The Bit Goes on for Like 6 Minutes

Much like the first installment, I expect Hellboy 2 to be fun, but not great (or even great fun). It will be visually pleasing and keep me pretty entertained for 2 hours. I’m not really asking for anything more. I just don’t anticipate LOVING it.

That could change with the addition of Seth MacFarlane to the cast, as Johann Kraus, a disembodied psychic entity who lives in a containment suit.

His voice is like baritone molasses. I would pay him to read stories to me at night. If you haven’t seen him speak in person or on video, his real voice is basically that of Brian the Griffin’s dog. Almost exactly. I would murder people for a voice like that. Much like Maurice LaMarche, I have a voice-crush on Seth MacFarlane.

I’ve always had a weird thing about voices in general. I pay very close attention to a person’s vocal cadence, use of words, speech patterns, etc when they talk. Sometime to the point that I don’t hear what they are saying.

Typically this allows me to impersonate people (usually real people, rather than famous people) with relative ease. If I can’t SOUND like them, I can usually TALK like them. It’s a blessing and a curse. I was watching a rerun of Deep Space 9 late at night. It was a final season episode with Ezri Dax. I hadn’t seen any of these in at least 4 or 5 years, but I immediately noticed that the actress, Nicle DeBoer, had a speech impediment. It was slight. She can’t say an “S” without mashing her tongue against her teeth. Once I noticed it, the episode was shot from there. It didn’t offend me, but I couldn’t help but notice it EVERY time she spoke.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m grateful for this…talent(?) because I think it allows me to enjoy a particular actor in a way most people don’t notice.

I think I started doing this as a child when I realized that the same 4 or 5 voice actors were on EVERY cartoon in the 80’s. I didn’t know who they were because there was no internet. Later in life I looked them up and started researching their careers and others.

Other than Maurice, some personal favorites areย  Rob Paulsen, Billy West, David Warner, Kevin Conroy, Phil LaMar, Keith David, Tres MacNeille and Pamela Segall Adlon. You’ll notice at least half of these people ended up on “Futurama”, making the best best voice acted series in the history or time and space.

Any favorite voice actors? Any weird minutia that you pick up on that most people seem to miss?

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. And speaking of Family Guy and voice actors, didn't FG do a bit on the muppets sounding wrong ever since Jim Henson died? Henson was great. Mel Blanc was great. I wish they let their characters go when they did. Wrong-sounding Kermit and Bugs are almost in Jar-Jar territory.

    • I love listening to the classic donald duck shorts, because my grandfather's first cousin was the voice of donald duck from the first "talkie" until the late 70's. His name was Clarence Nash, and he used to come to our family reunions with the donald ventriloquist dummy he used on the old mickey mouse club. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple years before i was born, so I never got to meet him personally. My favorite story about him is that when Walt Disney originally concieved the idea of mickey and donald as buddies, donald was supposed to be cheerful and friendly, and mickey was supposed to be hot headed and a bit of a troublemaker. Clarence was working as a milk delivery man, and entertained his customers with birdsongs and funny voices. Someone suggested that he go try out as a voice actor at the disney studios, and he did. The voice that he showed disney was created as a frustrated goat, but when disney heard it, a bulb lit up in his head and he asked clarence if he could make it sound more like a duck. He made some adjustments, and a-hole donald was born!

  2. Do your homework. Welker is, like, 1/2 of the original Decepticons, among them Soundwave and Megatron. On Futrama, he's Nibbler & his fellow voice actors hail him as a VO GOD.
    All Hail Megatron!

  3. I'm going to have to go with Keith David for voice actors. That man could make a box of cereal engaging. Kevin Conroy is a very close second. I was very excited to hear he is voicing Batman in the Gotham Night DVD. If you can't get Christian Bale he's the best alternative.

    • Give me my late pass for comment, but it has to be said: Kevin Conroy is the best ALTERNATIVE for Christian Bale? Sputter of disbelief. Christian Bale's Batman voice is the worst thing about those movies. Christian Bale's Batman voice was the worst thing about "Batman & Robin," and it wasn't even in it. It beat out "Ice to meet you." Diedrich Bader has a better Batman voice.

  4. I have a talent (if you could call it that) of recognizing voice actors in video games, be it from other games or from other media. In fact I just discovered recently that Katee Sackhoff did voice work in Halo 3.

