get the best from your talent? How do you find, evaluate, implement, and even discard, new ideas? How do you chart a renewable path to innovation?

And how do you overcome creative log jams? (Note: for actual, literal logjams, Cohen recommends a chainsaw…or even better, hiring a guy with a chainsaw).

Areas of expertise

  • TV Writer and Director
  • From MBA to The Simpsons
  • Creativity in Business
  • Collaboration & Teamwork
  • Innovation & It’s Place in Business
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