Rick and Morty at Comic Con: Adult Swim cult favorite is back and in-joking

Sam Thielman in San Diego

Animator Justin Roiland tests his JFK impression while he and showrunner Dan Harmon try hard to reveal something juicy that is not a joke

“Wubba lubba dub dub!” said Brian Q Quinn, the moderator of a Rick and Morty Comic Con panel on Friday. According to the offbeat Adult Swim sci-fi cartoon, he meant: “I am in great pain, please help me.”

The panel on the in-joke-filled sitcom, the brainchild of Community creator and showrunner Dan Harmon and animator Justin Roiland, packed a nearly 5,000-seat ballroom to capacity, rivaling the attendance for events on multimillion-dollar films and big-budget fantasy shows.

The creators showed off a brief clip from the long-awaited second season (Rick and Morty’s first run ended in early 2014). It featured – and then featured the end of – a new character, Uncle Steve, and banter between Rick (Roiland) and his detested son-in-law Jerry (Chris Parnell).

“[Voice actor] Ryan [Ridley] is the only one not halfway drunk or drinking alcohol currently, so let’s give him a give big round of applause for that,” said Quinn.

“You should be high on pop culture, though,” advised Harmon. “Get high on capitalism. Go buy things.”

What, asked Quinn, could devout nerds use against their friends and loved ones when they got home? “What do you have people can use to really lord it over each other?” he said.

“Rick is gay,” said Ridley.

“Rick is pansexual,” elaborated Roiland.

“Rick is anti-vaccination, big time,” said Harmon.

Roiland continued: “There’s a whole episode about it and there’s science to back it up.”

“That’s right,” Harmon said. “It seems like a waste of time, but there’s a crawl of all the statistics for 15 minutes, in the hopes of a world filled with smallpox.”

Roiland, casting around for something juicy that was not a joke, said: “Uh, there’s a character called Stealy, who steals your stuff.”

“That’s not a joke,” Ridley said. “You won’t believe how we came up with the name.”

Audience questions ran the gamut from inquiries into whether hero/villain Aberdolf Lincler would return, to why guys named Glenn seemed to fare so badly on the show. The latter was asked by a guy named Glenn.

“Your television is not talking to you,” Harmon explained after taking time to make fun of a middle-aged man in a hat – the first of many victims.

“Look at him. He’s miserable, he hates us, and he hates this show,” Harmon said of the guy, who laughed and pulled his hat down over his face.

“Don’t project, Dan,” Roiland scolded.

“I’m just kidding,” Harmon said. “That’s my dad. He had me when he was eight.”

“Will Evil Morty come back?” asked an audience member, to cheers.

“Boy,” said Harmon, “that reaction to a question lets us know that the answer is wrong.”

Roiland spent quite a bit of the panel trying out his JFK impression, with Harmon ad-libbing as an aide trying to make sense of it.

“I do declare that I like buttholes, and we will go to the moon,” said Roiland as JFK.

“Wait,” said Harmon. “Go back.”