San Diego Comic-Con has always been the place for first looks and inside scoops on the best comics, movies, and TV shows. Comedy Central’s newest show Ugly Americans traveled to the Golden State to participate in a panel about the cartoon.
Before the suits were put on and capes were ironed, we caught up with two of the stars of the show Matt Oberg and Randy Pearlstein who do the voices of Mark Lilly and Leonard Powers. We asked about the show and some of their more monstrous life experiences.
TLB: What attracted you to do Ugly Americans?
Matt: I thought it was the right level of weird. It can be surprising without being confusing.
Randy: Somehow it was evident that these were not wholly stock cartoon characters. There would be styles of behavior and cultural attitudes to play with that were intriguing. Essentially there would be the chance for a wider variety of laughs and dramatic scenarios.
TLB: Have either of you done any prior voice work? How do you like doing it compared to traditional acting or stand up?
Matt: I did some voices on a show called Starveillance a while back. The voice stuff is a lot of fun. There’s not a ton of pressure, I don’t have to shave, or wear a shirt, although most of the time I do.
Randy: I have, and it’s enjoyable. I have worked on a few animated shows and also commercial voice overs with character mascots. You have a chance to play different genres of gags when there are no limits to being on camera or having legitimate sets. Also, the nature of the jobs are often more unusual. In 1994, one of my first jobs was to voice some lines for Chris Walken for the film Search and Destroy. Mr. Walken was out of town during the editing process and I synced my voice to his lips for a few sentences. Real fun. He said I did pretty good.
TLB: Where did the inspiration for the voices of Mark and Leonard come from?
Matt: His [Mark] voice is my voice, so essentially I just talk near a microphone and then they turn it into TV.
Randy: For me I used to spend a lot of time at the Friars Club. There were a lot of old guys who were razor sharp and yet completely mischievous and unpredictable. When I read the character description for Leonard a few of these gentlemen came to mind.
TLB: There will be an Ugly Americans panel this weekend at Comic-Con. Are there any spoilers about the new season that are going to be announced?
Matt: Mark and Randall finally admit their true feelings for one another. Will they? Won’t they?
Randy: I won’t spoil anything as I would like audiences to be taken by surprise as I was when I first read the scripts. In the right way it’s more of the same, with a deeper and now more specific illumination of all the characters since we already know them.
TLB: What were your favorite cartoons growing up as kids?
Matt: Pretty much all of them. Although a particular favorite was The Hair Bear Bunch. They were funky and their invisible motorcycle was tight.
Randy: Hands down Hong Kong Phooey. Crother’s voice was the best.
TLB: Do either one of you think you would be good as social workers for monsters?
Matt: It depends on how sad the monsters were. If the monsters have problems anywhere close to Precious’ problems, there is no way I could handle it. But if they were just trolls who felt lonely or needed to fill out forms, I could probably help them out.
Randy: Tough job. Consistently listening to stories of abuse and discomforts would take it’s toll on me. If pressed I would approach with Transactional Analyisis, Berne, but leave plenty of room for Perle’s dream work. In addition, bi-weekly trips to laser tag. Get the doom and gloom out with some laser hustle and sheetcake.
TLB: On the show, both of your characters have a demon for a boss. Have you ever had someone in real life treat you in a similar manner?
Matt: I worked in a kitchen at a yacht club one summer and the head chef was a real ball buster. He would yell at me for peeling a melon poorly, but to be fair I was really bad at that job. I would forget to put bacon in blt’s.
Randy: Every woman I have ever dated under 30.
TLB: If you could design your own Ugly Americans character what physical traits would it have?
Matt: I think a zombie Hair Bear Bunch would be tight. The only thing that could stop them from eating brains would be funky music.
Randy: A dude with a face with many moving parts, like a Rubik’s cube. He can twist and manipulate his head to show you elaborate and specific emotion.
We’d like to thank Matt and Randy for taking time out of their schedule to talk to us. New episodes of Ugly Americans air this fall on Comedy Central. Check your local listings for dates and times.