In case you wound up here without reading the first part
of the interview, here it is.
DM: Do you find that a lot of kids recognize
at all, knowing who you are as Sponge Bob?
TK: Sometimes kids recognize me, if there was an
article in Nickelodeon Magazine, you know like "What's
the face behind the voice of Sponge Bob?" And they'll have
a photo of me.
Kids are really good at bagging you on that stuff. They know
it's the guy they saw in the magazine, walking by them in
the supermarket or whatever. It's pretty weird.
I get recognized sometimes by kids and sometimes by people that are deep into the animation world. Deep enough to know what the faces of voice actors look like.
Which is pretty damned deep.
You're pretty mired in animation then.
DM: How does it feel to be part of two specific
followings? You've got Sponge Bob which has a huge kid cult,
and then there's Mr. Show. They're at such opposite ends of
the spectrum in terms of taste…in some ways.
TK: In some ways they're very similar, and in some
ways they're very different. They are similar in the sense
that they have non sequitir humor, they're both off-the-wall,
super-crazy non sequitir character-based slash situation-based
comedy. They share elements.
Boy, this is the worst answer ever.
They share elements. They're different, and then one is very family friendly, and one is the least family friendly show ever to be on television.
So I'm kind of proud to be at the bi-polar ends of that spectrum.
It's funny, because Sponge Bob has a very cultish following, too, but Mr. Show's cult is very small, and Sponge Bob's is very large. But people's devotion to both those things is equal. You know what I'm saying? The people that are into it are really into it.
Nobody's into Sponge Bob or Mr. Show just a little bit. If they watch it at all, it's because they really dig beyond a casual viewership. And I guess that's true of Powerpuffs, too, to a lesser extent.
DM: Yeah, I just saw the movie.
TK: Oh, cool. Not many people have.
Yeah, I have the cartoon world and the Mr. Show world. It's two very ultra-specialized areas of show business, weird little tidepools.
DM: Is your career where you wanted it to be?
TK: You know, I never really dreamed of anything.
Probably to my detriment. I never had a grand master plan
or a strategy of where I wanted to go. My strategy was always
just to work on stuff that was fun, with people that weren't
insane and horrible.
On that end of things, I'm right where I want to be. I just like working. It's weird. As long as work is there, I'm happy. I guess I'm sort of shallow that way. I'm just glad that I'm getting paid to work on stuff that some people give a rat's ass about.
The fact that anybody…you know, people are like, "isn't
it annoying when people come up to you and ask you to sign
Sponge Bob stuff?" I'm glad to be working on something
that people give a s*** about. It's nice.
Because I also know that stuff comes and goes. You know what
I mean? There's a new Sponge Bob waiting around the
corner, waiting to happen, that I probably won't be a voice
I like doing everything. I pretty much manage to have a good time on whatever I'm working on, but who knows? The Sponge Bob movie is supposed to come out in 2004, and they asked me to write on that. I'll probably do it.
In the meantime, I'm running around with Mark Hamill and a bunch of other people, just farting around. Mark's a guy I know from voice-over land, because of his whole Joker thing.
DM: Tom Kenny is wearing Joker sneakers, by the
TK: Which I bought in 1989 and never wore, because
I thought it was just too… dorky. And then when I heard I
was working with Mark, I cut the tags off these, and I'm wearing
them around. Somebody told me that they fetch incredibly high
prices on eBay.
The Converse Jokers, with purple bottoms.
DM: They're cool. They're very cool.
TK: Now I feel like I shouldn't be walking around
in them, like I'm being stupid.
DM: You're a walking collector's item.
TK: I shouldn't have cut the tags off. I could have
thrown them up on eBay and retired. Then I wouldn't have to
do any more of these … cartoons.
Whatever I'm doing, I have a good time. For twenty years, stuff has always just come along and I've done it, and then something else comes along and I do it, and then before you know it, twenty years have gone by and I go, "wow. I guess I never really had a plan, but I guess if I've got a house and stuff, I'm happy."
(Fellow castmate from Mr. Show, Brian Posehn,
has been captured and dragged over by Michael Goodson.
Tom admires Brian's Comic-Con purchase…)
TK: WOW! Christmas With The Superheroes, I
can tell by the back!
DM: Hey, I have that!
TK: I love that. Yeah, I love that!
And we devolved into a little bit of reminiscing over that DC Treasury Edition, which Brian Posehn clutched to his hulking frame for all it was worth. Anybody know what it's worth?
As the weekend wore on, we ran into Tom all over the place, sometimes in character, sometimes not. Every time, though, he was upbeat, happy, and clearly, just having himself a damned good time.
Next on the interview tapes - Brian Posehn…