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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Narf! Voice actors Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche talk theater, career paths, and 25 years of Pinky and The Brain.

Voice+actors+Rob+Paulsen+and+Maurice+LaMarche+talk+about+their+25-year+career+voicing+Pinky+and+the+Brain.+%5BToday+photo%2FBrenden+Vigil%5D
Voice actors Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche talk about their 25-year career voicing Pinky and the Brain. [Today photo/Brenden Vigil]

By Brenden Vigil

Both Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen have been a part of most generations of cartoon lovers’ lives. As the voices of “The Animaniacs” The Brain (LaMarche) and Pinky (Paulsen), among many others, the duo has been entertaining kids of all ages for decades. 

It may be no surprise that their proudest moments came when they won Daytime Emmy Awards (LaMarche claimed the 2011 and 2012 awards for his work in “Futurama” and Paulsen the 1996, 1997 and 1999 prizes for his turns in “Animaniacs”). These were big moments for both of their families and what an honor it was to have both won multiple Emmy awards.  

Paulsen has voiced more than 250 animated characters from 1987, starting as Donatello from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and still voice acting in the present for characters like Pinky and Yakko Warner from “The Animaniacs.”  

LaMarche is a Canadian American voice actor, comedian and impressionist.  Some of the voices he is well known for are Brain, Calculon, Kif Kroker and Lrrr from “Futurama,” and Yosemite Sam in Cartoon Network’s “The Looney Tunes Show.”  

When given the opportunity to ask a few questions to both, here’s what they had to say. The following transcript has been edited for style and length. 

The new generation is being generated. Now instead of it being kids and their dads, we are getting like three generations of an audience.
— Rob Paulsen

Vigil: How have you seen the audience change from past generations to now?”  
Paulsen: In the case of Pinky and The Brain it’s just gotten bigger.
LaMarche: What’s happening is, the new generation is being generated. Now instead of it being kids and their dads, we are getting like three generations of an audience. Now we just have to not die for another 50 years, and we will see kids, dads, grandads and great grandads.
Paulsen: Because we have been able to redo this show, 25 years after the first batch. We have an exponentially larger fan base. That’s the main difference.  

Vigil: For each of you, what was the most difficult character to play through your careers?
Paulsen: Difficult? You mean like, physically? The most difficult to play for me is a character I do called Mark Chang, who is a secondary character from “Fairly Odd Parents.” He’s like this crazy surfer that’s always balls out, and I can do it for about an hour and then I’m done.
LaMarche: I love playing him in terms of comedy that came with the character because he was so in trouble. That’s because I was in trouble, and that was Yosemite Sam. Yosemite Sam is a voice you can not do without hurting yourself if you want to do it right. But I had to walk away from that part because I had other work at that time:  I was the voice of Lexus for seven years. My voice has become strained and so I had to make the decision to walk away from the character.

Vigil: At a university level, what would you recommend for students that want to get more into voice acting as a career?
Paulsen: It’s about acting. Period.
LaMarche: Voice acting is just acting without the hair liner and makeup, you know, and memorization. Like radio actors in the ’40s, you just work off the script, but you have to be able to inhabit a character, and you have to be able to know what the character wants and go for that within a scene.
Paulsen: Improv is huge. Stand up, music, stage. Lean into the theater department as much as you can and you never know, voice acting is a new ambition.
LaMarche: When we were starting out neither of us thought this was even something we could approach. I was a comic, a stand-up comic hoping to be an on-camera actor. I had heard there was this fascinating business called voice acting, but little by little with Frank Welker’s help — and I knew him through my friend Howie Mandel — he started talking me up around town. Then I started getting auditions.

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