Phillip "Phil" LaMarr is an American actor, voice actor, comedian and impressionist. He was one of the original cast members on the sketch comedy series MADtv, and has had an extensive voice acting career, with major roles spanning animated series Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Futurama, Samurai Jack, Static Shock, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Ozzy & Drix, Family Guy, and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
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Was supposed to do this like an hour ago. But we've been having fun on Periscope! https://mobile.twitter.com/phillamarr/status/845826625925189632 http://i.imgur.com/re12alq.jpg
How hard was it to convince you to come back to voice Jack? I can imagine it wasnt hard, but out of all the characters you have voiced, is Jack your favorite? You know, aside from Hermes Conrad.
It wasn't even a question. I jumped at the chance
Hey everybody, I'm sorry but I've got to get to bed. Please upvote the best questions (NOT what my favorite episode is - I don't have one) and I'll try to answer more tomorrow.
Thank you all for posting and for watching.
Glad to have you here, Mr. LaMarr. How did you handle having to voice Jack for the darker tone shift for the series? Just 3 episodes in and there's a lot of intense emotion.
The biggest challenge is holding on to some element of who Jack used to be in spite of everything he's gone through and is dealing with
When Aku takes over our planet, we can count on you to fight him... right?
Me and my army of animators and writers
Now that you're back as Jack, is there any other character that you have done that you would like to return to? Follow-up, why is your answer Static?
Ha! I'd love to, if they'd have me back. I really related to the character of Virgil
Without giving away any spoilers about the rest of the season, do you think we will all be satisfied with the ending that we've been waiting for for over a decade??
You can never satisfy everyone but I, for one, felt resolved
First off, I just want to thank you for your role in creating one of the most influential staples of my childhood.
Now, for my question.
In what way has Jack's character and moral code stuck with you, and affected your way of thinking the most?
I think its effect has been mostly as an example of how to be an upstander and aim for what's right even when it seems difficult
Mr LaMarr I just wanted to say that I've always been impressed by your contributions to every project I've seen you in. You carried your MadTV episodes and made Jon Stewart a highlight of Justice League.
I'd like to know what vocal tips you can give to a baritone. I don't want to voice act, but I have a solid voice and I can't think of anyone I'd rather ask for advice on how to make it work for me.
If you don't want to act, what do you need tips about?
What did you like the best about the original run of Samurai Jack?
The storytelling. The fact that there was no other cartoon anything like it
My question is: Has your favorite Samurai Jack moment out of season 5 aired yet? Thanks babe.
Not yet, my man
Who would win a fight between Samurai Jack (w/ sword) and Green Lantern?
Ooh, I feel like Jack could beat most anyone but unless the sword could cut through ring constructs, I think John might have the edge
Hi Mr. LaMarr! Did you use any influences for Jack's voice that you would like to share? How has working for Adult swim/ CN been?
I worked for a while with a predominantly Japanese comedy group called "Cold Tofu" and I noticed that there were certain speech patterns shared by English-speakers who had been raised by Japanese-speaking parents. Knowing that the character was not intended to be heavily accented, I worked to incorporate some of the elements I had noticed among my friends into Jack
How do you feel about aku's new voice actor? Do you like the new voice or would you rather have somebody else take a shot at voicing aku?
I think Greg (Baldwin) is great. He had a REALLY hard job, stepping into Mako's roles, and has done great.
I'm hoping The Success of Samurai Jack will spawn other Continuations. Examples, Teen Titans,Sym Bonic Titans, Galactic Kids Next Door to name a few.
That would be great
how often do people recognize your voice?
Not often, my face occasionally
How often do people know you you as Marvin, the guy from Pulp Fiction whose brains have to be cleaned up at Quentin Tarantino's house?
It depends on how old they are
What was the most difficult episode to record?
There was a really emotional episode and I had to record for a video game right before hand and those are murder on your throat so I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to do what I needed to do vocally for Jack but thankfully it turned out okay.
How do you think Jack would react to waking up in the year 3000 where Futurama takes place?
PS: Thanks for the AMA and your awesome work!
I think he would be pretty horrified and even more when he realized it was that bad WITHOUT Aku!
Hey phil, ive sent you a DM on how to crosspost this over on /r/IAMA. if you want more exposure that would be a great thing to do. I've gone ahead and crossposted this to/r/television though, and made it an announcement.
Also, glad to know you love Jack just as much as the rest of us.
I think I have more Qs than I can handle already, but thank you
If you could talk to Jack what would you say to him?
"It gets better."
I just want to say i love you
I know you probably can't tell us specifics, but what was your favorite scene to record for in season 5? (If it hasn't happened already, what episode?)
Trust me, you don't want it spoiled
how's Injustice 2 going? if only Samurai Jack was a guest character....
Wouldn't that be great? I haven't done any recording on it since the strike.