  5. Unfortunately my high school chemistry teacher had a very distinct cadence and speech pattern. Never have I had a teacher that I listened so closely to, and heard so little. I feel your pain Joel.

  6. I've got to go with Will Lyman, who you'll know as the voice of PBS' Frontline and NOVA shows. He's excellent, and looking at his IMDB page it looks like he has been in some crappy TV movies too. I'd totally vote for Will Lyman for president. Dude knows his public broadcasting shit.

  7. As far as picking up details no one else seems to, I tend to pay closer attention to camera work and photography in movies and tv shows. Camera angles, interesting lighting, that sort of thing. One of the reasons I love Joss Whedon is he pays close attention to those things. For example, the first shots of the inside of the ship in Serenity is mostly don ein one long take. The movie Children of Men, while mediocre at best, had some similarly long takes that just amazed me. Yeah.

  8. Favourite? Chris Sabbat. He's the American voice actor for "Vegeta" in the Dragonball series' and video games. Why? If there's one phase from my childhood that brings me pure joy, it's Vegeta saying, "His power level is over NINE THOUSAND!" I want that sound clip played at my funeral while I'm getting lowered into the ground.

    …Yeah, fuck everyone, I loved me some Dragonball. You know you loved it too.

  9. The other thing I forgot to mention is always noticing when musical equipment or technology is being used incorrectly on TV and movies. THAT KILLS ME!

    The misuse of tech slang is another pet peeve.

  10. I auditioned for it (with Chris Sabat actually). Nice guy. At the time they were auditioning for Majiin Buu and teenage Gohan. Needless to say I didnt get the parts but it was an incredible experience.

  11. My husband and I have an ongoing game where we try to be the first to call out the name of the actor doing the voiceover in a commercial. Some are really tough, like Gary Sinise and, oddly enough, Nathan Fillion. It took me 3 rewinds to figure out it was him when the first Halo 3 commercial started playing.

  12. Chris Sabat has appeared in every single Brothers in Arms game, including Hell's Highway. He plays a British guy in the newest one.

    Joel, you've had more lines than him in every single game. So, enjoy those apples.

  13. He's not a voice actor, but I could listen to David Tennant in his natural accent all day. My family is Scottish and I love to hear it. Craig Ferguson, James McAvoy, the guy who teaches Harry Potter how to play Quidditch, the man in the pub I used to work at, people on BBC Scotland…pretty much anyone with a Scotch burr will entrance me.

    I can't help it. It's a weakness.

  14. that serenity opening shot is actually 2 shots (it cuts during the whip-pan as Mal walks down the stairs)

    and pat K. is probably my only rival for name-that-tune: movie score edition

  15. I love certain voices too. Christopher Walken comes to mind….Also, I hear Micheal Dorn and Patrick Stewart all over the place. I picked out Christian Slater the other day too. Those are all more actor-actors than voice-actors though…

    As for strange little things I notice – fonts. Oh, it's geeky, I know, but since being a newspaper-nerd in high school I can't restrain myself from leaning over and whispering 'I have that font' when I see one I know on commercials, flyers or film credits. Hey, at least it's useful in my line of work!

  16. He's incredibly talented, no doubt, and an excellent film actor as well, but his current work on the Simpsons is VERY stale as is the rest of the show. The Simpsons cast are the highest paid VO's for any cartoon and frankly I think they are just phoning it in. After season 10 its completely dead to me. No reason to hold it against Mr. Shearer, but its hard to separate his work from the terrible writing. Lets remember the good times.

    If you are going down that road, Dan Castalineta(Sp), and Hank Azaria are right up there with the best of the best.

  17. When Steve Whitmire (Whitmore?) took over as Kermit I was really depressed. I didnt want them to kill the character but I wish they'd found someone who could do the voice closer to the original. The problem was the core cast of muppeteers was very small (10 or so) and one of them had to take over for Jim. Steve was the only one with NO major characters. He did Bean Bunny and a few others but everyone else needed to share screen time with Kermit. Honestly, other than Sesame St., the muppets basically died with Jim.

  18. I've been a voice chaser all my life; I remember as far back as my first trip to Disneyland in 76, realizing that not only was that the same voice in both the Haunted Mansion and Adventure Through Inner Space (creating, in my 6-year-old mind, an awesome shared continuity between the two rides), it was the same as half the voices in the Rudolph and Frosty Christmas specials. That voice, of course, was the incomparable Paul Frees.

