Voice Cast Cavalcade: The Cleveland Show


Next in my series of “Voice Cast Cavalcade” features…

I’ve noticed that I’m getting search hits almost daily from fans looking for “cleveland voice actor” or similar search terms.

I’m always willing to oblige my readers by providing more info on popular blog searches, but I’ve previously profiled Mike Henry, voice of Cleveland Brown and co-creator of The Cleveland Show. And I mentioned some of the celebrity guest voices in my February coverage.

Without getting into the debate over the show being “too derivative” of Family Guy (a common criticism which is also said of American Dad), as an animation fan (and critic) I have to say I am enjoying it much more than I ever did Family Guy. I didn’t think Cleveland was a strong enough character to carry the series as the lead, and wow was I proven wrong.

I feel The Cleveland Show also is better written and has stronger characterizations than Family Guy, mainly because Peter Griffin is the most inconsistent character in animated history (and one of the most obnoxious as well). Cleveland’s like the polar opposite of Peter, and he’s actually likable.

And supporting the solid writing are entertaining performances by the voice cast. But since I’ve mentioned the cast here previously, I thought I’d bypass the commentary and offer you the chance to see the cast in action.

So, following a little news on upcoming episodes of the show, you’ll find a series of behind-the-scenes videos and interviews I’ve been collecting in my backlogged bookmarks.

That said, TheFutonCritic.com has details (via FOX press release) on the guest voices for new episodes of The Cleveland Show airing May 2nd and 9th:

+ “Brotherly Love”, airing 5.02 at 8:30 PM (EST) on FOX:

Voice Cast:
– Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown and Rallo Tubbs
– Sanaa Lathan as Donna Tubbs
– Kevin Michael Richardson as Cleveland Jr., Lester, Julius and Bea Arthur
– Reagan Gomez as Roberta Tubbs
– Seth MacFarlane as Tim

Guest Voice Cast:
– Jason Sudeikis as Holt and Terry
– Jamie Kennedy as Federline
– Kanye West as Kenny West
– Taraji P. Henson as Chanel
– Jason Alexander as Saul Friedman
– Bebe Neuwirth as Sarah Friedman
– Al Thompson as Walt

+ “Brown History Month”, airing 5.09 at 8:30 PM (EST) on FOX:

Voice Cast:
– Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown and Rallo Tubbs
– Sanaa Lathan as Donna Tubbs
– Kevin Michael Richardson as Cleveland Jr., Lester, Uncle Thomas the Tank Engine and Flavor Flav
– Reagan Gomez as Roberta Tubbs
– Seth MacFarlane as Tim

Guest Voice Cast:
– Jason Sudeikis as Holt
– Jamie Kennedy as Federline
– Connor Rayburn as Dylan
– Aseem Batra as Kendra
– Glenn Howerton as Ernie
– Alec Sulkin as Angus
– Alex Borstein as Mrs. Lowenstein
– John Viener as Gordy

Additionally, FreakinSweetNews.com reports that the May 23rd episode will feature “a special musical number by Earth, Wind & Fire.”

Now, onto the videos…

In April 2010, Mike Henry was interviewed by BackStage Casting:

And these are all from the official FOX Broadcasting YouTube Channel and most of them from 2009:

And finally, from The Hollywood Reporter:

I’ll continue to update this page over time to add photos, videos and related interviews. And I’m still trying to find photos/videos from The Cleveland Show panel featuring cast members Mike Henry and Kevin Michael Richardson at the 2010 Chicago Entertainment and Comic Expo.


VAs Guests at Chicago Convention


Appearing at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo April 16-18, 2010:

Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League)

Max Brooks (Batman Beyond, Justice League)

The Cleveland Show cast members Mike Henry and Kevin Michael Richardson, along with show co-creator and producer Rich Appel.

If anyone reading this is planning to attend this convention, please send feedback. I’d love to share photos and con reports here on the blog.

Source: MediumAtLarge.net

Saturday Morning Cartoon: The Beginning


As I mentioned in December 2009, I’m introducing a regular feature for the blog called “Saturday Morning Cartoon.”

Pardon me whilst I wax nostalgic to set this up…

I don’t doubt that most reading this have pleasant childhood memories watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV. Even though Saturdays were a “day off” from school, we’d still get up early to sit in front of the TV in our PJs enjoying a bowl of our favorite cereal (at that time filled with less vitamin-enriched sugary goodness).