Thanks for doing this and so glad Samurai Jack is back! Do you miss MadTV at all?
I miss some of the people but fortunately I get to see quite a few of them every now and again
What are some of the funniest moments you've had with the rest of the Samurai Jack cast and crew?
Also, thank you for all your hard work!
In the original run, probably watching folks guest starring on the show like John Dimaggio as the Scotsman have all of these tons of lines, then just say my two and be done.
Not a question more of a story:
13 years ago while my brother was being born I was in a different room flipping through channels and in my child brain of mine fell upon samurai jack. It's the first memory I have of anything and me and my dad watched every episode since that first one I watched. I'm 17 now and here we are me, my dad, and now my brother watching this new season. Thank you for that you've had an absurd amount of influence on me along with everyone else who has worked on this show.
And I can't help myself does Jack ever get his classic outfit back?
I love you. I want to see Hermes and Jack eat some manwiches together!
My question is, How do you maintain your voice to keep it 100% perfect and exactly the same as 13 years ago. The sounds of the show have always been awesome, but your voice really adds the beautiful last touch.
I think it's actually a little bit... fuller than it was originally but it fits with the what he's undergone. I tried to take some of it out to voice the older imaginary version of Jack
What was Mako like in person? And what were your favorite memories when working with him?
Mako was always so easygoing and professional. He was so good in so many different kinds of performance, I definitely learned from watching how he approached the work.
I know everyone wants to ask about Samuari Jack, but, are there any interesting or fun stories you can share about your time working on the new TMNT series? It's a seriously amazing show and everyone should watch it.
Thanks in advance Bexter Storkman.
It's BAXTER STOCKMAN! It's always so much fun to record with those guys Seth, Rob and Greg were already friends but getting to know Sean has been great. but the best was when Ciro Nieli showed me some of the behind the scenes design work.
I trust you! Thanks for all your awesome work on SJ and also on Futurama. It's lame but that show got me through some tough times
What's lame? The show or having it help you? I disagree with both/either
Favorite people you've worked with?
In no particular order: Frank Welker, George Carlin, Samuel L Jackson, Genndy Tartakovsky, Jason Reitman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Adam Arkin, Martha Plimpton, Steven Weber, David Herman, Dee Bradley Baker, Carol Burnett, Quentin Tarantino, Natalie Portman,
As someone who considers this my personal favorite cartoon of all time as well as character, I wanted to take this chance to say thank you and to everyone involved in the show!
I've always wondered... how much do you relate to Samurai Jack and what goes through your mind when you become this character and deliver his lines?
Honestly, his circumstances are so wildly different that I don't relate much directly but the emotions behind what he's doing and saying, especially this season, I feel come from a deeply personal place for me.
Mr Lamarr, when reading off your lines, were there points were you'd react like "woah that's insane!"?
Most of the insane stuff is visual so we don't really get a sense of it until the animation is done
Are you still answering questions?
We'll probably not see something like it for a while... or ever... but... Samurai Jack videogame when?
Hm. Not sure how you could capture what's special about the show in a game format
What's the biggest difference between doing the first seasons to doing this last season? How much has changed in ~~50~~ 13 years?
Well, I think we can all agree, Jack's emotional state is the biggest difference
How crazy was that episode just now, am I right?!
Fantastic battles are what this show is made of!
Just started watching the show! Loved it so much that I am going to view them from the beginning! Thank you lending for your incredible voice talent on the show. It's definitely Art like you said !
I'm glad you liked it. Just know that the early seasons have a very different tone and style from the new ones, Enjoy!
Howabout Samurai Jack vs Vamp?
I think Jack's got him
The line before The battle was pure epicness , wouldn't you agree?
What was it like filming the car scene in Pulp Fiction? Was the blood really strawberry jam? I'm asking for a friend. It's totally not something that I have been wondering about since I first saw the movie...
Not sure exactly what it was but it was definitely not strawberry jam. Somebody go ask Greg Nicotero!
Hey Phil! Big fan! I've got a very generic question, I just wanted to know what your favourite episode of Samurai Jack is?
Don't really have a single favorite
How often do you reckon Samurai Jack actually bathes? He's always walking around and I imagine he gets pretty sweaty
Thankfully, it seems Aku's world has lots of potable water in rivers and streams
Are you happy with the direction the show is going? I know i am!
Yes! Wait till you see the next couple of episodes
How did Genndy choose you to voice Jack?
You gotta ask him
Has anyone in public asked you to say lines from the show?
Only at conventions
Mr. Phil Lamar, I always wondered this did you actually go to the recording studio for episodes where jack had no lines? Did you see those episodes get made or where you completely unaware of them?
I did not go in. I just realized that I'm not credited in all of the episodes of the original seasons, although I'm pretty sure Jack is in all of them. So I guess he did a couple without me!