    And yeah, don't count me among the Family Guy/Seth MacFarlane haters. He looks like such a fratboy, then he'll drop an extended riff on some classic musical.

    Some more voice actors I dig on: Corey Burton (who has become the official soundalike for the late Frees), Chris Latta (Starscream/Cobra Commander), Frank Welker (just about everything, but especially Fred on Scooby Doo) and the great Peter Fernandez, the voice of Speed Racer, as well as half the other characters on that show.

  19. Not really a voice acotr, but the man with the single sexiest voice EVER is Garr from the 2-Sense internet radio show. (it's a perverse visceral sex romp for furries, only replace sex with comedy… sort of) His voice is actually so sexy, that after he sent in a single audio letter to the show, they immediately gave him a segment reading the dictionary. Just reading the fucking dictionary. Yeah. After hearing his voice a straight listener to the show turned gay. No joke. has an audio file at the top of him reading The Raven by Poe. If I was straight I wouldn't be anymore.

  20. I'm glad I'm not the only one who wants Oliver Wood to tell me about Quidditch. Following up with something else Whedon-related, I could listen to Giles/Tony Head for hours. I love the ways he modulates the tones of his voice — beautiful.

  21. I'm fascinated by Craig Charles's Lister accent in Red Dwarf. I've had dream-conversations with Lister, and somehow I can hear his Liverpudlianness pretty clearly in my sleep, even though I can't replicate it (I wonder what this says about my subconscious?)

  22. I have a serious voice crush on Michael Dorn, Mako, and Doug Jones. No joke. Mostly Mako. Also, a small part of me died when I found out that the guy that did the voice for Splinter in the original movie does the voice for Elmo (Kevin Clash). Seriously. I almost cried.

  23. Kevin Clash was a super bad ass LONG before Elmo. He still have my utmost respect. Is it even weirder that the voice of Shredder from the the TMNT cartoon series was the dad from Fresh Prince, James Avery?

  24. Well if you're going down that road, I think Family Guy peaked much quicker than Simpsons did and Shearer's baritone is sexier than McFarlane's. So THERE!

    No really I agree with you 100% about the Simpsons. I pretty much stopped watching it when Futurama started. But Shearer still has a lot of talent to be able to voice all of those characters on a single show and make them distinct enough so that it isn't obvious that it's the same person.

    Family Guy has in common with South Park that it seems like everyone on the show who isn't one of the main characters is MacFarlane (or Parker, respectively) doing the exact same voice. His voices on American Dad weren't very distinct either – they all sound like Seth McFarlane doing a weird German accent or Seth McFarlane doing sort of a 1950's propaganda film voice. He does what he does great, but I just don't think he has as much range as some today's better voice actors (and I would include Shearer in that list).

    Just my two cents.

  25. He does have some good chops to do the variety and all, but it made some kinda weird AU in my head where Splinter and Elmo are hanging out and having tea. And woulda never guessed the Shredder voice!

  26. Peter Cullen, Rob Paulsen, Michael Bell, Townsend Coleman (Michaelangelo was never my favorite turtle, but the Tick ruled, and the fact that he's both is mindblowing) and of course Billy West round out some of my favorites.

    Pat Fraley does a lot of good work too, but he'll always be Krang to me. Kevin Conroy will always be Batman to me, which makes me doubly sad that Wheaton will be in a Batman show with Diedrich Bader as the Dark Guy Who Would Totally Hook That Up If He Had a Million Dollars.

  27. You beat me to this exact reply. Every time I tell someone of the right age range that, it's like I've told them the Easter Bunny raped Santa Claus out of existence.

  28. I'm gonna play the female side of it, since no one's really brought any to the table. I really liked Tress MacNielle, she's pretty much EVERYWHERE. Very distinct, too.

  29. I'm going to put up Jim Cummings, one of the most-worked VAs out there. Granted, most of his roles are Disney-related, but that doesn't lessen his talent. Just look at his filmography and you're guaranteed to find something you know.

  30. I went to NY Comic Con this weekend. The Venture Bros. panel has some good stuff, but I wouldn't call them super ranged. They are good at what they do.

