Born in Pennsylvania in 1956 Meyer grew up in Arizona, the eldest child of eight in a Roman Catholic family of mostly German people descent. Meyer has made frequent jokes about his somewhat unhappy childhood, stating in an audio commentary that one of the frequent arguments in his household was "which family member ruined a holiday". He attended Doolen Junior High and Catalina High School in Tucson, Az. An excellent student, Meyer later went on to Harvard University, where he served as president of the Harvard Lampoon, a comedy magazine at Harvard University. Meyer graduated from Harvard in 1978 with a degree in biochemistry. After college, Meyer became a writer for Late Night with David Letterman, Not Necessarily The News, The New Show, and Saturday Night Live. In 1987, Meyer founded the legendary humor zine Army Man, which attained a cult following. One of its readers was Sam Simon, who was a producer on a new animated sitcom called The Simpsons. In 1989 Simon asked Meyer to join the writing staff, and he has remained there intermittently ever since. In 2005 he wrote for the TBS special Earth To America. He was one of the writers for The Simpsons Movie.
- Raised Roman Catholic, but later became an atheist.
- Is a fan of the Grateful Dead.
- Was the editor of "The Harvard Lampoon Book of College Life" (Doubleday & Co., Inc. 1978).
- His hobbies include gambling and collecting space travel-related memorabilia
- Once won a little over 2,000 dollars on Jeopardy!
- A strict vegetarian, as well as a practitioner of yoga.
- Has a daughter with author Maria Semple named Poppy Valentina after Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.
- According to David X. Cohen, Meyer once attempted to live on a "flavorless mush," believing it to be a moral victory if he succeeded. However, he did not last long in his attempt.
- Has a cameo in the 2004 film I ♥ Huckabees. He appears near the end as the annoyed tuxedoed man in an elevator with Jude Law and Jason Schwartzman.
- In 2005, a newly discovered species of frog from Sri Lanka was named Philautus Poppiae after Meyer's daughter, Poppy, for his and his girlfriend's dedication to the Global Amphibian Assessment.
- Wrote a full length screenplay for David Letterman, which was never produced after Letterman's talk show really took off. It is considered a masterpiece by those who have seen it, and a copy remains in The Simpsons re-write room that the show's writers occasionally consult when they are in need of a joke.
- Wrote an unproduced episode of The Simpsons which, although deemed hilarious, went unproduced as it would have led to serious legal ramifications and personally offended several staff/cast members.
- Meyer can be seen in the audience of season 3 Mr. Show episode 310, "It's A No Brainer." He is visible in the first few minutes of the show as the long-haired, bespectacled man sitting behind the "protestors".
- Episode – "The Crepes of Wrath" (with Sam Simon, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti)
- Episode – "Bart vs. Thanksgiving"
- Episode – "Blood Feud"
- Episode – "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"
- Episode – "Treehouse of Horror II" (contributor)
- Episode – "Separate Vocations"
- Episode – "Homer the Heretic"
- Episode – "Bart's Inner Child"
- Episode – "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" (with Tom Martin, Brian Scully, and Mike Scully)
- Episode – "Brother's Little Helper"
- Episode – "Behind the Laughter" (with Tim Long, Mike Scully, and Matt Selman)
- Episode – "The Parent Rap" (with Mike Scully)
Cameos in the show
- "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" - Is the writer who speaks up and is fired.
- "Realty Bites" - Seen standing in line at the Springfield Unemployment Office
- "Jazzy and the Pussycats" - Walks by Bart on the street