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Billy West’s Voices

At some point in the 1990s I crossed paths with Billy West, best known as a voice actor (Futurama, Ren & Stimpy). He is a huge soundtrack fan and loves 1960s Goldsmith, like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Satan Bug. So he really loved our CD releases.

I got to talk with him on the phone—a real kick for me, on Martha’s Vineyard, in the Ren & Stimpy era—and later meet him and some of his voice actor colleagues at Comic Con.

Voice actors are super fun! Unlike a lot of live-action actors, who don’t really like to perform their characters in person—or at least, it’s bad manners to ask them to do so—voice actors are so cloistered away in studios and recording booths, they’ll break out all their characters at the drop of a hat. And they’ll be hilarious in doing so.

Here’s a video I came cross with Billy explaining a lot of his famous characters:

To this day, one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard is Billy’s performance as Marge Schott, the former owner of the Cincinnati Reds who was perpetually suspended and in hot water over flagrantly racist comments, on the old Howard Stern show.

Please be aware that these sketches have so many vile racial slurs, I will not link to them. And in fact I may come back and delete this part of the column! You’ve been warned.

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