Michele and I had the great good fortune to attend a studio voice record session for one of the forthcoming episodes of the greatest show ever, FUTURAMA, courtesy of being invited by my friend, Phil LaMarr. Phil is an amazingly gifted comic actor who recently filled the very large boots of Laurence Fishburne by stepping into the role of Cowboy Curtis in the recent live run of The Pee-Wee Herman Show in Los Angeles. On FUTURAMA Phil breathes tropical life into Hermes Conrad, Planet Express’s resident bureaucrat (and paperwork enthusiast), among others. Phil was kind enough to provide a blurb for the trade of FROM THE ASHES, and between sessions his mega-talented cast mate Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, Morbo, Hedonismbot, etc.) gifted us with a few spontaneous reads of Phil’s quote in his FUTURAMA announcer voice. I got one of them on tape:
These guys are my heroes. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that Bender Bending Rodríguez is my favorite cartoon character of all time, and that is mainly due to the unfathomably great voicework of John DiMaggio, who was also in this session. I can take to the grave that I made him laugh. Plus, as the voice of Marcus Phenix in Gears of War, John gave me tips on how to finally beat the climactic boss battle. How cool is that?
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t cap this by saying I was in the presence of the God of Cartoon Voicedom himself, the great Billy West. Astonishing. Witnessing him seamlessly and without pause slipping from character to character (Philip J. Fry to Professor Hubert Farnsworth to Dr. John Zoidberg in nanoseconds) was a thing of beauty. He’s a genius. I felt like a too-old/too-healthy version of a Make-a-Wish Foundation kid. I was in Heaven. These are my gods, people. And I walked among them.