Patrick Warburton Defends His Role In Family Guy, Says He's Done Apologizing For Humor

A growing topic of interest among TV audiences, for better or worse, revolves around questionable content seen in TV shows from the ‘90s and earlier eras that was seen as completely acceptable for use during such bygone eras. (With Friends’ general lack of Black characters being a popular sticking point.) The always hilarious Patrick Warburton has the distinction of having starred in one of the biggest sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld, and also continues to star in a show that’s been on TV more or less since the ‘90s, Family Guy. But while he’d previously fallen into reacting apologetically to those who might have been offended by his series, that’s not the case anymore. 

Speaking with Fox News, Warburton first addressed his notion that Seinfeld’s humor has managed to remain largely timeless, with its focus on observational humor over topical humor. In his eyes, that universal approach is what has kept the beloved comedy a syndication mainstay, and why it’s been such a popular go-to for streaming audiences. Speaking to the idea that the passing of time can affect what is or isn’t deemed suitable for comedy, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. vet said he’s done saying sorry when it comes to Family Guy and its intentionally edgy humor 

I used to apologize for being on Family Guy, and I apologize no more because this world is a horrible native satire. Everybody takes themselves too seriously, and… I think in many ways become an overwhelming mess. But we need humor in our lives, and we need love and humor, acceptance. It's all rather simple.

By all means, while Family Guy has certainly offended its fair share of viewers over the years, the show has dunked on itself and its network home as often as its targeted other pop culture entities, with the idea that it's all done in good fun. (That probably doesn't apply whole cloth to Quagmire scenes specifically, particularly ones involving sexual deviances, but still.) Should Patrick Warburton feel the need to apologize to someone who was offended by Stewie dropping an F-bomb in an animated church? Not likely. Which is probably good, because he won't.

One of Family Guy's biggest controversies revolved around its Season 3 installment "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," which was originally meant to serve as the initial series finale, but was pulled from airing by Fox, with execs claiming the ep would be perceived as anti-Semitic. Later the subject of a song-based lawsuit that went in the animated comedy's favor, the episode didn't actually air on TV in full until it hit Adult Swim in 2003, with repeats airing thereafter on Fox. 

Meanwhile, Seinfeld has also been critized for its lack of character diversity throughout its nine-season run, and star Michael Richards' scandalous stand-up set from years later didn't help that. But as far as its actual content goes, not much from the NBC hit has been viewed too harshly in retrospect, save for Larry Thomas' infamous character Yev Kassem, more famously known as the Soup Nazi, in an episode that featured the same moniker. Thomas earned an Emmy nomination for the beloved role, but recent years have seen a slight pull-back on using that particular name, with the corresponding Funko Pop character being identified as "Yev Kassem."

For a specific example of someone's words and thoughts being taken the wrong way, Patrick Warburton reflected on an interview from years past where he stated without abundant context that he avoided Jerry Seinfeld "like the plague" while portraying David Puddy on the sitcom. He then saw those quotes being shared alongside speculation that he and the show's namesake didn't get along, while the only meant to imply that he just tried to stay out of Seinfeld's way so that he didn't stick out in the comedian's mind in any kind of negative way. One can assume he didn't apologize to the Pop Tarts movie director for those comments, either.

With NFL games no longer shaking up Fox's schedule, Family Guy airs Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET, with eps available to stream (unapologetically) the next day with a Hulu subscription.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.