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July 29, 2011

From Doug to Futurama: Meet the voice behind your favorite characters

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About the topic

From Doug to Futurama: Meet the voice behind your favorite characters

Voice actor Billy West hosted a video chat Friday, July 29 at 11 a.m. EST. He talked about his career, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Futurama and more.
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About the hosts

About the host

Host: Billy West

Billy West

Billy West’s stint on the Stern show, from 1989 through 1995, served as a springboard that launched the very animated West into cartoon superstardom. West has voiced such luminaries as Popeye; Nickelodeon’s Doug; Futurama’s Fry, Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan and Dr. Zoidberg; Ren and Stimpy; and the new Woody Woodpecker. In short, he’s taken the place of the governor of voice-over specialists — the late Mel Blanc. N

About the topic

Voice actor Billy West hosted a video chat Friday, July 29 at 11 a.m. EST. He talked about his career, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Futurama and more.
Q.

Haley Crum :

I am Billy West. 

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Q.

Different voice types

Hi Billy, I've heard so many different voices of yours on various shows -- Looney Tunes, Futurama, etc. --  how many can you do in total? Hope to hear plenty more of your awesome voice acting!

Q.

Acting?

Hey Billy! I met you in Chicago a few years ago, but I've been a major fan for quite a long time. While I respect and admire your voice work and singing, I was wondering if you would consider doing any live action acting?

Q.

STIMPY FOR THE WIN!

Tell me what it was like to voice Ren and Stimpy and how it changed (if at all) as the seasons progressed -- but most of all, do your Stimpy voice for me. I will cry happy tears.

Q.

Character voices

How do you learn to create character voices? I can use a funny voice to say a word or phrase, but have never tried to make it a full character with a consistent style.

Q.

Getting your start

How did you get your start in voice acting?

Q.

The guitars!

Some nice guitars there buddy, do you play in any bands?
Q.

Zapp Brannigan

When you were selected to do Zapp Brannigan's voice, were you intimidated knowing you had to fill Phill Hartman's shoes, per se? (I read the character was supposed to go to Hartman before his death.)

Q.

Ren and Stimpy

How was it working for John K?
Q.

Bring back Doug

Is there any way we can get Doug back on the air -- not reruns, but new episodes like you did for Futurama?

Q.

Talking to yourself

I know, I'm weird, but: Do you ever talk to yourself in character? Do you ever do it on purpose, and then watch people looking around trying to figure out where the voices are coming from?

Q.

Doug's update

When Disney got a hold of Doug, it was definitely not the Doug I grew up with. What were your feelings toward their revamp?

Q.

Favorite?

Which character, out of all the characters you've voiced, has been your favorite to voice and why?
Q.

Growing Up

What cartoon did you love watching when you were growing up? Can you do any of the voices?
Q.

Zoidberg

Can you please introduce us to Zoidberg? By the way, I am a huge fan of your work!

Q.

Zoidberg's robot

Whose idea was it for Dr. Zoidberg to pronouce the word "robot" as "robut"? Comes off hilarious.

Q.

Stern Show

Would you ever appear again on the Stern Show?
Q.

Favorite Line

What was your favorite line ever from Doug and why?

Q.

Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

Do Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth please -- it is great!

Q.

Futurama dialogue

A lot of the dialogue in Futurama is very witty and fast paced. Do you ever have trouble delivering your lines without laughing, especially considering you voice most of the show's funniest characters?
Q.

Inspiration

When do you know you're onto a really good voice/character?
Q.

Arguments

I have always wondered what it's like basically arguing with yourself, such as in scenes of Doug and Roger, Ren and Stimpy (when you did both), and the various opportunities with Futurama. And thank you for being a major part of my childhood and adulthood!

Q.

Please

Could you perform a Dylan song as Zoidberg?
Q.

Toonsylvania characters

Which Toonsylvania characters did you voice?
Q.

Getting a voice down pat

When asked to do a voice of a cartoon character that's iconic, like Popeye or Woody Woodpecker, how long does it take you to get it down pat? Is it the same for doing celebrity impersonations?

Q.

All characters

Which character that you voice most resembles yourself?

Q.

Haley Crum :

That's all, folks

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