Talkin’ Toons with The Justice League (Talkin’ Toons w/ Rob Paulsen)

Hey you guys, thank you so much for again lowering your entertainment standards and showing up on Talkin' Toons today. You guys, this has never happened. Well, one of my guests has already said he's wetting his pants. That has never happened. So today we're already ahead of the game. We have this incredible opportunity to literally preach to the choir and the fans of Justice League, which is pretty much everybody with a pulse right? So today we have got an incredible group of people. We have six guests today, one of them is wetting his pants. And we're gonna talk about Justice League, and all sorts of other way bitchin' stuff that you guys are gonna really enjoy on Talkin' Toons. (superhero music) As promised, look at this, look at this incredible, this is like a year book picture from D.C.

(guests laugh) I'm documenting this, it's too exciting. Why can't you just be in the moment Michael? Be here with us. This is the first time Rob is actually talking to me. Thank you Michael, it's a pleasure. By the way Mr. Conroy's ego has it's own area code so just so we know. (guests laugh) I just thought I'd throw that … Don't make him angry. Someone has to go change his pants now. That's right, thank you, thank you guys so much. This is really really cool. Let me just, as if you didn't know, I just wanna make sure because I want to make sure that the yearbook picture is correct. We have Kevin Batman Conroy, right? Hello. We have Susan Wonder Woman Eisenberg, right? We have George, I'm not gonna talk about the pants. It's okay. We have George Superman … Super. By the way, it could be the Jewish version of Superman.

(laughs) It could be Shlomo Superman. I am one of the supermans. Okay, great, George Superman Newbern. We have Michael The Flash Rosenbaum, right? We have Phil The Green Lantern, number one in our program and our hearts, Lamarr. And we have the beautiful Maria Hawkgirl Canals. Why does she have to be beautiful? Well, dude. She can't help it. Stevie Wonder could see that we have, you know, seriously some really incredibly beautiful … The only person that's missing is Carl Lumbly. Carl Lumbly that's right, Carl plays … He doesn't live in L.A. He doesn't?
No. Didn't he used to live in L.A.? He's been commuting for a long time. Well in any case, this is the fucking Justice League. (guests singing) Ladies and gentleman, The Fucking Justice League. (guests laughing) Firstly, thank you guys for, Kevin and Phil have been kind enough to be on the show before but it's really great to get all of you in. Thank you Brian for figuring out how to stage this.

This is as a result of Susan's incredible desire to literally give the fans what they want. Because we all get to do conventions and we've talked about this incredible experience before. It is never, double negative, it is never not overwhelming. I come home every weekend exhausted from saying thank you, to people, and I've been sitting next to Mr. Conroy at New York Comic Con, and your line goes out the door. And every 45 minutes or so … God bless them, God bless them it's fantastic. Oh yeah, but then every so often, Kevin will stand up like on his chair. Oh God.
(guests laugh) Right, and he does, everybody quiets down. And he does, "I am vengeance, I am the knight, I am Batman. And grown men … (guests laugh) Right? So knowing that … It gets the crowd really revved up, you know? Of course it does, but Susan, you took it one step further and not only were kind enough to call us and Liz and Brian and say, "hey man, there's a fan love out there for this franchise that is so deep and so honest, that who knows," and so thank you for doing this because we're straight up.

The whole idea is just try to find, give the fans a little bit of a voice. And I'm telling you man, I can speak from my own experience. The people in the Ivory towers at Disney, Warner Brothers, wherever, they listen, they pay attention to these fa … Why do you think when you go to Comic Con, there are millions of dollars worth of props that everybody goes click click click click click and sends it out? So that if they see that you guys wanna do this, you just don't know where it goes.

That's the fun of going to Comic Cons for us. For me, anyway. (guests agree) Is the interaction with the audience. Cause when you're doing voice work as you know, you're just sending it out there into the aether. And you don't really get the audience experience. It's nice to hear how great you are. (guests laugh) That's right. Or how great they think you are. Or something, I'm not as good as you think I am. No, its true. It's amazing, an amazing experience. #JLreunion thing has been in my Twitter feed for like … Is that right? I've been on this TV show for about six or seven years and they've got a huge Twitter presence. On my Twitter feed, I have probably two to one Justice League. Over Scandal? Over Scandal. That's crazy. It is, and the thing that happens a lot, a lot of you guys do a lot of on camera stuff.

