Tom Kenny (SpongeBob) Reviews Impressions of His Voices | Vanity Fair

published on July 2, 2020

I'm ready I'm ready I'm ready I'm ready

I'm ready to look at impressions Peru

coup everybody I'm Tom Kenny animation

voice actor known as Sponge Bob

Squarepants the ice came from adventure

time the mayor from the Powerpuff Girls

inherit from Rocko's Modern Life people

seem to love to do impressions of

animated characters online so we're

gonna rate a couple of them and check

them out see it's not easy it's not as

easy as it looks bad that guy was great

he brought the intensity he had the

technique the hand technique can you see

the big scar that I have there after 20

years of doing that no that's actually

not from doing summer job that guy's

bringing it he's awesome a character

like spongebob is really hyperactive but

he also has really quiet moments where

he doubts himself I feel like a failure

Gary and you also have those moments

like like this person was doing where

he's and you gotta get all that and it

all has to sound like spongebob

spongebob has really high highs and

really low lows emotionally when he's

happy he's really happy jumping up in

the air freaking out and when he's sad

he's so despairing that you've seen it

on the show where he actually cries like

a lawn sprinkler where his ice axe got


I don't need a therapist because I've

got spongebob good morning Gary

all right good morning Gary

my guess what today is Wow

that's right first of all I would like

to say to his parents don't worry too

much it's probably just a phase that's

what my parents thought so maybe it's

not I like that he brings the color he

wears the yellow he seems to really be

intimate with the ins and outs of

Spongebob although if he was a real

spongebob fan he would have spongebob on

his guns and not Deadpool I do Gary the

snail – who is basically a cat in snail

form Gary's a snail of few words he's a

snail of one word meow but Gary there's

weird gradations to him – like sometimes

he free time when he's when he's

flipping out

sometimes he's bored and this guy nails

nails Gary – when you're doing voiceover

for TV the union contract is that they

get you four three voices once you go to

a fourth voice they got to give you a

little bump in pay so they have you four

one two three voices so it pays to be

versatile because they would rather pay

one guy to do three voices then three

guys separately to do three voices so a

lot of times you wind up talking to

yourself and having conversations with

yourself Brian Wilson once said to me

wait a minute so basically you're paid

schizophrenic and I said yeah yeah

that's right so yeah this guy manages to

get the timing he goes back and forth

between spongebob and Gary without a

hitch and manages to firmly grasped his

jellyfishing net at the same time good

object work hey Catterick what am I now

I understand everything now being


boy oh boy do I like playing my clarinet

I practice and practice all day long but

I never get me better this young man has

taken it to a whole nother level he's

kicking it up a notch where something

that happens on SpongeBob a lot is that

the characters do impressions of the

other characters on the show so he's


Sponge Bob doing an impression of

Squidward which you know is very meta it

comes a little easier to us because

we've been standing next to each other

in the recording booth for 20 years now

he really nailed that that's great cuz a

lot of times you got to do the math cuz

you're gone sponge I'll be starting out

here and Squidward is starting here oh

please but I'm gonna sound like

spongebob doing Squidward so you still

have to put some Sponge Bob in there cuz

he's not that great of an impressionist

Sponge Bob isn't that's where the

Rubik's Cube aspect of this comes in

where you go wow I'm thinking about this

stuff way too much you're looking kind

of fat Gunter cooter

you're getting fat content yeah oh okay

watch this

oh yeah he loved it

wow this guy is obviously a Cartoon

Network guy he invested in the beard

probably a repurposed Santa Claus beard

so that tells me he's resourceful which

you have to be to be a voice actor

one thing that he gets at there is that

the Ice King lives alone in this ice

palace the Ice King is about loneliness

he's a really lonely person it's just

him and his penguins who kind of only

live with him because he feeds them

again much like cats or snails this guy

gets that back and forth that that

mental ping-pong that tends to happen

when guys are in solitary confinement

for a really long time so that was

either an awesome Ice King impression or

a cry for help you be the judge

they call me the Ice King

what who dares into the ice kingdom do

you know why I'm here do you know what

Ice King means who you're trying to hit

me he went the interesting route of

doing a Katharine Hepburn Ice King

