Bill's Autobiography
NewsRadio episode






Joe Furey


Michael Lembeck


Joe Furey

Production Code


Original Airdate

November 21, 1995





"Bill's Autobiography" is the seventh episode of the second season of NewsRadio, and the fourteenth episode overall.

Synopsis Edit

Bill asks Dave to sign a release letter so that he can pursue writing an autobiography. He gets upset once he finds out that Dave let the book deal slip to Lisa, who quickly tells the rest of the staff. He tells Dave and Lisa in private that after three months, he doesn't even have an outline, as he doesn't think his career was particularly interesting.

The staff are distracted trying to suggest book titles, causing Dave to give up on a meeting. The attention causes Bill to overcompensate for his lack of material. Dave offers him a tape recorder to record his thoughts. When Jimmy catches wind of the book deal, he plans to make a big promotion out of it, even making a life-size cutout of Bill.

Bill comes in the next day unkempt, still not making any progress. Dave and Lisa suggest he give up, but he doesn't want to give the staff the satisfaction of seeing him fail. As he predicted, they are amused when Dave tells them about the writer's block, but agree to play along to encourage him. After he sees through their ruse at the bar after work, they try to offer helpful suggestions, but he decides that he needs to be alone.

The next day, Bill is late to work, and Jimmy feels guilty for hyping the book, so he breaks the cutout in half just as Bill walks in. He boasts to the staff that after he entered a low point the previous night, he was inspired to write the first three chapters. Dave is tired of his ego and refuses to sign the release. Urged by his coworkers, Bill confronts Dave in his office, but it was all a ruse worked out between them to get him out of writing the book.


 "Chicago, 1968. The Democratic Convention. Hippies and yippies alike filled the streets, waging a war of peace against Mayor Daley's thugs. There I was... watching it on TV in my dorm and drinking."

Bill, into the tape recorder

Bill: "You told them, didn't you?"

Dave: "Told them what?"

Bill: "That I haven't written a word. That my life couldn't fill up a haiku much less a book."

Bill: "The problem as I see it is that I have absolutely no personality of my own."

Beth: "No!"

Matthew: "Oh, Bill..."

Beth: "That's not true."

Joe: "Come on, man!"

Dave: "Ridiculous, Bill."

Bill: "Seriously. I envy you people. There's something distinct and individual about each one of you. Beth: The red-headed firebrand with a lust for life despite her go-nowhere job. Joe: A two-bit hood manque with a can-do attitude that borders on delusional psychosis. Matthew... I don't exactly know what you are, but there aren't many like you."

Matthew: "Wow, thank you!"

Catherine: "Okay, well what about me, Bill? Huh? What about me? Now all I have is a good radio voice, just like you."

Bill: "Just like me."

Catherine: "Yes."

Bill: "Except you're a woman, and you're black, ooh, what I wouldn't give."

Catherine: "It's not everything it's made out to be, Bill."

Bill: "Sorry I had to play the race card."

"You'd be cocky too if you had this because it's that good!"

-Bill, pretending to have written three chapters

Credits Edit

Main Cast Edit

Dave Foley as Dave Nelson

Stephen Root as Jimmy James

Andy Dick as Matthew Brock

Maura Tierney as Lisa Miller

Vicki Lewis as Beth

Joe Rogan as Joe Garelli

Khandi Alexander as Catherine Duke

Phil Hartman as Bill McNeal

Trivia Edit

In-Universe Edit

Fact-Checking Bill: He is correct about the age when Dan Rather starting working for the Associated Press.

Bill admits to drinking at age 19. He got into radio because his aunt owned a radio station, and hired him to get him to stop drinking.

Bill claims to have watched the 1968 Democratic Convention in his college dorm while drinking, That would make him about 46/47 at the time of this episode, the same age as Phil Hartman at the time.

Dave has an obsession with the song "A Horse With No Name" but the band America.

Production Edit

Speaking of the band America, Phil Hartman did album artwork for them in the 1970s (on Hearts, History: America's Greatest Hits, and Harbor). His brother John was manager for them at the time.