And I hear it over, Sean Astin was on the show and he just got done doing Rafeal for five years on turtles for Nickelodeon. So the first thing, he sent me, he was doing Stranger Things last season. Oh yeah, right. The first thing he did when he got off the plane he sent me a text, he said the guy who picked me up, the transport guy freaked out that he was picking up Rafael. (guests laugh) Not Rudy? Not Rudy, not the guy from … The Lord of the Rings.

None of that, it was all about, dude this guys a fucking turtle. I'm telling you. I know it's amazing isn't it? It is so remarkable, and the thing we find out is especially now, that guys like us who've got no place where we've been around for a while, we have a multi generational audience and you run into people who say, "Oh my God, I grew up watching Batman." Well that's it, it's the childhood … That is it. Yes, but now their children. And now they've passed on. We live in their imagination, we live in the audience, when you're just the voice of the character, you're living in the person's imagination. It's a more intimate experience than they get from an on-camera performance. So I'm not surprised they would react that way to Sean's, you know, animated character. I think there's something really about a voice. Like growing up listening to Mel Blanc do Bugs Bunny. His voice changed, over the years. Like you know, the latter-day Bugs was not the same as (imitates Bugs Bunny) You know, it got lower, but its still the same.

It's like your parent's voice. Like your mom's choice changes over the years but when she says your name you hear it in the back your head, your like (imitates whining child). Phillip!
Yes? I've coined Phil a couple of Times interviews because people ask me all the time, "who are your inspirations, your favorite?" You said once, this is one of the most brilliant answers. I was at Phil's house doing my podcast at it's earliest iteration. And I asked you that question, "who are some of your inspirations?" And you know one of my favorite actors is Bugs Bunny. And I know exactly what you're talking about. It was, we know it was Mel, but it was about this perfect amalgam of writing, and visual and Bugs, you bought it. Right. Hook line and sinker. Exactly.
They made it real. Yeah, and so the same thing is happening with you guys got the voice, characters are iconic comic book characters. The fan base for which is millions. With this world building and the quality of the writing. (guests agree) Who are the writing staff mainly? Well Bruce Timm was overseeing the whole thing but you had Dwayne McDuffie, you had Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel, you know like, huge.

Paul Dini. Paul Dini was on there, yeah. Make room for Emmy. Imagination architects. Yeah. And they could all come back if we come back. Heck yeah, sweet Dwayne, except Dwayne would give us so much juice from wherever he is. And Charlotte, talk about being a champion for Mr. McDuffie, but all the people you talk about are all loved by the fan base. That is to say when you were kind enough to be on this show a few months ago and people saw the little clips. People were as excited about seeing Alan Burnett and Paul Dini because of their fan bases. Yeah, people that, the name I often hear that's brought up at Comic Cons is Andrea Romano. (guests agree) It's amazing to me that the audience even knows, I don't know who the voice directors were on The Flintstones or The Jetson's, the shows when I was a kid. But audiences now really pay attention to that stuff. And she's not on social media so …

No she's not.
They know. There's so many fans out there. Was it you Susan who was telling me that at a convention you just did or was it you were just with a convention and Andrea said, "oh I would totally…" In Denver we were all together and she said to the audience, "I'd come out of retirement to write this if you guys did a project again," and there was just such a flutter in the audience.

People were just so excited about that. Well cause there really isn't anybody who's got the track record that she has. I mean there are some other really really talented voice directors, but nobody who has done so many high quality projects. There's nobody that makes you feel more comfortable, more at ease, more confident as an actor. She knows how to talk to actors. She really does. And you know what, sometimes you just wanna line reading, and she knows exactly what you want. Just give it to me. Oh yeah. And she has the chops to give you a good line reading. Well she got her degree in theater, in acting. Oh was it really? Yeah, up at Fredonia College in New York. That's why she knows how to talk to actors. The most embarrassing thing for actors, especially starting out when you're doing voice, and you don't really know what you're doing or any of the newcomers, is the (grunts)
(shouts) and you're screaming and it's kind of an art. It's like we all learn that it comes easy right, but in the beginning she would actually make herself more vulnerable.
That's right.