fusion so his voice is a little more

high in keening than the actual Ice King

but it's a valid choice I would say

maybe that's what the Ice King sounded

like in his 20s before he got so bitter

but still a valid take on the character

hey how about the personals hey Rach ooh


I love chicken menu really caved on that

pogo stick I definitely thought you were

gonna keep it Wow Rocko's Modern Life

and heifer was the first regular

animated series I was ever on so that's

a really important one for me it's where

I first met Stephen Hillenburg who would

go on to create Spongebob Steve was a

creative director on Rocko's Modern Life

when I went in to audition for Heffer I

did my basically an impression of my

nephew who at the time was like 13 14

years old but he always acted like he

was on the verge of laughing like he was

always holding in a laugh what this guy

nails is that that kind of going up at

the end of the sentences hey Rocco it's

always kind of going up at the end he

never goes down at the end he always

goes up at the end it's a little bit of

like valley speak valley girl where

everything ends on and up come on give

it a shot hi I'm effort


that was a hoot I dreamt that eels were

biting my boy I really never is a harder

impression to do for people than

spongebob I tend to play a lot of

characters without any filter and

they're often yellow analyzing dog from

cat dog was one of them spongebob is

definitely one of them and heifer is is

for sure one of them

the thing about heifer that this guy

taps into is that there's no filter and

there's always a lot of joy in him like

everything's wonderful

I dreamt that heels were biting my butt

in everything's awesome and there's

never any negatives with with heifer and

SpongeBob's kind of like that too that's

kind of impacted me as a person like

playing characters that are kind of

unrelentingly positive can't help but

give you a more positive outlook on life

which is kind of interesting so uh

thanks imaginary drawing characters

hi everyone remember me yeah who could

take over my town

whoa my city but nobody and I mean

nobody touches my Marin hat now give it


he's got the heifer nervousness in

between I love it first of all I felt

like this guy's t-shirt was trying to

hypnotize me and it was actually working

it's like really really big man from

Rocko's Modern Life staring to my

nipples of the future and and I actually

was I'm not ashamed to say it the mayor

sort of has that Mushmouth fling Appling

weathers there's sort of like this stuff

in his cheek so there's things in his

lips as always interestingly this guy is

doing the mayor from the Powerpuff Girls

but his kind of nervous laughter in

between his lives is 100% heifer he

probably doesn't even realize that he's

channeling those two things at once well

I felt like what this guy captured with

the mayor we're sort of laddie you you

don't quite know what the next thing

you're going to say is it's sort of

coming for you yeah yeah yeah

yeah Mojo Jojo is destroying Townsville

yeah you know you can always tag the

live a little bit yeah that's all that

always works a lot of times voices are

amalgams of half-baked

impressions that aren't really that

successful so the mayor on Powerpuff

Girls started out as a mash-up of you

know the wizard from the 1939 Judy

Garland movie Wizard of Oz the black one

I come from we have people called good Z

doers sort of like that but also a

little mix of the old lady in every

which way but loose which was a Clint

Eastwood movie involving an orangutan

and Ruth Gordon was an actress that was

in that movie and I remember she said

give me black those ZZ Oreos and I just

remember that line from when I was a kid

give me back those GD Oreos yelled by

this old lady and mashing them up kind

of turned into the mayor from the

Powerpuff Girls mojo maybe a


Powerpuff Girls come quick

Mojo Jojo has written miss bellum out of

the show this young actor is very

enthusiastic what he gets is you'll see

them his mouth is going all over the

place what are you in the mayor it's

that again that that much malformed

wobbles thing the mayor's often in a

high state of distress a lot of

animation voice-over is really extreme

so anything that it takes to get that

sound anything anything that your mouth

will do or your face can do or your eyes

can do or your arms can do anything that

gets you to that place is all grist for

the mill and this guy's got a lot of

grist it's so mind-blowing and

flattering to see people doing

impressions of these characters and that

they're still part of people's

consciousness and their lives but

there's something about animated

characters the stuff that hits you when

you're in your formative stages that's

the stuff that stays with you for the

rest of your life and man I've got a

great gig

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