Bobby Moynihan has one of those careers that every child watching early morning cartoons on Saturdays dreams of. Because whom among us hasn’t wanted to be a voice on our favorite show? Over the last handful of years, he’s been a voice on pretty much every animated show you can think of.
And now, he’s created an homage to the shows he grew up watching in the 80’s. You know, those shows like He-Man, GI-Joe, and Transformers that were conceived with the intent to sell more toys. Well what if those characters discovered they only existed for marketing purposes?
In a new 8-episode short series Lightning Wolves, Bobby has assembled a cast that includes Cobie Smulders, Taran Killam, Ben Schwartz, Donald Faison, Eugene Cordero, Sofia Gonzalez, and more. The show follows just that premise of what if the action figures find out they only exist to sell toys. The show is super funny, featuring the tongue-in-cheek nostalgia that we love at The Laugh Button!
In honor of the 8th episode premiering today on Comedy Central’s social channels, we are posting our recent interview with Bobby where we talk about the genesis of the series, the notion of creating a show just to sell toys, recording it during the pandemic, what universe he’d like to be apart of, action figures created for the show, and what it’s like to have his own action figures.
And all 8 episodes are available here.
Tell me a little bit about the genesis for the series.
I’m a fan of those 80’s shows. Those 80’s cartoons. And I wanted to make something kind of like “What would happen if those 80’s cartoons that were there to teach kids life lessons – what if they started to realize that the only reason they exist was actually to sell children toys? And that they were just toys for real children.” And that’s really what the series is all about.
I was a huge fan of like Thundercats and He-Man, GI-Joe and all those types of shows. So I wanted to make something like it, except with a lot of cursing.
Yeah, it’s sort of in those two worlds. I was thinking “This could have actually been on in the 80’s,” and then they curse.
(Laughs). Late night 80’s.
How long had this idea been in your head?
It’s funny. I did a short series just like this with Comedy Central a couple years back, Loafy. I was looking to do animation. I was doing a lot of voiceover in the last couple of years. And I always loved animation my whole life, and I wanted to learn how to do it. I started thinking of ideas of what I wanted to do and Loafy was one and Lightning Wolves was kind of the other one. I always said if I ever had the chance to do it again, I’d do Loafy first, then I’d do Lightning Wolves. And I’m kinda glad I did because I learned so much from doing Lo-Fi that I was like “Oh, I’ll definitely do something more scripted this time.” (Siren can be heard in the background). The police are coming for me. I’ve done a LOT of terrible things today.
You’ve said too much!
And you got such a great cast for this. Was that you calling up all your friends and asking them to take part?
100%. During the pandemic I called my friends and said “Do you have a microphone?”. (Laughs). And you could tell, some of them didn’t. Nah, I’m just kidding.
People just talking into their phones.
Yeah, there are a couple of those! No. When I wrote it, I wrote it for fun. And then when I was casting it, I just literally went “Who would I cast in this dream cast of my friends?” And all of them said yes. I got really lucky.
And then if these eight episodes do well, are you thinking “Where else can I take this?”
Nope. That’s it. No, I’m just kidding. Yeah, obviously, I would love to do more in any capacity. Whether it was just more of these kind of shorts or if it was a series or anything at this point. Even if it’s a comic book. I just think it’s a fun world to play around in. That world of 80’s toys that were like “Do you know how to put out a fire? But also, buy this vehicle. And if you buy this vehicle, you’re also going to need this castle.”
It was all genius marketing!
Have you ever seen that documentary, The Toys That Made Us? The one on He-Man.
The guy went in a closet, and then a weekend later came out and was like “Here are all the characters.” I love that idea.
Absolutely. And it took everyone a long time to figure out that’s what was going on. All of a sudden, everyone just went “Hey, wait a minute…”.
It took me 45 years.
Because this is an homage to all the shows you grew up watching, is there any universe that you’d love to be apart of? That you haven’t gotten a chance to yet.
Yeah, that I haven’t gotten a chance to yet. I was gonna say, I’ve been pretty lucky. Yeah, wow. I mean anything. That’s the best part about this. I was Louie on DuckTales. I have a couple characters in Star Wars and Disney and a couple Pixar movies. I’m like a nerd. I start collecting them. Yeah, there’s 100 things I would love to do. If I had a dream, I would like to do something with Figment. Bring Figment back. Or the Blob in X-Men in a cartoon. That’d be a blast. To play a villain.
I’d love to see you play a villain.
I’d got to do the Penguin for the Batman Radio Adventures on HBO Max right now. And that was maybe one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.
Who doesn’t want to be the Penguin?
Exactly. It was a blast. It was the most fun I’ve ever had. Well, besides Lightning Wolves. And this interview.
(Laughs). Well, thank you. The last question I have is there’s so much in this series with action figures. And they made actual action figures for the show.
Yeah. Shoutout to 3D Panda. I found these guys, they’re a couple out in North Carolina who make action figures. I just love their work. And I said I needed a bunch of action figured made, and they made them so fast. And they did such an amazing job. They made Lightning Wolves action figures. They’re my favorite.
So do you have those action figures now? And also, how many action figures do you have of yourself?
Number one, yes. I have the Lightning Wolves action figures. I also have all the villains being made. They weren’t in the video. They weren’t finished in time. But they are now.
And action figures of myself, I have a couple. I’ve got a couple Funko Pops and then some fanmade ones. A couple Star Wars ones. I’ve got a lot of figures that I’ve played. It’s weirdly fun to collect.
I think I’ve got a Drunk Uncle Funko Pop in the other room.
Nice. Everyone should, I guess. I really like that. That one’s my favorite. I can’t believe that exists. It has a mouth, which is weird for a Funko Pop.
Absolutely! And my buddy Richard has a bottle opener from I think one of the Comic Cons.
Right. I recorded that on my phone in my bathroom. (Laughs).