She would do the, "Michael more like a (growls), she would make a face," She would make herself look silly and you're like, "oh we can do that?" That's exactly right. And she learned, we've all had the great good fortune of knowing Gordon Hunt. And Gordon was Andrea's mentor. And he's really the guy who gave me a shot. And I adore Gordon, well we all loved Gordon. But to be able to have that pedigree and watch what he did with Jonathan Winters and Daws Butler, and Mel Blanc, and Alan Oppenheimer, and over and over. Just wonderful actors and the way he, Bob Riggle would just essentially wrangle cats. (guest laughs) But get these really bitchin' performances out of something like Smurfs, you know, what of Danny Goldman, and all these, I mean remarkable actors. So Andrea was essentially his assistant, watched this for years, and then, jumped in. Got to work on Batman, Superman, Pinky and the Brain, Animania, Tiny Toons, all the Disney …

Avatar, over and over and over again, yes mam? I love how she always tried to get us together. Yes. As much as possible. Because she knows that that energy, we feed each other with that energy. And I think that was part of the magic. I think I did a couple of Justice Leagues, I was Lightray I think in one of the two, I don't even remember. But the point is that you make such a great point Maria, the fact that you six are here doing this. The excitement out of that side of the cameras is palpable. I mean everybody is scrambling around going, "oh my God, Justice League is here." Cause this is the choir. This is the choir to whom we're preaching right? So when, and unfortunately, a lot of sessions now end up with us individually. But always when you can get this group of actors together, with a Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Stan Berkowitz, fill in the blanks script, with iconic characters, you can't go wrong.

I always regret like not being able, because I was doing Smallville too, I was up there. We had you for season one and then you got the gig. Then I was like 10 months there bald and cold. (guests laugh) I missed it because there's a certain energy when I'd come in alone I was like, "Shit, I miss interacting." Somebody like Andrea, can also help you juice it up to fit what she knows she's got. Right. That's her skillset. But I honestly think that, I mean, there is a lot more like, humor and interplay between Green Lantern and Flash in that first season. And then I think, it's like, because they didn't get to see us doing it, in the records, they wrote a little bit less of it in the later season.

(guests agree) I didn't notice it was less humor. Well no, just the stuff with Michael. Wait a minute, less humor? What are you talking about? This is not what I want to hear. It goes to show that we have a little bit of influence as who we are as actors, in the writing. Because the writers get inspired by these … Well that's really nice. You and I worked together I think on Danny Phantom.

Now is this the first, sort of, for lack of a better term, serious superhero voice thing that you've ever done? Yeah, I was so excited, it was so exciting to do. Are you a fan of comics or anything like that? I was a little bit, but not … She's too pretty to read comics. Not big time, but do you know that I found, and I'm not one of those sentimental people that keep like papers and materials, I keep clothes and shoes, (guests laugh) but I found like a few years ago, my audition sides for Hawkgirl. For Hawkgirl? Yeah, and Andrea had brought me in because I was doing some other little things on Danny Phantom and, the one you were the star of, Status. So she brought me in for Hawkgirl. And I remember like, I treated it just like an on-camera audition. That's what I do, I dress for it. Did you wear wings? It's for me, I even have a scent. It makes me feel the character. The scent, what was Hawkgirl's scent? A fragrance.

A fragrance.
I don't remember. I used Recar, for … (guests laugh) We wanted to talk to you about that. Mine was Kibbles and Bits. Kibbles and Bits, of course. But your point is well taken, and I was doing an interview the other day and of course, you guys probably all get this a lot, cause you get young actors now because of the video games and all this stuff that requires voice talent.

