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Entries in Randy Pearlstein (2)

Wednesday
Mar172010

INSIDE WITH: MATT OBERG & RANDY PEARLSTEIN, FEATURED VOICES ON UGLY AMERICANS

Leonard Powers (voiced by Randy Pearlstein) and Mark Lilly (voiced by Matt Oberg) | Image courtesy of Comedy Central

It may be St. Patty's Day today, but tonight is the premiere of Ugly Americans (Comedy Central, 10:30PM / 9:30C). To commemorate this animated homage to the multicolored, splotchy and well-worn fabric that is The U.S. of A., we spoke to the guys who voice two of the main characters on the show: Matt Oberg (Mark Lilly, a social worker at the "Department of Integration,") and Randy Pearlstein (Leonard Powers, an aging, drunken wizard). When they're not speaking into microphones, Oberg and Pearlstein can be seen improvising every Wednesday at The Peoples Improv Theater.

Let's go left to right here. Who is Leonard on Ugly Americans?
Randy Pearlstein: Leonard is the senior member of the cast. He is the Ed Asner, the Lou Grant. He's the guy who's been around for 700 years, so everything is just as cool as a cucumber to him. Meanwhile, the young kids are racing around, nervous, anxious -- he plays it cool. He's the grounded member of the cast -- the Fonzie, if I may.

And Mark Lilly?
Matt Oberg: Mark Lilly, to keep with the Happy Days, is the -- Opie? What was his name on the show?
RP: Richie. I know you have seasons one through five on DVD. That was for charm purposes.
MO: I'm playing it cool. But, yes, Mark is the Richie Cunningham of the show. With a little bit of the Chachi. He's the one guy who's not a creature, has no powers, is a human, and he's a social worker who's sort of the reason all of these aliens are in the same room.
RP: He's the heart of the show.

From what I can tell Lilly is the character who keeps finding himself in the eye of the storm.
MO: In the auditions, I remember we'd get in the sound booth -- a whole bunch of us, Randy, Kurt Metzger, and Pete Holmes. And those guys would just start slinging gags around. And then I would just read the next line. And that got me the job. So, yeah, Mark Lilly is kind of the straight man.

And as the straight man, or Voice of Reason, did you not get to sling gags around?
MO:
I don't want to get pigeonholed as the straight man, 'cause I'm a maniac. But I never really saw the sort of avenues to the improv. There was enough going on that I sort of thought it was time to bring it back home when I said the lines I say. So, really, what I do on the show is read aloud into a microphone.
RP: But some of the people who read for multiple characters on the show would tend to go pretty nuts. But then Matt would ground it quickly, whether with just a line or a bridge line to get it there. I remember during the  callbacks we'd be crammed in this little booth and then there'd be this pause and Matt would go, "Well, as we were saying..." and just nail it. Like a laserbeam!

So how did you find Leonard fitting into this puzzle?
RP: I like Leonard. Among all the craziness, I think he's a nice dude. He's a drug addict, a sex addict, and a party animal who's 700 years old, which is inherently funny, but he does care about Mark's character and living life like it's his last day on Earth. I'm not a frat guy, never was a frat guy. But through Leonard I get to be a frat guy.
MO: He's a 700-year-old sophomore in college.
RP: And he's magic. Anything he wants magically appears.

So how would you like the cable-subscribing portion of America to perceive the show?
MO: Perhaps it takes a show like this, which displays how ugly New York and America can be, to help us all realize how beautiful our nation has become.
RP: And in nature, some animals are considered ugly to our eyes -- the rats, the ferrets, the sloths. But  truly, they're all of equal value. And as you know, among the people in comedy, some of the least attractive people are the funniest and best to be around.

(beat)

Thanks, guys.

--Keith Huang

Wednesday
Nov182009

Ugly Americans Teaser Airs Tonight

Image via Animation Magazine

Alert comedy hivesman Soce the Elemental Wizard tipped us off today that Comedy Central will air a short preview of its newest animated series, Ugly Americans. The series is being executive produced by Dan Powell (The Colbert Report, Important Things With Demetri Martin) and David Stern (Monk, The Simpsons) and produced by Devin Clark. Animation is being handled by Augenblick Studios. The series is also a spin-off of comedycentral.com original web series, 5-On, and according to our pals over at CC Insider:

Ugly Americans is about a social worker who helps monsters adjust to living in New York and features the voices of Natasha Leggero, Matt Oberg, Randy Pearlstein, Mike Britt, Kurt Metzger, Rebekka Johnson, Pete Holmes, Julie Klausner, Larry Murphy and Michael Leon Wooley.

Why are we excited? Because we know and love all those voices! Ugly Americans won't air officially until March 2010, but get a quick fix tonight during South Park @ 10PM (EST). Here's the preview clip:

Ugly AmericansMarch 2010
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