    I also got to go to a VA panel, and they had Dean Venture, original Misty/Jessie and original Ash from Pokemon. I know you're too old to care about that sort of thing, but you are a VA guy sometimes, right? It's something I've always wanted to get into, but I don't really have range. I can't do funny voices, and I'm no Dave Coulier. I'd be more on the Katey Sagal level, if I wasn't already famous for another show.

    I am training at my school radio station, and we have to read PSAs. I think this would help me in the long run, as we have to be clear and concise, and learn to enunciate.

  31. As David Tennant puts on a fake English accent, Tony Head uses a different English accent instead of his real one. God, I wish I had an accent.

    David Tennant's real accent is decidedly Scottish. I saw a Red Nose Day special with him playing a teacher.

  32. I've always thought Kevin Murphy (Servo on MST3k) had a great voice.

    Also, I think one of the reasons I like the Hunt for Red October movie so much is that it has both James Earl Jones and Sean Connery.

  33. I've got a talent for picking out voice actors in anime…90% of a time when I say, "Hey, that character is voiced by the same VA as this other character!", even if they sound totally different, I'm right. And then of course I get weird visions of Light Yagami (Deathnote) chillin' with Nightcrawler (X-Men: Evolution)…

  34. I just had one occur to me. The lady who played Lisa Hayes in Robotech (and whoever else she voiced in the Masters and Invid (Marlene?) portions) is the Maryland Lottery "Lady Luck" mascot.

  35. I just had one occur to me. The lady who played Lisa Hayes in Robotech (and whoever else she voiced in the Masters and Invid (Marlene?) portions) is the Maryland Lottery "Lady Luck" mascot.

  36. My favorite part of that commentary included Joss's joking explanation that he was high when he thought up Firefly… That and Nathan Fillion pointing out every scene that he rips his pants in.
    Firefly is the show that made me pay attention to filming style and lighting, and demand more from the shows I watch. A mixed blessing, on one hand I raised my standards, on the other most shows on TV are crap…
    Oh, and I did like Ron Glass doing the voice-over when Firefly was still on TV.

  37. Josh only knows this because he saw it in the theater 6 months early at the browncoat prescreenings before the film was properly color corrected (and with the score from Signs!) and it was a lot more visible then. The commentary only confirmed it ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. 64 Comments and no love for Chris Latta? I am shocked, Fancy Bastards! He was the fantastically shrill voice of Cobra Commander and Starscream — and also Mr. Burns for three early Simpsons episodes.

    Speaking of shrill, no old Doctor Who episode involving Daleks is complete without Roy Skelton (though Nick Briggs has done a pretty good job on the new ones).

  39. The guy that does Dean gets around. Lots of cartoons, but mostly using the same voice. I've done several auditions that never panned out and voice acted in 3 video games (as the same character). I get most of my VA energy out on the Podcast.

  40. Yeah, I tend to notice actor-actors more than voice-actors, but at the same time there are a few that I know almost immediately because they have such unique voices. Patrick Stewart is one of those, although honestly he has done a lot of voice over work. I'm sometimes amazed at how often I hear him doing a voice over for something, very often the opening narration to a movie or video game. Another actor with a very unique voice that I can usually spot right away is Alan Rickman, although he doesn't do nearly as much work as Patrick Stewart, and tends mostly to be one of the main characters (though usually not THE main character) in movies.

  41. Guitar is the number 1 faked Hollywood instrument (next to piano) where the actors dont even try. I love watching a dude with his while left hand wrapped around the next like he's holding a baseball bat and just strumming away as you hear a high octave solo.

    On the opposite end, I like it when they take the time to teach the actor how to play the song and they play it correctly. Whedon always did this.

  42. Peter Cullen was my first crush. Then came Keith David. I had no idea what either looked like till Keith David was in Pitch Black and I thought to look them both up on the internet. Their voices have made me want to do very naughty things since childhood.

  43. Agreed. Seth McFarlane does do the "basic white guy" voice way too much. But Trey Parker is the worst. He has ONE voice and he uses it for EVERYONE. He doesnt even attempt to sound like the person he is supposed to be imitating. As a voice over enthusiast it just seems lazy. The show is still funny (which is crazy considering its been almost 13 years) but the voice acting is beyond repair.

  44. Yeah, that blew me away when I saw him on Graham Norton. I also hadn't known that his real name is McDonald; there was already a David McDonald in the union, so he took his stage name from Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys.

