Squaring off with 'SpongeBob' - East Valley Tribune: Tv

Squaring off with 'SpongeBob'

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Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 11:07 am

Tom Kenny is a man of a thousand voices -- or so it seems.

Best known as the man behind SpongeBob SquarePants, Kenny's tone has been all over television -- from the narrator of "The Powerpuff Girls" to "Rocko's Modern Life" and, now, "Brickleberry" (10:30 p.m. EST Tuesdays, Comedy Central), perhaps the most-adult cartoon he's done.

As ranger Woody, Kenny plays a buffoon who oversees the shenanigans of men, women and beasts at a national park. "Brickleberry" isn't exactly "Yogi Bear": The plots are usually highly sexual and juvenile, befitting the traditional college-age crowd drawn to the series each week.

"'Brickleberry' is definitely for an older audience for me," Kenny says. "You can see what kinds of audiences I reach -- my preschool (cartoon shows), my Adult Swim shows are for older (viewers) than that, and then there's 'Brickleberry.' "

Comedian Daniel Tosh ("Tosh.0") is one of the producers and plays tiny bear Malloy, who is Woody's biggest foil.

Married with two children, Kenny has been the voice of dozens of characters in more than 200 productions. Current TV projects also include "Green Lantern," "The Annoying Orange Show," "Adventure Time," "Ultimate Spider-Man" and an upcoming preschool series for Disney.

"Being a voice actor is this weird thing. It's like being half a celebrity and half not," he says.

He takes pride in the fact that he's enough of a celebrity to have his death reported on Twitter recently.

"I guess it take a certain level (of celebrity) to have that happen," he deadpans.

A native of East Syracuse, N.Y., Kenny loved reading comics and drawing when he was a child. He was a comedian early in his career and made the rounds on late-night cable shows. Along the way, Kenny was cast doing voices on cartoon projects.

From there, the work on the "animated" side of his resume increased as his standup work dwindled.

Kenny has been starring in "SpongeBob" since 1999. And thinking of Kenny as that character isn't such a stretch.

Calling late for his interview, the mild-mannered Kenny apologizes over and over. When he's reminded that he's SpongeBob, so repeated apologies are not needed, he replies, "SpongeBob can get away with whatever he wants to. Me? I have to toe the line."

Other highlights for the week of Nov. 4-10 (all times EST; listings subject to change; check local listings:

MONDAY

-- "Witness" (9 p.m., HBO). The dangerous work of combat photographers is profiled in a four-part documentary. Part One, "Juarez," takes us to an area in Mexico with an extremely high murder rate.

-- "Dangerous Grounds" (10 p.m., Travel Channel). An adventurous coffee drinker goes around the world looking for rare beans to go in his perfect brew.

-- "Castle" (10 p.m., ABC). Castle and Beckett investigate a murder at a sci-fi convention. Actors from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Alphas," True Blood" and "Eureka" co-star.

TUESDAY

-- The election (all day and all night; various networks). The networks examine returns for the U.S. presidential and other contests.

WEDNESDAY

-- "Top Chef: Seattle" (10 p.m., Bravo). Twenty-one contestants compete for the culinary crown this season.

SATURDAY

-- "Wedding Band" (10 p.m., TBS). A band playing at weddings is the center of this new sitcom with Brian Austin Green.

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