Phil LaMarr sure pops up in a lot of places. John Travolta inadvertently shot him in the face in Pulp Fiction, he brought many memorable characters to life — remember Jack the hyperactive delivery guy? — as a member of the original cast of MADtv, and has been a mainstay in voice acting for many years. June is turning out to be a busy month for LaMarr, as a new season of Futurama, on which he voices Hermes, comes to Comedy Central June 20, and a brand new animated series, Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters. In it, he voices Gabe, a wallflower sidekick to the young hero Ray, who can control fantastical creatures from a parallel dimension. It premieres 8pm Saturday on The Hub.
The busy and personable LaMarr took some time to answer our “7 Questions”:
You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three magazines to buy. Which ones do you pick?
Sports Illustrated, Time and MAD.
Aside from Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters, if your DVR could only contain three shows, which ones would you want?
Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica and Get Smart. (Note: LaMarr is referring to the 2004-09 remake of Battlestar Galactica. Of the 1978-79 original, he says, “There are some things that don’t hold up. You don’t want to go back and see those hairstyles. [It] was not a fashion high point.”)
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
At DragonCon, there was one person who seemed to be stuck in a loop singing the Samurai Jack theme over and over for a good two minutes. I was trying to figure out if there was a way I could get my iPhone out and start videoing this without seeming rude. But finally her friend, who was also in an event costume, decided to say something. “Stop! You’re embarrasing me!” Which, it’s pretty hard to get embarrassed in that context.
When was the first/last time you were starstruck?
I was at a recording studio and Katee Sackhoff, who played Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, was going to be recording there. I literally sat around pretending to make calls and do errands for like an hour just so I could see her. And then once she got there, I was too embarrassed to ask for a picture. I said, “Hey,” and shook hands, and then left. After waiting an hour.
What are three things you must have in your fridge or pantry?
Apples, sandwich cookies and rice.
From a voice perspective, is it more difficult doing impressions, or coming up with a new character?
It depends on what you have to do with the voice. To do an impression of someone doing something that they don’t usually do is very difficult. Because all of a sudden, it doesn’t sound like that person. I did a show called Ozzy & Drix where I did a Chris Rock impression, and in the later episodes they had the character doing things that, had I actually been Chris Rock, I would have said (breaks out Chris Rock impression), “Nah, I don’t do that.” But, not being Chris Rock, I had to do it and they would say, “That doesn’t sound like him.” I said, “That’s because he doesn’t make that sound.” If he did, that’s exactly what it would sound like.
Have you ever thought what a prequel for your Pulp Fiction character would be like? We all want to see Marvin: The Untold Story.
(Laughs) I think it would be fairly dull. A bunch of college guys hanging out, and then making very bad decisions. “Hey, why don’t we take that briefcase?” “Dude, totally!” “Ha ha ha!” And then, you know how it ends. I always felt Marvin would not have the guts to look in the briefcase. I think Brett looked in it, and Marvin did not.
Photos: Courtesy of The Hub