Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche on Animaniacs

Pinky and the Brain in Animaniac: Season 2, Episode 1. Courtesy of Amblin Television/Warner Bros. Animation.

Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, who star as Yakko Warner/Pinky and the Brain, respectively, spoke about the new Animaniacs season,

The new season, which premieres November 5 on Hulu, is a lot of fun if the five press screeners were any indication. I have to say that as a student of comedy, I loved the scratched Pinky and the Brain pilot episodes. They are so fun to watch. If you’re a fan of the classics, you’ll love this particular bit as much as I do. There’s a lot of other fun to be had in the other Animaniacs episodes I watched. One ought to serve as a warning for why you should never open let alone click the links in spam mail.

Animaniacs Season 2
Animaniacs: Season 2 key artwork. Courtesy of Amblin Television/Warner Bros. Animation.

Rob, it’s good to see you again.

Rob Paulsen: Pleasure, Danielle.

How excited are you all for the fans to watch the second rebooted season of Animaniacs?

Rob Paulsen: I don’t know. Brain says he’s not excited at all. (As Pinky:) I’m very excited.

Maurice LaMarche: (As Brain:) I’m just waiting for the humor that we’ve accumulated over the years to kick in all at once—all the subliminal messages that we loaded into every episode to make everybody brain dead and therefore easily taken over. Yes.

Rob Paulsen: Well said, Brain. Easily said.

Maurice LaMarche: I don’t—like you say, I don’t write them. I don’t draw them. Unless I’ve got a great writer feeding me lines, I don’t speak them too well.

Rob Paulsen: It really is difficult to quantify. Neither of us, well, I take it back. I’ve been involved with a reboot of Ninja Turtles and Moe’s been involved with several different iterations of Futurama and other shows in which he’s had the good fortune of working. But it’s pretty unusual to have something that has been a really big hit and then had a break for 25 years, Danielle. And then to come back again and people who are your age, who are now critics and consumers, you guys are the ones going thumbs up or thumbs down. Most of you say thumbs up, that is very unusual. So, as far as I’m concerned, everything now is gravy because the first season was a hit. I mean, the first new season last year. All of this is just glorious. We have not seen what you’ve seen, by the way, I have not seen those five episodes. I’m glad that they make you smile.

Maurice LaMarche: We were in them but we haven’t seen them. I’ll just add that—to be gone from the airwaves and yet never truly having been gone, and then getting to reacquaint ourselves with these characters, it’s like two people who were in love in high school and then they went off and married other people. And then those marriages didn’t work out and they get to come together again and be who they were meant to be always, that’s my analogy.

Rob Paulsen: (As Pinky:) My eyes adored you Brain though I never laid a hand on me.

Maurice LaMarche: (As Brain:) I never laid a hand on you, Pinky.

Rob Paulsen: (As Pinky:) Except to butt me in the head.

Maurice LaMarche: (As Brain:) Well, yes, but I did use a pencil. Anyway, it’s really been great. It’s just been a dream come true to be these characters again.

When it came to recording lines for season for the rebooted second season two of Animaniacs, did you record lines before the pandemic? Or was it a makeshift studio from home?

Maurice LaMarche: I can’t remember exactly at which point we started on season two. I think we got a couple of episodes in—

Rob Paulsen: We did.

Maurice LaMarche: Pre-pandemic. And then all of a sudden, it was like, guys, you’ve got to get home studios together and that’s where I’m talking to you from right now.

Rob Paulsen: Yeah.

Maurice LaMarche: This is a Neumann TLM 103 and we turned one of our rooms into a studio.

Rob Paulsen: I think we both have friends who do live-action stuff and that was kiboshed to the bone as it was an act of G-d, force majeure, there was no do-re-mi for those people. I don’t think we missed—

Maurice LaMarche: We barely missed but maybe a couple of weeks just to get your home studio together, we’ve got to keep it going.

Rob Paulsen: They even provided us with our own equipment. They sent a microphone home and stuff.

Maurice LaMarche: Barely a blip.

Rob Paulsen: We really were so incredibly fortunate. There will be episodes of Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs that you guys will see that have sort of merged bits and pieces of things that were recorded from home. I always would prefer to be in the studio with Maurice, Tress, Jess, Wellesley, Gabe, and Sarah and everybody else. But under the circumstances, if you can still work—all the animators got to work, all the writers got to work.

Maurice LaMarche: All from home.

Rob Paulsen: All from home.

Maurice LaMarche: All they needed their laptops or their iPads. There are some wonderful games for iPads. I would say though that we did them on Zoom. And as long as I can hear Rob, I know exactly what level of irritation to put into Brain’s performance, but they’ve been a couple where I just had to imagine what Rob would do and I wanted to make that into a bumper sticker: What would Rob Paulsen do?

Rob Paulsen: There you go. Thank you.

Maurice LaMarche: I’m interested to see how those—if they stand out as Oh, no, I was off the mark because we feed off of each other so much in the show, it really is a gift and take between our two characters between us as actors that as soon as it was possible to have COVID safe studios, they had us in where we could be in different rooms but still see each other through a window so we could play to each other.

I have to say that I loved the classic sitcom spoofs.

Maurice LaMarche: Yes. That’s a clever episode, isn’t it?


Rob Paulsen: Great. That means a lot, especially coming from a TV person or a movie person. Your job is to be up on this stuff and your job is to have all these hip cultural references in your head. If we are able to tick that box, what means a lot coming from you, Danielle. Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Rob Paulsen: Pleasure. Nice to see you again. I guess I reckon I’ll see you in a couple of weeks again.

Not that I know of.

Rob Paulsen: Alright, me either.

I’m not going to Fan Expo.

Rob Paulsen: Alright, I’ll look forward to seeing you at the next one.

Hulu launches Animaniacs: Season 2 on November 5, 2021.

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.