Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) talks with Wired.com’s GeekDad about his role as Pat the Hammer, Mr. Lopart and Sneeze the Shop Vac on Disney Channel’s “Handy Manny,” voicing Rabbit for the new Winnie the Pooh movie, playing in rock bands, doing stand-up, being a geek, collecting comics, and performing as Joey Ramone for a Ramones tribute concert.
Tom also mentions that he and his songwriting partner (not mentioned by name) “do some songs for Handy Manny once in a while,” when they are allowed to, “which is very nice of them,” Tom adds.
Here’s an excerpt with Tom’s response to the question, “How does recording a known character compare to an all-new one with an all-new voice?”
I suppose it depends on the actor’s aptitude. I know some guys who are great at what’s called voice matching – they do a dead-on Pooh or a dead-on Tigger and they’re often the guy who ends up inheriting the voice when the original guy passes on to the big animated show in the sky. That was never my forte – although there are some voices I do. For some of the old Hanna-Barbera characters; I’m the voice match for Boo-Boo from ‘Yogi and Boo-Boo’ and Top Cat – and Elroy Jetson, I’m the voice for him. But I don’t consider that to be what I’m good at. If I have a skill it’s that I can look at a description or a picture of a character and process what I think the creator is hearing in his head. Often times talking to the creator is helpful. Rick Gitelson knew exactly what he wanted, as did Steven Hillenburg with SpongeBob. ‘Handy Manny’ is quite a character driven show, and it’s just about becoming the character and deciding what voice fits this picture, and how do you get the personality that’s described in the paragraph on the page for you across aurally. I like that part of the job, the kind of Rubik’s Cube, crossword puzzle of how to be the person that when they listen to you they go “yeah, that guy”, because obviously there are a lot of talented voice actors out there, and they’re all auditioning in the same way that you are. It’s fun, and a lot of it is challenging that personality.
Related post: 1.03.2010 — SpongeBob Voice Cast Featured in Magazine