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  • - Hi Vanity Fair. I'm Billy West.

  • You might recognize me as both Ren and Stimpy.

  • "Hey Ren, will you button me?"

  • "Shut up you fool! Else I shall kill you!"

  • Or Fry.

  • "Aw man did everything just taste purple for a second?"

  • And Farnsworth on Futurama.

  • "Good news everyone,

  • I don't want to live on this planet anymore."

  • [funky music]

  • - That's exactly the job I've always wanted.

  • - Nobody is as funny or as smart as you!

  • - I'm nice, I've got a great dog,

  • I can eat a ton of cotton candy

  • without getting sick.

  • - Eh, you were expecting maybe the Easter Bunny?

  • - Oh joy!

  • Hey Ren, it's Commander Hoek and Stimpy!

  • Happy happy happy!

  • Joy joy joy!

  • My favorite live action drama!

  • - It's so funny

  • when John Kricfalusi called me to do Ren and Stimpy he said

  • "Hey! I want you to do voices on the cartoon here."

  • I said sure, wonderful.

  • And I looked at the drawings

  • and I couldn't figure out what they were, you know?

  • Were they microbes or were they mosquitoes?

  • But it was like, very dolly-esque.

  • I used Larry Fine from The Three Stooges

  • as a template for Stimpy.

  • "Hey ma I peed on my shoe."

  • So I amped him up into a sort of like,

  • the cartoon universe you know, it's like

  • "Hey Ren, will you button me?"

  • - Come on Ren I need your help!

  • Oh please!

  • - He sent in my Stimpy audition

  • because he changed mind

  • he wanted to do the Ren character

  • and I said "Fine!

  • I don't give a fat frog's behind who does what."

  • I had a job, I was grateful.

  • We started doing stuff

  • and uh

  • he got himself fired

  • um, unceremoniously.

  • So then the execs were going,

  • "Well wait a minute,

  • wasn't Billy supposed to do both voices?"

  • And you know, they sent me some stuff

  • and I read it and I sent it in

  • and they said, "Okay, we'll work with you."

  • You know.

  • - Dear Ren,

  • that's me, that's me!

  • You are my favorite tv star.

  • - The voices to me sound like what they look like.

  • Happy happy, joy joy!

  • Happy happy, joy joy!

  • Happy happy, joy joy joy! ♪

  • - I was uh

  • wondering, well

  • if you want to uh

  • [intense music]

  • go to the fair, stupid? [screams]

  • - Jim Jenkins, he was really creative

  • and he created this slew of characters.

  • And the character Doug I guess

  • was based on him when he was a little kid.

  • You know, he was sensitive,

  • had crushes on girls

  • when he didn't even know how to approach them.

  • He was respectful of everybody.

  • He was, "Well, a painfully average 11 and a half year old.

  • This is my dog Porkchop.

  • Oh no, here comes Roger Klotz."

  • "Hey loser, I'm running for office

  • so vote for this!"

  • - I know how you must feel now

  • but in a few years

  • when you look back on all this-

  • - What a loon!

  • You never told me your sister was such a weirdo!

  • - Well actually I did try to-

  • - She's even goofier than you are, Funnie. [laughs]

  • - [Doug] So everything worked out okay.

  • - These characters were just absolutely beautiful

  • and I got to do Doug Funnie and Roger Klotz,

  • I got to do the gym coach, Coach Spitz.

  • Now he sounded like this.

  • - You didn't break anything, did you?

  • Nah, nothing broken.

  • - I know there's a reason

  • why certain people talk the way they do.

  • They might have bruxism.

  • They might have periodontal malocclusion

  • or the jaw might be jutting out.

  • Say your jaw was like really out

  • and you have to talk through all that stuff

  • to get to your tongue.

  • You have to go through the jaw

  • and you gotta go through all that space.

  • By the time it comes out

  • this is all a

  • spiel.

  • And so that show lasted for four years on Nickelodeon

  • and my mom loved that show.

  • You know, long after it was over with

  • and they did another Doug on Disney.

  • I had nothing to do with it.

  • My mom would say,

  • "Too bad you can't get that Doug thing going again."

  • - Bugs Bunny?

  • - Eh, you were expecting maybe the Easter Bunny?

  • - You're a cartoon, you're not real.

  • - Not real eh?

  • If I weren't real, could I do this?

  • [Bugs smooches Michael]

  • - At the time that they were casting for Space Jam

  • I was still working in New York City

  • on The Howard Stern Show.

  • And I was getting ready to leave radio because,

  • you know, I did my bit for radio

  • for what it's worth.

  • But they don't pay anything.

  • You know, and I just said

  • "You know, I can't stay here.

  • If I stay in the part of the pool where people pee

  • shame on me."

  • But Ivan Reitman,

  • the person who was doing Howard's movie, Private Parts.

  • So he used to sit in in the radio studio

  • and watch me doing my thing.