We laughed at Looney Tunes, Laff-A-Lympics and lots of other comedic characters. We got spooked by cartoon phantoms and costumed villains thwarted by “meddling kids” and their “stupid dog.” We were thrilled by toy-selling animated adventures of robot fights, space flights, rainbow brites, fairy sprites, Bat-Mites and men in tights, but mostly cartoon kids who did the sort of exciting and dangerous stuff that in real life would get us killed, incarcerated or taken away from our parents and sent to foster homes.

And for those of us born before the 90’s, it’s hard to imagine that the major TV networks would ever have shortage of cartoons to watch on Saturday mornings, and yet that’s precisely what has happened. Outside of niche cable programming like Boomerang, Nicktoons, Cartoon Network and Disney XD, it’s slim pickings on the major networks as far as Saturday morning cartoons go. And who’d have ever thought that there would be a time when Looney Tunes weren’t on TV at all, except through a paid cable subscriber service?

But the digital era combined with government-mandated educational programming has brought about an end to broadcast kids TV. Kids mostly don’t want to watch the E/I-rated shows — they get enough educational stuff at school without it being forced on them through what they watch for fun. And with things like videogame consoles and handheld gaming systems, along with the era of streaming videos and content-on-demand, kids no longer have to wait until weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings for their entertainment of choice. And the networks hate it. The advertisers hate it. But it’s the reality we live in.

For animation fans, other than the aforementioned cable channels, our only option for watching cartoons is via DVD, reruns on-demand, the web and digital downloads for portable media devices. And for the duration of this blog (and as regularly as I’m able to do so) I will feature a cartoon here for your viewing pleasure on Saturday mornings, along with behind-the-scenes trivia and details on the voice cast.

So go put on your footie pajamas, pour a yourself a bowl of your favorite cereal, and enjoy.

First up (not counting the cartoons I featured here during the holidays), is Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, which I was excited to discover in December 2009 that the complete series (all 26 episodes) is being offered on Hulu.com (in partnership with Crackle.com).

Based on the Dark Horse Comics mini-series by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow, Big Guy and Rusty aired from 1999-2001 on Fox Kids. It felt more grown-up and “mature” than most animated fare on Fox Kids, and developed a fair following from adult animation fans as a result. I consider it to be an underrated and largely undiscovered gem of a cartoon show that needs more exposure.

The episode I’m featuring here is “The Inside Scoop” which originally aired October 2nd, 1999. (Sorry, I’m unable to embed videos from Hulu via WordPress.)

Voice cast for this episode:

Pamela Adlon as Rusty, Jo
Jonathan Cook as The Big Guy
Gabrielle Carteris as Dr. Erika Slate
Jim Hanks as Dwayne Hunter
Stephen Root as Dr. Axel Donovan
Kathy Kinney as Jenny the Monkey
Kevin Michael Richardson as Garth
M. Emmett Walsh as Mack
Maurice LaMarche as Dr. Ellerby, Medical doctor, Security officer
– and Tim Curry as the voice of Dr. Neugog

Trivia and notes:

– Brain gags galore in this episode.
– This episode reveals full details on the subplot that Big Guy is actually piloted by Hunter, a secret that Hunter and the team manage to keep from Rusty for the rest of the series.
– This episode features Dr. Neugog’s second (and unfortunately last) appearance in the series.
R. Lee Ermey voiced General Thorton in this series, although the character doesn’t appear in this episode.
– Big Guy’s voice, Jonathan Cook, will likely sound familiar — not so much from his other animation and video game work, but more from the huge volume of TV promo announcing he does for CBS, Bravo, NBC, FX and others.
– The sibilant slurp-like sound Dr. Neugog makes at one point closely resembles the same eerie sound Anthony Hopkins made as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.

And by the way, if the same ad plays for you that ran during my viewing — that’s Roger Rose (voice actor in The Tick, Grim & Evil, The Super Hero Squad Show and many other cartoons) appearing in the Ad Council spot cautioning against reckless driving.

