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Dragon*Con: Billy West Interview

By David Schick

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The Collegian sat down with voice actor Billy West this year at Dragon*Con.
West is most known for his work on Futurama, where he portrays the roles of Phillip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan.

Schick: What made you want to get into voice acting?

West: It’s one of those things that you don’t choose. It chose me. Whatever was going on I had to go with that. I had nothing to say about it … Even though there was no outlet, no place to do it, I didn’t care.

S: What was the most difficult voice you had to do?

W: I got the assignment to do Popeye for FOX 3D, CGI Popeye cartoon, and it was called “The Quest for Pappy: Popeye’s Voyage,” and that was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Because it was like a buzz saw, it was killing me. I was up in Vancouver for three days screaming and yelling.

S: How much of Futurama is adlibbing? Do you follow the script exactly?

W: Yes. You have to honor the writer’s work. They work really hard to craft those lines and those jokes and you’ve got to honor that. However, they’re cool enough to ask, “Have you got any ideas?” If they see you’re twitchy and you want to try something, they’re more than happy to let you try something and sometimes it stays.

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