Information Diet: David X. Cohen

'Futurama' head writer gets through L.A. commute with audio books


Age 45

Accomplishments Head writer and executive producer of Futurama, which premieres on Comedy Central on June 20 at 10 p.m.; former writer on The Simpsons

Base Los Angeles

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

I guess it would be the time and how late I am for work.

What do you read or watch or listen to at the breakfast table?

I watch my 5-year-old daughter spilling cereal on her face.

What occupies your mind in the car?

My big thing now is books on tape—actually books on download—because I have this long commute like everybody in L.A., and I was wasting it listening to the five-minute news cycle. So suddenly, I actually listen to books on tape coming and going. If there’s one key change in my information diet, it’s audio books.

Are you a TV junkie or on an airtime-restricted diet?

When I do watch TV, it’s pre-recorded and DVRed. We have a joke on Futurama here and there about other TV shows, but I guess just because of the epic nature of our sci-fi stories, we tend to reference movies.

What do you consume on television?

Game of Thrones is my thing right now. I’ve been given all the books as a birthday present, but I don’t want to read them because I don’t want to ruin the show.

What do you bite into on the way home?

I just started listening to a science-fiction trilogy—Peter Hamilton’s Void Trilogy—and I just finished Stephen King’s JFK book 11/22/63. I quite enjoyed it, even though it felt like sci-fi for people who don’t read sci-fi.

What tech from Futurama would you most like to see show up in the real world?

I just read about someone starting a company that claims to build transport tubes that can send you around the world in a tube like a letter in an old ’50s office building. I think that would be cool—to just shoot over to Japan for a day in a tube.

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.

Oh, here’s a good one: the Samsung TV remote app I downloaded, which I can use as a remote for my TV from anywhere in the house. So I can change the volume and stuff from another room and annoy people. It’s one I was waiting for because the smartphone seems to be putting devices out of commission one by one, and the remote control just seemed ripe for that. My flashlight is gone now.

With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?

I’m not good at cutting out the fat, but my schedule makes it a moot point. I have to be in a room talking to the writers all day, every day. My brain doesn’t have the capability to do that while reading online. I do that every now and then, but then I see people looking at me saying, “Why aren’t we working?” It’s peer pressure, honestly.