Greg Weisman Talks ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’ Cast


Greg Weisman, who has served as producer, writer, story editor, voice actor, and voice director for a number of animated series, talks with Toon Zone’s Marvel Animation Age about his work on The Spectacular Spider-Man, and had this to say about working with the voice cast:

[When] we started working on the show, we didn’t have a voice cast yet, so once the voice actors come in and they start to breathe life into these characters, that influences you. This great cast did a magnificent job at handling everything we threw at them, but once you get to know those voices, it becomes easier to write towards their strengths and do fun stuff with them. Jonah’s obsession with wasting time was something that sort of tossed into the pilot, and that became sort of a trope for him, because when Daran [Norris] did the character and he’d put these ridiculous deadlines on things. On the humor side, that’s where a lot of discoveries got made. [From] a character standpoint, a lot of that is by virtue that the voice cast is doing such a great job.

MAA/TZN: I know a lot of times I hear that someone will come in and read for a part, and that will really change or sharpen or define the character for the writers. You just mentioned something like that for J. Jonah Jameson, did that happen with anybody else on the show?

WEISMAN: Yeah, I think almost every character taught us those lessons, like what Crispin Freeman did with Electro, and with Flash Thompson. Certainly Josh LeBar did amazing stuff with Flash that really encouraged us, especially in season 2, to give more depth to his character. We think that Grey DeLisle is hilarious as Sally, the girl that everybody loves to hate on our show, but we think she’s really funny, so we gave her some more attention. Even Kevin Michael Richardson as Principal Davis. Principal Davis has, I don’t know, 8 lines total in season 1? But in season 2, he’s got a couple of great little ad libs there that we kept in because they were just both funny, but they also really helped define Davis as an individual and not just as a functionary character.

Continue reading: Marvel Animation Age and Toon Zone Interview Greg Weisman on ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’ [Toon Zone]

Previous ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’ news: 3.20.2009 — Josh Keaton is Spider-Man

FOX Announces ‘The Cleveland Show’ Cast


Excerpt from the FOX press release:

THE CLEVELAND SHOW is a new animated series that follows everyone’s favorite soft-spoken neighbor CLEVELAND BROWN (Mike Henry) to his hometown in Virginia, as he settles down with his high school sweetheart, DONNA (Sanaa Lathan); her unruly kids; and his own 14-year-old son, Cleveland Jr. (Kevin Michael Richardson). Once in Virginia, Cleveland has a few surprises in store for him, including ROBERTA (Reagan Gomez-Preston), a rebellious new stepdaughter; RALLO (Mike Henry), a 5-year-old stepson who loves the ladies; and a collection of neighbors that includes a loudmouth redneck, LESTER (Kevin Michael Richardson); a hipster wanna-be, HOLT (guest voice Jason Sudeikis); and a pious pair of talking bears, TIM (Seth MacFarlane) and his wife ARIANNA (guest voice Arianna Huffington).

Rapper Kanye West is providing a guest voice for the series as “Kenny West — an all-around cool kid and the archenemy of Cleveland Jr., and the two will engage in a ‘rap battle’ for the affection of high school hottie Chanel,” performed by guest voice Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle and Flow).

Seth MacFarlane, Rich Appel and Mike Henry are executive producers and co-creators of the series.

Source: The Futon Critic

Comicon.com Interviews Jeff Bennett


Comicon.com has interviewed voice actor Jeff Bennett on his role as the voice of The Joker and The Red Hood on Cartoon Network’s The Brave and The Bold. Bennett discusses the previous takes on performing Joker (by Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Heath Ledger), the history of the character, and why his performance ended up sounding like Christopher Walken.

Here’s an excerpt:

If you make [Joker] too over the top and maniacal all the time, it just gets boring. I liked finding that kind of withheld madness and seeing it play across the mic. It’s a challenge for me to keep it contained and then let it pop out every once in a while.”

“You can’t do the Joker without being a little crazy. I love what Anthony Hopkins did in Hannibal Lector because it was so contained, yet you knew he could rip your head off if he got a hold of you. I wanted to give this guy that flavor, but keep him ‘old New York sophisticated.’ There are different ways to interpret the Joker. If you had twenty different guys doing the voice, you’d have twenty different styles and all of them would be right. It’s fun to go too far and be pulled back and it’s fun to keep it subtle and have them say we need a little bit more.

I did a different take that was a little more Christopher Walken-ish that came out vocally, because I like doing that particular voice. People might take that as a little too comical as opposed to being like a comic book character. It was kind of fun. My Joker has a little of the Christopher Walken in him as well.

Click here to read the complete interview.

Source: ToonZone.net