Let me back track a little bit, when I first came to L.A. the only two actors I knew well who really wanted to be voice actors from the time they were little were Corey Burton and Nancy Cartwright. Everybody else came here ostensibly to do live action theater, I was a singer who became an actor. I was doing on-camera stuff, segued into voice work, gratefully so. But now, as a result of Arkham Asylum, and video games, and all these other, you get people who say, "dude I just wanna be a voice actor." (guests agree) So, then the next question that I get a lot is, "I'm gonna be a voice actor and I want you to hear this great impression of Flash." I go, "Well, Mike Rosenbaum does Flash." "Yeah but I do a great one." Right, so you start to find out, you say, "well it's like small V, large A." The best voice actors are really solid actors.

And George, you're on a hit show, which is finishing up but it's candle is done. Yep. And you've had so many on-camera movies and stuff. But I would venture to say the one thing I hear over and over again, is just like you said with Mel Blanc, Bugs Bunny is one of my favorite actors. Because Mel was a great fuckin' actor. (guests agree) It's not just about the funny voice, and the reason that we love all these characters, and that you can improvise in the context of Batman for an hour and say things as Batman that Kevin wouldn't necessarily make sense of, right, because you've got that character and you're trained as an actor. That's the first thing I point out at Comic Cons when people ask, "how do you get into the business? You know talk about voicing." I say, "well the most important thing is it's acting. It's voice acting, it's about acting, so get involved with productions, get involved with your local acting company, study acting, because you're creating a character but you only have your voice to do it.

But you've gotta create that full character." And you're creating relationships, and I'll say it's even more difficult when you don't have the other actor.
I've heard that too. You have to create everything, you have to attribute the response that you're not seeing or getting from another human being, and respond to it. You need even more imagination, even more training. That's what you're being paid for, is your imagination. Yes, exactly. Because coming up with the idea for the voice is what you're being paid for. Anyone can imitate you, or me. People come up and imitate me all the time, really well. And I say, "well now I'll have to kill you." (guests laugh) Do you hate when people try to do your voice? You're really doing me well, like I hate you. I am vengeance, I'll show you how much I'm vengeance.

… ourselves very much, our own voices. Yes, it's having the idea to come up with that sound. That's what you're paid for. That's such a misconception to think that, like I think people hear, like "Oh you're doing a voice." I talk all the time. I could do that, I could go and read copy. It seems so easy, it's such a small world in the acting world. I gotta say Michael that's an interesting thought because I hear it all the time. And I was singer first and then became an actor. And the truth is, if I had come out here, it'll be 40 years next month. (guest giggles) You look like a young boy. I tell people all the time, you know I was the entertainment in The Last Supper. I know. Check the (inaudible).
Jesus wanted to party.

So, but you know what, the truth is if I had come out and there was something like, American Idol, I would have said, "oh, oh yeah I'll take a crack at that." I know that the paradigm has shifted but, there is this, for lack of a better term, an American Idol effect and that is to say that you find people who are plucked out of obscurity and often they're really freakin' amazing. But you hear them talk, and they're maybe 18, and they're going, "oh my God if I don't stay through the next week, my career is done." I have to say it's not a criticism, it's an observation.

That never occurred to me when I got my 10th callback that I didn't get. It never occurred to me like, "holy fuck if I don't get Who's Cooking The Soup, I'm done," But when you're young, you do think that. I mean you do think there's a fine item at "oh well he got that there's no, that's over for me, he already got the part that I want." I used to think that and then I, the longer you sort of survive you go, oh there's enough for really kinda everybody, at a certain point.

Well you realize, I mean, even if, us old folks, when it was just Hollywood, even in that world, you couldn't actually be fired. There was no king of Hollywood who could say, "you will never work in the …" A lot of people have threatened you'll never work in this town again, but the only way to get out is to quit. Yeah. No, I was the king of Hollywood. (guests laugh) I was king Vitamin for a while. I was naive. I gotta be honest with you, I honestly left college thinking, I never listened to odds or statistics or, I really didn't, and I look back and I go, why were you so stupid? But really inadvertently I was brilliant cause I would have realized that and started believing the hype of how hard it is … You had to believe in yourself and that's the hardest. It's like climbing a ladder, just don't look down. Yeah, you have to hear the tiny percentage of screen actors that get work, and this was my attitude: and I'll be in that percentage.