  45. I remember a Frosted Flakes commercial from the 80s with her; I didn't recognize her voice at first, until the strident way she said, "and I'm going to go right on eating them." Unfortunately, the premise of the commercial was adults admitting their love of Frosted Flakes with their faces obscured, so I never got to see what she looked like.

  46. Hey, I gave Chris Latta his props in my comment above, along with Paul Frees, Corey Burton, Frank Welker and Peter Fernandez!

    I gotta say, Tom Kenny does a FANTASTIC soundalike as Starscream in the new Transformers series. He's also best known as Spngebob, and was on Mr. Show.

  47. Shit yes! I remember that commercial, and you're totally right. She's blonde and haggard-looking. You could probably Google or YouTube "Maryland Lotto Lady Luck" and find something.

  48. Did you ever hear Kevin Clash on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me from NPR? It was freaking amazing how fast he could come in and out of the Elmo character. I swear one time it sounded like they overlapped. It's podcastable if you feel like looking it up.

  49. I hate Chris Latta's voice. I know, this is like heresy, but it's so unpleasant. I am so glad he didn't end up as Burns (or Moe, as he was slated to be.)

    Still, cocaine-induced cardiac episode is a bad way to go.

  50. Watching too much "Top Gear" from BBC led me to add Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond to keep my Lister and Badger-esque cockney accent company. I'm told that as I speak I actually drift in and out of different accents…. which is fun since I'm actually from/live in Canada.

  51. I was told I spoke French with a Northern English accent, which is odd, since I grew up in Tennessee and have a decided southern twang.

    But then again, the famous Scarlett O'Hara was played by Brit actress Vivian Leigh. Maybe it's not such a stretch.

  52. For me, the greatest voice actor of all time is Jason Marsden. I love Keith David and Phil LaMarr and Kath Soucie, but I have an unholy obsession with Jason Marsden.

  53. Ok, I'm blowing the dust off of this one to say that, the way that Sarah Michelle Gellar says "okay", makes me NUTS! That is all.

  54. Wow, really? No David Hayter? Solid Snake? No?

    As punishment: Christina Ricci in Speed Racer, when she says "cool beans."


  55. Having worked for a few years as a dealer in a casino, I'm constantly calling bullshit on gambling scenes. Oceans Eleven got it right, but for something like when the Friends went to Vegas, I was all "quit letting him touch the cards! Why aren't you clearing your hands? Where's the fucking pit boss?"

    Still, it's not as bad as when I worked for a picture frame warehouse, and every piece of framed artwork I saw, I was like "ah, the Larson-Juhl Terrazzo L-347."

  56. Tress MacNeille is one of my favorites. She did Dot on Animaniacs and most of the female voices on Futurama (nothing better than Mom talking about a pressed ham).

    And Frank Welker is a freaking genius. And Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker, respectively.

  57. I think my most obvious voice crush is David Hayter, every time I hear him voicing Solid Snake I totally feel like his voice is taking my clothes off… it’s weird.

  58. Late to the party here, but…
    First a little love for two ladies:
    Tara Strong has to be mentioned. If you've seen a cartoon made in the last decade or two you've seen something she's done: Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Raven (Teen Titans), Timmy Turner, Ember (Danny Phantom), Princess Clara (Drawn Together), Ben Tennyson, and a score of others, not to mention VGs ("I'm Rikku, pleased to meet ya!"

    Cree Summers is right up there with Tara Strong, and usually right beside as well, Max, the girl friend from Batman Beyond, Foxxy Love (Drawn Together), Vexus (Teenage Robot), Elmira Duff (Tiny Toon Adventures), and various other TV, movie and VGs.

    Matt McKenzie has an amazing voice that I could listen to all evening. He was the second in command of the army in the FF:Sprits Within, he was in Vampire Hunter:D, he's Sir Auron (FFX) for goodness sakes.

    And, if it's Batman and Joker, it has to be Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.

  59. I am STUPIDLY late to this party, as I found this comic today and am archive trawling, but I digress…

    How, how, HOW is it that no one has given any love to the late great Tony Jay?? Mother-fucking MEGABYTE, people! The classiest bastard on the planet!

  60. I can't watch House without noticing that Hugh Laurie has a bit of a lisp at times. The weird thing is, I never hear it when he speaks with his natural accent. Apparently pretending to be American makes him slur.

    Am I the only one who's noticed this? (my husband can't hear it, but he's generally oblivious…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leave a Reply