Mike Henry, the voice of Cleveland Brown, Herbert the old man and Greased-up deaf guy on “Family Guy,” spoke to students about his career and the future of the show.
Henry, also a writer and producer for “Family Guy,” previewed never before seen clips of the hit animated television series to a packed crowd at the University Student Union’s Grand Salon on Wednesday night.
Henry kept the audience laughing with his numerous anecdotes spanning from the beginning of his career to his present work on “Family Guy,” often told in the voice of one of the show’s characters.
The key to comedy is to “imitate somebody and say things they would never say,” Henry said.
“Family Guy” is an animated series that follows an American family living in Quahog, R.I. through their day-to-day lives.
Each episode invariably has an outrageous story line, which serves as a rough guide for myriad cutaway scenes of unrelated antics.
Henry addressed the jab “South Park” took at “Family Guy,” in which the other animated show parodied the often random and non-linear scenes in “Family Guy.”
“We’re really just trying to be funny ? we don’t care if our jokes have anything to do with the story. We dish it out, we can take it,” Henry said.
“The cool thing about our show is that there’s no politics ? we don’t worry too much about censors,” Henry added.
Henry said the sitcom would soon air its version of the first three episodes of “Star Wars.” The first episode will air this fall and the remaining two next season.
Among the characters to be featured in the episodes are Peter Griffin, the show’s overweight lead character, who will play Han Solo; Lois Griffin, his wife, who will depict Princess Leia; and Brian Griffin, the well-spoken family dog, who will portray Chewbacca.
“Lucas Films was completely on board, they let us use all the music and some of their (special) effects,” Henry said.
“Family Guy” debuted on Fox in 1999 but was canceled by the network after three seasons.
Fox brought the series back after record-setting DVD sales and high ratings on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
“They were expected to sell 100,000 DVD box sets and they sold three million in the first three months,” Henry continued.
Originally from Richmond, Va., Henry worked a series of jobs before moving to Los Angeles to pursue comedy.
He worked in advertising, which he left due to its rigidity and lack of creative freedom.
“That’s where ‘Family Guy’ comes from. It’s 14 angry people who hate this stupid shit,” Henry said.
Henry showed clips of his early work which showed traces of his voice work on “Family Guy.”
A question-and-answer session was held with Henry after he spoke, which mainly dealt with the topic of future and past “Family Guy” story lines.
Program Council member Stacy Rosenfeld said the University Student Union Program Council sponsored the event.
“It was great! It was cool!” student Julie Snitzer said of the event.