If you don’t know who Chris Parnell is then it’s obvious that you haven’t watched Saturday Night Live, or much TV at all in fact. He’s been a part of film and TV for quite a while now and has had a full schedule for just about as long. Throughout all his live action performances he’s been great and mostly hilarious but it’s his voice that a lot of people don’t realize has been used for many a role on TV and in films. When you look at his resume it reads for at least a couple pages just detailing his acting roles but the voice acting he’s done is still impressive since there are more than a few shows that he’s lent his voice to.
Voice acting is something that a lot of people would consider as something less than acting but good enough to be enjoyed. In truth voice acting is just as difficult if not more so since the actors have to be watching for their cues continually and have to match their voice to what they see on the screen pretty much exactly. Many voice actors don’t even work with each other when it comes to dubbing the voices for said animations and have to rely on other cues that are taken in order to get everything right. Plus the inflections, the tone, and everything else that goes into the voice has to be right so that it will work with what’s already there. If enough people really thought about what goes into voice acting they probably wouldn’t scoff at it so much considering that it takes a lot of work and a lot of expertise. Chris Parnell however has proven many times now that he’s up to the challenge and more than that, he can nail it pretty much dead on no matter what part he has to play.
Plus think of this, a voice actor actually has to come up with the right type of voice for the part they’re trying to play. A good example of this would be the explanation that was given by John Leguizamo for his role of Sid in Ice Age. He had to think over and over what this character was going to sound like and what kind of mannerisms he was going to have before he could decide on how to play him. Voice actors go through a range of different voice, adjusting the tone, the timbre, the sound, and the inflections in order to get it right. By the time they finally have the voice they want they’ve likely been through so many different variations that it’s fair to say that they might as well have created a dozen or more hypothetical characters.
Chris Parnell has lent his voice to some very popular shows such as Bojack Horseman, Archer, Samurai Jack, Elena of Avalor, Bob’s Burgers, Sofia the First, The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, and many others. The fact that he’s able to do all these different voices kind of proves that he has his stuff together and that his mind is a veritable maze of different sounds and acts that he can pull together at a moments notice in order to come up with something special and unique. Just to think that he can put together a character based on the information that’s given to him is something great since a lot of us might look at the people asking us to do this and go ‘huh?’. Admit it, trying to come up with a unique-sounding voice is something a little daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. The average person will tend to fall back on a funny or interesting voice they’ve heard in the past and will possibly try to use it in their own way to create something that is or isn’t all their own.
Now think about voice actors like Parnell. They’ve been doing stuff like this for so long that there’s no doubt that they could whip up a voice based just on a few characteristics of a character and make it sound completely genuine without much trouble. Granted, he would probably need at least a detailed description of what the character is like to really get it nailed down where it’s believable, but the idea is that he’s been doing this for long enough that it wouldn’t take him as much effort to create a character based on the bare bones of a character. That’s how talented this guy is and the fact is that his voice has been heard in so many shows and movies that he’ll likely be remembered for his voice just as much as for his live action roles. Of course this is speaking from the vantage point of someone that’s watched him in numerous live action roles and listened to his voice in many a TV show.