TV Article

The Voices Behind 'Cleveland'

In the recording studio: ''The Cleveland Show'' -- Meet the cast of Seth McFarlane's newest Fox comedy

Mike Henry (Cleveland/Rallo)
Getting into character: ''Cleveland is almost a second personality. I just drop right into him.'' For Rallo, he mentally replays a prank call he made in the same voice 20 years ago: '''Yeah, I got about a eight-foot boa constrictor and, uh, he ate something. My sister thinks it's my neighbor's cat. But I think it's my Nerf football. How can I tell which one it was?'''

Sanaa Lathan (Donna)
Inspiration for Donna: ''They wanted her to be educated, but to have some edge.''
Do any vocal first-aid?: ''No...it's not like I'm singing opera every night. She can have a little raspiness in her voice.''
Which is easier: film acting or voice acting?: ''Voice acting. You don't have to be in hair and makeup or worry that your belly is sticking out.''

Kevin Michael Richardson (Cleveland Jr./Lester)
Story behind Cleveland Jr.: ''There was a character I did on ER named Patrick who was mentally impaired and wore a football helmet. Cleveland Jr. sounds a lot like him.''
Getting into character for Lester: ''He really isn't too difficult to do. Being African-American, I've run into a few rednecks in my time.''

Reagan Gomez-Preston (Roberta)
Inspiration for Roberta: ''Her voice is my voice. I'm 29, but I get confused for a 15-year-old all the time. People call and ask for my mother.''
Does she ever annoy you?: ''All the time. Particularly with her boyfriend, Federline Jones, played by Jamie Kennedy. It's so cute and so annoying at the same time.''

Seth MacFarlane (Tim the bear)
Biggest similarity between him and Tim: ''We both sneak outside to smoke.''
Biggest difference: ''I s--- in a toilet.''
Story behind Tim's unusual voice:
''When I was a kid, my father used to do this half-assed Steve Martin impression — a Wild and Crazy Guy impression — but he wasn't very good at it. That's kind of what Tim's voice is.''

Originally posted Oct 02, 2009 Published in issue #1069-1070 Oct 09, 2009 Order article reprints