Of course, that's the beauty of what we do. I look back now like you do and you're like, how many auditions, how many outfits? (guests laugh) But how much fragrance? (guests laugh) How much Hawkgirl scent, no, but the thing, you know what? Look at everybody, everybody here is smiling. Like you're into this, right? And we are all, we all pay our rent doing something we would essentially do, don't tell anybody, for free. Well the Video head companies already know. I know. Well I'm working at In and Out now but, good for you guys. But the point is, that I, at 62 years old, I am still moved by the same Jones to do this gig that I was when I came here at 22.

And like Michael said … You don't look 62.
I don't. You look at the world still as a 22 year old. Though my altruistic, idealistic … I do too.
I do too. I think there's something wrong with me sometimes. Cause I pass my image in a window and I think, who is that guy? Because I think I'm still like 25. But the fact that what we do and what Susan was kind enough to wrangle us all together is we're here celebrating something that has nothing to do with the way we as humans and actors look. It is about keeping that incredible spirit and character alive that we've all had a hand in creating. And make it clear, we don't write them and we don't draw them.

But we're the ones who get to be the point people. And we're the ones who … We're the front man of the band. Yeah. And, that's how I feel when I experience all those people telling me these wonderful things, and they say, cause I was the mom on a show that they love, Wizards of Waverly Place, and then they're like mind-blown that the mom on a sitcom can be Hawkgirl. Cause they think of certain characters or actors in boxes. And to blow their minds is very thrilling as an antress. And it's exciting, and then I think, my goodness, I was able to be part of two projects that are so beloved. Of course I want more work, of course I need more work, of course I'd love to do more. But what a blessing to do two things that that really stuck, and that changed their lives. And like you said, parents are now showing their kids that they grew up with, it's wonderful.

Susan, I wanna ask, because you're Wonder Woman. And that, talk about being back on the map. I mean when I was. (guests singing) That's a big deal. It is. I'd love to hear your take on some of these moments where you, especially with young women, because I, most of my stuff, virtually all of it, is comedy stuff and it's a joyful experience, but you embody a character that has meant an awful lot, especially in recent context, to the power of women. I mean the movie "Wonder Woman" was freakin' huge. Incredible, and I would love to hear some of the experiences you've had with meeting people at conventions who come up to you and tell you what Wonder Woman in your context has meant to them.

It's been deeply emotional, I mean it's, people come up and they're crying. She's been so extraordinary for marginalized people, Wonder Woman, and so, people, not just women, anyone who's been marginalized, or felt marginalized, has in some way, related to that character. And so I hear extraordinary intimate stories from people, that they feel they can share with me. Because I voice this character. Isn't that, I mean, in my life time, I can't think of too many people who are literal strangers, but what they've done has effected me so deeply that I think I'm gonna tell them my deepest, most profound secrets. What an incredible thing. It's incredible and it's, I mean, it's a privilege. And I say that a lot and, there are times when I'll ask people, "can I give you a hug?" Because I just am so moved by their story and their journey and I'm like, "can I give you a hug, because you're awesome." They say 20 dollars. Right, and they say, "yeah that'll cost ya." But if you want a selfie I can do it for 40.

Right exactly, we'll work something out. So yeah I mean its, and then of course with the movie, but the movie is so late, you know. I mean people have been waiting. That movie shows exactly what you're talking about. People were, I mean ready, to take a big bite out of that whole franchise. For sure, and when you think about all the Batman movies and the Superman movies, and their projects, the animated series, all of that. There have been so many projects that people have loved throughout, this is like it's Linda Carter, it's Justice League, and now it's the movie. Yeah, a huge gap. And so the fact that she's still so beloved with such a dearth of projects. To be even a tiny, tiny, because obviously, on camera, live action is not the same, it's not seen as the same as animation, but just to be mentioned in that story, in that narrative. Nobody has your voice.
Nobody. Nobody talks like Susan, sorry Linda. I mean I had the pleasure of working with you years ago I think at Hanna Barbera Odds and Ends.

