Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Tom Kenny of course!
Tom Kenny is a prolific voice actor who you may recognize from shows and movies such as Adventure Time, Ultimate Spider-Man and The Mr.Show. But his most recognizable role would have to be the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants.
I recently got to talk to Mr. Kenny and promotion for his new show Talking Tom and Friends, which is based on the Talking Tom app. We talk about the new show, his work of the past and what’s coming up in the future.
Preston: What can you tell us about Talking Tom and Friends?
Tom: The show is based on the popular phone game and basically what the show does is take Talking Tom and his friends from their reality and adds a few new friends. One of whom is a dog named Hank (Mr.Kenny begins to talk as Hank), a sort of happy go lucky, smart by accident dog . And they live in a garage where they work on their apps and they have a YouTubish channel where they do their broadcasting. It’s a lot of fun. Great cast. Great people. Great looking characters. And since I do have kids, I was well aware of the Talking Tom phone app.
Preston: What do you think draws people into the Talking Tom app?
Tom: You know it’s so simple. I think simplicity is key. You don’t need to explain it. I mean the Talking Tom app. the character designs are very cool. You talk into, it talks back to you. It’s simple you know. It’s not anymore complicated than it needs to be.
Preston: Do you find it difficult being a voice for a character who is voiced by millions of users?
Tom: (laughs) Wow that is weird, being the voice of a character that has millions of different voices. Every house hold that uses that App, right, Talking Tom has a different voice. Luckily, Hank is a new character. So we are establishing Hank. Tom and Ben, they’re doing the heavy lifting.
Preston: Are you optimistic about the show?
Tom: Only an optimist would wear this jacket. (Referring to his pink dinner suit jacket.) I am insanely optimistic. Being optimistic has never let me down.
Preston: Really? That’s good to hear. Any advice for the people at home?
Tom: If you just go “everythings go to be o.k.” it’s all going to be all right. Life is life and we freak out about stuff. But I have had over half a century of everything working out o.k. eventually. Everyone’s life has rapids. But then you get to the smooth waters ahead.
Preston: Your optimism sounds a lot like SpongeBob’s.
Tom: Well I do tend to play characters that are really, really, really nice or really, really good or super evil. There is no in-between. It’s either SpongeBob or Doctor Octopus. It’s either Hank or the Ice King from Adventure Time. I guess I’m bi-polar. (laughs)
Preston: Are you a dog person or a cat?
Tom: Believe it or not, although I voice a dog on Talking Tom, I am a cat person. I never owned a dog my whole life. I was a paper boy so I have an innate fear of dogs. Every paper boy is afraid of dogs. So dogs freak me out. Cats. You can leave a bowl of food on the floor, change the liter box and your good for the day. That’s not my approach to parenting by the way. For cats it works it pretty good.
Preston: Who plays who in Talking Tom and Friends?
Tom: James Adomian, who plays Ben, I know from the stand-up world. He’s an old time stand-up from San Francisco. Maria Bramford comes from the stand-up world and plays Ginger. And Colin Hanks, Tom’s boy, plays Talking Tom.
Preston: Now I’d like to bring up an old show. Do you remember Mission Hill?
Tom: Of course. I played Wally, one of the tenants.
Preston: Besides Wally though, you played a bunch of other characters on the show. Obviously you auditioned for the main characters, but what about the other characters?
Tom: Well it’s all a money thing. You see it’s easier and more cost effective to have one person voice other characters. So they come up to me, ask if I can do a voice and if it sounds different from the main character I do it. It’s simple and easy for everyone. If you’re going to be a voice actor, you should try to have different sounding characters.
Preston: Interesting. Now there’s word of the Powerpuff Girls coming back to television. Is there anything you can tell us about the show?
Tom: Well, Caty Cavadini, Tara Strong and E.G. Daily(Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup) are not returning to voice the girls. I don’t know why, but the talent they have to play the girls are really good. They’re a little green, but they improve each week. I’m back as the Mayor and Narrator, Roger L. Jackson is back as Mojo Jojo and Jennifer Hale, who does a lot of video game work, is back as the teacher Ms. Keen, but not as Princess. Craig McCracken(creator of the Powerpuff Girls) is over at Disney right now with Wander over Yonder, so while he is not involved he does give it his blessing.
Preston: Any advice for people interested in going into entertainment?
Tom: Yes. Don’t be a jerk to people. Because then you’ll have other people saying “Hey, he’s a nice guy. Great to work with. He’d be great for this project.” So don’t be a jerk.
Preston:Advice you can use in both the real world and entertainment world.
Tom: Right, exactly.
Preston: Well that’s all I have. Thanks for answering my questions Mr. Kenny.
Tom Kenny later left to attend a Mr.Show reunion. All in all, Tom Kenny was a great guy and really personable. You can catch him as Hank on Talking Tom and Friends, which you can view on YouTube.
Thanks for reading everyone and have a Marvelous day!