Phil the Season so far has been amazing and you guys really are making it a grand finale, has there been any difference for you working for Adult Swim as opposed to Cartoon Network?
Also, which role are you recognized the most as by fans?
No. I deal with Genndy. Genndy deals with the network
Hey Phil, when did Adult Swim reach out to you for Season 5?
After they announced it
How did you get the opportunity to voice jack in the beginning and how did you feel about the job?
I auditioned alongside a lot of other actors. I was happy to be working but when I saw the test animation that Genndy had created I got really psyched
Do you think the success of Samurai Jack can spawn other Continuations?
I think continuations are already a thing (companies like the idea of selling people something that they already know) I hope that this helps raise the quality of them
If I remember correctly there was voice actors on strike over not getting paid enough for their work.
The actors union asked the video game companies earning literally billions to consider sharing the wealth when a game hits it big, they wouldn't even consider it. So we had to go on strike against EA, Activision and 9 other companies. Fortunately, since then many other companies have decided the proposal is reasonable and have signed up a lot of games to the new contracts.
If you could dictate how the episodes would be scored, what artist or musician would you pick to make the music for the show?
I would call Genndy and say "If you could dictate how the episodes would be scored, what artist or musician would you pick to make the music for the show?"
Hi Phil, do you have any fond memories of Mako during recording of the original seasons? Also, if I'm not mistaken I believe voice acting for Aku has been turned over to Greg Baldwin, who voiced Iroh after Mako's passing. Do you find Greg's work to be a fitting tribute?
Mako was always so easygoing and professional. He was so good in so many different kinds of performance, I definitely learned from watching how he approached the work.
I think Greg is doing a great job.
Have you seen the ending to Samurai jack? Or do you have to wait like the rest of us
I know what happens but I have not seen it. which with a show like this that is so visual, makes me feel like it's still to come.
Some of us can imagine how hard it might be to get back into doing a voice you haven't done in over a decade. Some voice actors can't even go back after that long.
What steps did you take to nail it just as perfectly as you did all those years ago?
Also, do you help write at all for the show? Or do you do voice work exclusively?
It was less about finding the voice again than about recapturing an attitude and a feeling.
No, I do no writing. They're great, they do not need my help
How many upcoming voice roles do you have? Any you can say that doesn't break NDA?
Most of the NDAs are about video games but TV I've got stuff on BUNSEN IS A BEAST, Mighty Magiswords, American Dad, DC Girls, Lion Guard, and a cool adult show called Tarantula
Just wanted to say thank you for doing this and giving life to so so many characters for us through the years.
What does it mean to you whenever someone tells you how much a character you portrayed means to them?
One more if I may, how do you create such a wide variety of voices when you see a character? (It blows my mind that you also voiced Bolbi in Jimmy Neutron)
It's nice. Because we are so removed from the audience, especially with animation. It's a nice feeling to be reminded that this work has a positive impact on people.
I just go wherever the script takes me
How great was it to voice so many different influential characters (Static Shock) back in the day and come back to voice Jack again? Is there any other animated role that you would take up for a new season?
ALL OF THEM!
How is it like voicing the different facets of Jack especially when his mind is literally fighting himself?
It's a really invigorating challenge. What does his voice sound like in his head? How different is it from his actual speaking voice? These are questions I ask myself and occasionally Genndy.
Do you prank people with your voices?
It never occurs to me
Did you finish it all up before that? They haven't replaced you have they?
I don't know
What's your favorite episode of Samurai Jack?
Edit: someone else asked this first.
So my question is, what is your favorite part of being apart of Samurai Jack?
And how have you reacted to the (seemingly) overwhelming support of its return?
What I love most is that I think the show has something for everyone to appreciate. The music, the design, the morality, the action, the humor, the epic storytelling.
The support is great, mostly because I think these episodes are astounding and I'm looking forward to people getting to see them
Aaaaaaaah, I want to so badly ask about the previous ominous comment you made about Scaramouch but I guess that would be consider a spoiler? Really wish he was back.
Wish in one hand, hold your remote in the other...
What's the hardest part of voice acting on a show like Samurai Jack
Having to leave the studio. You want to stay and do more, but there's no more acting to be done
Without spoilers, would you say you have some funny lines in future episodes?
I don't know if humor that's coming up is in the dialogue as much as the situations
Since it's been so long since you started, how difficult was it to return to portraying Jack, accent and all?
Even though the show hasn't been on, the fans have definitely kept it in the forefront of my mind. So it felt natural to come back to it
Mate you are a legend! You have had and continue to have such a successful voice acting career! My question for you is, what keeps you motivated?
My mortgage -- and good scripts
Hi Phil! Long-time fan throughout your vast career. I've always wondered, does it feel strange being cast to voice white characters? Does it ever feel like... regression, given that atypical black roles are finally becoming more common? No judgement here, just wondering how you feel about it?
