The room was aflitter in a rousing chorus of the Animaniacs theme song. Mere moments before the arrival of celebrated vocal artist Rob Paulsen, the conference rooms of the National Press Club were geeking out in anticipation. Not exactly expected at the world’s leading institution for journalism, and fascinating for sure.
“You’re used to having Heads of State,” Paulsen joked upon entering. “Today you get Yakko, Pinky and Carl Weezer.”
In DC to participate in a workshop on careers in voice animation early last week, Paulsen took some time to show his face to an audience that normally couldn’t pick it out of a crowd, but recognizes his voice on the spot.
“We are all connected by a wacky cartoon show that I love doing. How cool is that?!” he laughed as he rapidly switched with ease from beloved character to character.
Paulsen detailed his start in the voice acting business, starting with his first job on Hannah Barbera’s Jonny Quest remake, all the way through Animaniacs (his self professed “life-changer”) and breakout role as Raphael in the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (currently he voices Donatello for TMNT 2.0).
He has provided the voices for more than 250 characters over 30 years, including the aforementioned Pinky of “Animaniacs” fame and Carl Wheezer of “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” plus Mac Gopher in “The Looney Tunes Show,” Bird Brain in “T.U.F.F. Puppy”… And at only 57, Paulsen’s proverbial “Fat Lady” still hasn’t sung, though to join in on the geek out, his characters do.
The audience got a kick out of Carl Weezer singing Pink Floyd, but it was the “Nations of the World” from Animaniacs that made everyone really wack-o for Yakko.