It was Pirates of Dark Water. Oh my God.
With Gordon Hunt. With Gordon, Hanna Barbera. And Jonathan Winters did that. Working with Jonathan Winters, how mind-blowing was that? He was one of my heroes as a kid. The first time I worked with him I remember Gordon said, "do you wanna sit next to Jonathan?" I said, "pfft, yeah." Gordon said, you know we build extra time into the session because it's Jonathan. And he's gonna, and frankly we're getting a free show and he can't not do it. He's just gonna riff. So we're sitting there doing, I think the first time I was working with him was Smurfs or something. And I'm sitting here and Jonathan's sitting where I am and Gordon says, "okay Jonathan we're ready and whenever you wanna go, go." So Jonathan elbows me, pretends like he's looking down the barrel of a rifle, and he says, "shoot the priest it'll stop those Mexicans in their track." (guests laugh) They're rolling on this? Oh yeah, and I said, "shoot the priest, it'll stop …" And I thought oh okay, we're at the Alamo, okay so I thought, I'm gonna fuckin' riff with Jonathan Winters.

So he's "shoot the priest, it'll stop …" and I said, "oh okay Mr. Crockett, I'm gonna go reload." He goes, "I'm not Davy Crockett, Crockett's upstairs with Colonel Travis, I'm Jim Bowie, quit drinking you son of a bitch shoot the fuckin' priest." (guests laugh loudly) Jonathan just went riffing down that road. Now, that's a totally inappropriate story. But, it gives you an idea of how crazy this whole thing can be and the fact that it's Jonathan Winters or fill in the blank, any one of these people, George Hearn. All these incredible actors who get there and they're like Tim Curry, they get there and they think, this is the gig. Yes it is. We did a 13 episode arc with David Tennant whom I love. He was on a 13, David Tennant, on Ninja Turtles. And I don't even know anything about Dr.

Who. I love David Tennat from, oh God, what's the movie, the TV show he does? Broad Church?
Broad Church. And he couldn't wait to get on Ninja Turtles. He was thrilled about being part of the whole turtle thing. That's hilarious. But the question I was gonna have for you is, thank you for bringing up Mr. Winters, but, you've had a very successful, and continue to have a successful on-camera crew. Do you find that you enjoy doing voice, I mean a superhero as much? Man, I love it, I love it so much. And I also have a little thing, I do a lot of audio books. Oh, you do? I do, so the book I'm working on right now has 150 characters in it. So, I get up, five hours a day, I get up at like 6:30, and I just.

And you get to bring voice to the specific character? Yeah I sit in the booth for five hours like four days a week, as much as I can do, I can't take more.
Good for you. You know you have other friends that can do other voices. (guests laugh) It's crazy like doing it. And to script out all the characters. It's the more insane version of what we get to do. It's almost the crazy-making version. How do you keep track of so many? It's hard, it's really hard. But it's fun, it's fun and I don't recommend a lot of people dive in there cause it's crazy-making. Not everybody can do it, this is actually something that occurred to me like four or five years into my voiceover career, like doing it, and I realize not everybody can read words off of a page, and not sound like they're reading.

Isn't that amazing? It's weird, I have a very unique milk toast quality to mine. A very sort of syfer-like ability, no. You remember all the guest stars we had on Justice League? Does anybody else remember there would be times where there were people you saw be amazing on camera, and they'd come in there and you're like … Yep. Wow.
(guests laugh) Trying to be really nice and was like, "okay, okay let's do that again." That was great. How many times has it happened to one of you folks where Andrea would say okay, great thanks you guys, well then Kevin could you just hang on, I just wanna chat with you.

Yeah Rob's a nice guy but he just couldn't read. I don't know how bad Rob is. (guests talking) And so they have you tweak it and pick it up. You're so right Phil, I kind of forgot about that but the number of times that I'd be in a room with you know, the usual suspects, Billy and Maurice and Tress, and a movie star would come in, and then Billy would start riffing or Welker would start doing what they do and you see the blood drain out of their face and they go, I don't do that, and they go, well we didn't hire you to do that. But they are utterly dumbstruck by what this group of actors do. Oh Jesus, isn't that something? Well even like, even in commercial copy, at my agent's office the other day, they brought down a couple of agents from another department because this department kept sending people over to the voiceover department, thinking that their clients can do this.

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