Self-professed asshole without a filter is how Bob Camp, one of my idols, describes himself. My kind of people because I’m a bit of an asshole too.

Some say you should never meet your idols. I prefer to say, “Recognize your idols are ordinary people who’ve done extraordinary things.”

He created the animated TV show Ren and Stimpy for those who don’t know who Bob Camp is. If you’ve never seen it, you should have. I want to feel sorry for you, but remember, I’m a bit of an asshole.

“The Ren & Stimpy Show has received widespread critical acclaim from critics and audiences, with praise for its visuals, animation, and surreal nature. However, it has also generated significant controversy for its dark humor, sexual innuendos, adult humor, violence, and shock value. This controversy contributed to the production staff’s altercations with Nickelodeon’s Standards and Practices department.”

The Ren & Stimpy Show. (2024, June 8). In Wikipedia.

Bob’s nickname for the woman they had to submit scripts to in the Standards and Practices department was “the nun.” He doesn’t know whether she was a nun in a previous life, but that’s how they felt she reviewed their scripts. She would reject words like booger or snot, so you had to create things like magical nose goblins,

Bob got to push the limits of what had been done in animation, and that was what he wanted to do, so when he got his chance, he and the team around him took it. When we are creative, we’ve defined the sound you hear as you cross the line of acceptability as “Whoosh!” That’s when you know you’ve gone too far and must backtrack. Bob told me they weren’t allowed to have Ren sitting on the toilet and eating a sandwich, so they put him sitting in the kitchen on a garbage can and taking a dump while eating a sandwich to get past the nun—exactly my kind of guy.

I asked Bob how this was possible. How did you get away with it? He said a lot of it was timing. Nickelodeon and cable TV were new, and they wanted something that would stand out and get attention. Basically, I had complete creative freedom to do what I wanted. And I executed my vision.

That was the key, the ultimate answer, the solution to the mystery that plagued me for years. Magical, amazing things are created and sent into the world when geniuses are given complete creative freedom. When the short dick-nose pickers get involved, it all goes to shit, which is why so many great things end up blah, and why it could never exist today.

That should be a warning to you. Don’t hire creative marketing people and have them implement your vision; develop a shared vision you can get behind. Then get out of their way and let them do their best for you. Don’t be an asshole and drag it into the world of just ok or good. Or worse, don’t be the nun. Instead, run with them, dance with them and create something great. Something that makes people feel something. Take your prospect on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s just way more fun for everyone. Oh, and I guarantee you’ll find more shekels in your pocket at the end of the day.

Bob shared with me the origin and creative process he used to create the log commercial that appears in the show, as well as other things he and the team can still chuckle about because they were able to slide them past the nun. If you want to know, I’ll share them with you, or you can meet Bob and hear it from the horse’s mouth yourself.

Today, Bob is contributing in what he describes as an asshole-free zone, working on SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick the StarFish. He’s happy he is putting more stupidity out into the universe. What a great way to see your mission. Thanks, Bob, for being an unfiltered asshole and making something that makes us Happy Happy, Joy, Joy.

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