Chuck Lorre is proud of his “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” legacy.
Lorre told us Monday that he’s pleased to hear Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” references the “Ninja Turtles” theme song, poking fun at the fact that the now-megaproducer wrote it as a struggling songwriter in the ’80s.
“I’m just thrilled that the song is still happening,” he said. “That’s 30 years ago that the song got written. And it got written by me and my [then-writing] partner Dennis Brown. We wrote it in an afternoon and we recorded it in an evening. And it’s still alive! How cool is that?”
Lorre said he hasn’t seen the reference yet on “Kimmy Schmidt,” but friends have told him about it. In the scene, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) references the “Ninja Turtles” theme song, then innocently muses, “Whoever wrote that song deserves to be a billionaire!” Behind her, a sign points out that Lorre wrote the song.
“The fact that the song still means anything to anyone anywhere is just wonderful,” Lorre said. “At the time, who would have imagined. The series was originally six episodes. That’s how many they ordered to be produced. Six. It’s become this phenomenon I’m very proud to be attached to.”
Of course, the inside joke is that Lorre has indeed become extremely successful (if not a billionaire, extremely close) in the years since he wrote “heroes in a half-shell…. Turtle Power!” After all, as the executive producer behind TV hits “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Mike & Molly” and “Two and a Half Men” (not to mention “Dharma & Greg” and many more), Lorre’s shows have been syndication goldmines.
Besides “Ninja Turtles,” Lorre’s most infamous song credit is Debbie Harry’s 1986 track “French Kissin’ in the USA.”
Lorre said he’s never met “Kimmy Schmidt” creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, but says he’s “flattered. I gotta go watch it. I’m delighted.”
Lorre was in Las Vegas on Monday to be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. “This was very powerful,” he said of the honor. “When they ran the clip of everyone who has been honored in the past, talk about sitting there, feeling completely unworthy!”
Lorre joined an esteemed roster of past honorees including Garry Marshall, Bob Newhart, Milton Berle, and Lucille Ball. Shonda Rhimes was honored last year.