  • He set it up where

  • I was gonna audition for Bugs.

  • It was hairy.

  • I mean because

  • you've gotta meet so many people's perceptions

  • of what that character is.

  • You try to come as close as you can

  • but there's something that no mortal can do

  • is replicate Mel Blanc's acting choices.

  • You really are skating on thin ice

  • when you start, you know, rambling.

  • Say it was a long monologue or something.

  • You know, you gotta really pay attention all the time

  • just to make sure that you're staying in character.

  • You know and I used to listen to cartoons

  • and I kinda got the pattern,

  • the rhythms and stuff like that.

  • Like, "Ain't I a little stinker?"

  • - Well uh does he say "What's up, doc?"

  • Like this?

  • [Bugs munches on carrot]

  • Eh what's up, doc?

  • - Yeah! - Yeah!

  • - Nope, never heard of him.

  • - Bugs changed every time

  • they had a new director for a cartoon.

  • So you know, bearing all that in mind

  • I took the plunge

  • and I was doing a Bugs Bunny

  • opposite Michael Jordan.

  • Except I was never in the room with him.

  • They had a blue screen guy feeding him lines.

  • And he'd say, "Oh stop it Bugs."

  • I wasn't anywhere near.

  • So then there was a wrap party

  • at Warner Brothers for Space Jam.

  • Michael Jordan's agent, Ken Ross sees me.

  • And he goes,

  • "Michael, this is Billy West. He did Bugs."

  • And he reached over like, six people

  • and he goes, "Hey Billy."

  • It was like his hand,

  • shaking his hand was like, that big.

  • "Michael Jordan, the closest thing to a religious figure

  • that we have."

  • [laughs]

  • And I did Elmer Fudd.

  • You can listen to the cartoons

  • and he's a combination of a child

  • who acts sort of innocently and new to the world

  • like a candide type of character.

  • "Shh, be vewy vewy quiet.

  • I'm hunting wabbits." [laughs]

  • And then he would go "Alwight wabbit,

  • come out with your hands up.

  • I'll bwast you."

  • - Alwight you pesky wabbit.

  • I've got you now.

  • [gun cocks]

  • [ramp slams on Elmer's head]

  • - And that guy who did his voice was named Arthur Q. Bryan.

  • And he was a radio star.

  • And he had these little characters

  • where you would do, you know the baby talk.

  • And they thought he was perfect for Elmer Fudd.

  • 'Cause he would just look on and goes,

  • "Well Mr. Bunny wabbit,

  • would you come here for a moment pwease?"

  • You know and then he'd go, "I got ya now!"

  • [Billy mimics gun noises]

  • [gasps]

  • - Why for you bury me, weiner boy?

  • [Woody pecks at cart]

  • Guess who? [laughs]

  • - At that point I was just answering the calls for auditions

  • and they said they were gonna redo Woody Woodpecker.

  • And I thought, great!

  • You know, I'll come down.

  • Then I did my thing and I said,

  • "You guys do know that that's a sped up voice?"

  • So I tried to do it as approximate as I could.

  • "Guess who?"

  • And that was the Mel Blanc Woody Woodpecker.

  • After him it was Gracey Lantz.

  • That was Walter Lantz's wife.

  • She goes, "I hope you like today's show!"

  • You know, and they sped it up.

  • And if you could hear me sped up, that's what,

  • it would sound like Woody Woodpecker that way.

  • I couldn't do the laughing real time.

  • It had to be edited in.

  • Because I had to take breaks for breathing.

  • [Billy laughs]

  • And then when they edit it together

  • and sped it up, it was [Billy laughs].

  • - [Woody laughs]

  • - And I also auditioned for Wally Walrus.

  • "Oh

  • that Woodpecker!

  • I hate you Woodpecker!"

  • - That should fix that Woodpecker you bet [hums].

  • - And I get to do some,

  • a lot of incidental type characters.

  • - Oh, I would like to buy a hotdog please.

  • - I was plenty busy on that show

  • and I loved it.

  • I had nothing but energy.

  • You know, I was younger [laughs].

  • I was a young guy.

  • - So I'm gonna be a delivery boy?

  • - Exactly.

  • - All right!

  • I'm a delivery boy!

  • - Hey it's Philip J. Fry.

  • Greetings from the year 3000. It still sucks.

  • You know what that voice is,

  • that was just my um,

  • voice when I was 25.

  • I remember what he sounded like.

  • I was all whiny and nasally and complain-y.

  • I was a musician I might be like,

  • "Oh man I broke a string!

  • Now what am I supposed to do?"

  • You know that's exactly the way I sounded.

  • "You'd think somebody would turn the light on."

  • I was always bitching and carping [laughs].

  • And I thought,

  • that's the voice I'll do for Fry.

  • Because he's that type of person, you know.

  • He's not a masher, he's a gentleman.

  • He's not a very bright gentleman.