A person's voice has no color. A voice has many things - culture, history, attitude - what it doesn't have is a race. It feels no stranger to play a white character than an alien, or a bird, a rapper or a person from a different country. Unless I'm playing the part of an African-American voice actor from California who is standing in a recording booth, I'm always going to be interpreting a character.
Is Jack among your favorites among the characters you've voiced?
Definitely. The show is so great, how could it not be? Up there with being part of Star Wars, the DC & Marvel Universes, Futurama. My favorite shows to work on are the really good ones.
How was it different getting into the character of this new Jack compared to the original series? You do an awesome job on all your roles!
This season has a lot more emotional ground to cover. Thank you!
How many hours do you work a week?
Work I get paid for? It varies wildly. A light week can be 4 hours. A busy voiceover week can be 16. If there's an on camera gig it can be 24 plus travel. But that doesn't count time spent preparing for and recording or driving to and from auditions
Wanted to start off by saying how much I love all of your work and how much range you have between your characters like comparing Vamp, Samurai Jack, Green Lantern and a character like Ratbag and it's hard to hear much crossover at all.
Are heroes or villains more fun to play, or is it something in-between?
Is there a role you didn't think you would like but over the process of recording ended up really enjoying it?
What's a franchise you would like to do work for but haven't had the opportunity yet?
It depends. When heroes are given juicy stuff to play, like John Stewart in JL or Jack this season, it's better than any villain. But a lot of times, the villains are written flashier.
I'm always happy to be working
I'd like to appear in the DC or Marvel on camera universes
How do you feel about the new direction the show is heading in?
I love it
Has anyone ever thought you kinda look like a fitter, non-dreadlocked Hermes?
No one who can tell Black people apart, no
This is the first season I've watched live, and I did it on a whim, really. I watched season one on the Net, and I think I'm going to watch the rest all day tomorrow. I just want to say that you've done a great job as a VA, and I also love your work on Futurama, Pulp Fiction, etc
Can you tell us anything about the cancelled Samurai Jack movie?
Nope. I don't think they ever even had a full script, so they definitely never even thought about calling any actors
Hi Phil, greetings from Argentina. First, thanks for being involved in a show that marked my infancy. My question is do you expected that great wait from the fans of the show? And also, are you open to sign autographs?
You're welcome. I don't think anyone expected it to take this long but I think we're all happy that Genndy took the time to do it right. I sign autographs at conventions and by mail through a company called Echo Base Media http://www.echobasemedia.com/plrequestpage.html
How is doing a show like Samurai Jack different from normal voice work? Given how little dialogue for the lead character there is in a typical episode does it make you change the way you approach it?
No. It's less about the amount of lines and more what the lines require of you in terms of emotion or understanding
How did you come up with the voice for Jack?
Working with input from Genndy, we adjusted back and forth until we hit on something that he felt fit with what he was creating
Hey Phil! So quick question. Do you feel like Jack has more dialogue this season compared to other seasons? Just from two episodes it seems that way. Going from when Jack was basically mute through season 1 and 2 except for a select few lines.
Actually, a pretty long question but you went ahead and answered it yourself, so I'm just going to stay out of it
Will there ever be an Osmosis Jones/Ozzy & Drix follow-up?
I don't know. I'm not sure it did well enough
Dude, thank you for everything you've done. Ever since I watched you on Mad TV and connected the dots to all the voice acting you have done throughout your career, I truly can credit you to so much entertainment you have given me through the years. Pulp Fiction as well man, damn. You are a legend in my books and all I want to do is thank you for it all!
Thanks for watching!
Thank you so much for all of these years of playing as our favorite Samurai! I remember when I was younger and the pilot movie was shown. But I have to ask, how could someone or practically anyone get into voice acting in general?
Also is there any other works that you are in (besides voice acting)?
It's not something just anyone can do. It requires the ability to act, to be able to read words off a page without sounding like it (not as easy as it sounds, try it), and the temperament to live a life without any sense of constancy or financial stability.
And since your Google appears to be broken: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0482851/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Love all the work you've been doing, mad respect for you! How different, if at all, does it feel to be playing Jack now as opposed to during the earlier seasons of the show?
Playing the character is the same, but what we're doing with him is totally different.
I remember in the past seeing interviews with you where you discuss reading comics. Are you currently reading anything and if so what? Or at least which are your favorites currently?
I love Lazarus. Just picked up Rat Queens, which I like. Criminal, Saga, Walking Dead, Red Sonja, Clean Room, Black Magic, Autumnlands & Unstoppable Wasp
Phil LaMarr, when are you going to knock on Netflix's pretty open door, and grab yourself a comedy hour?
I don't do stand up. If they start doing improv hours maybe we'll get theblackversion.com on there