Bob Bergen: The man behind Porky Pig
“That’s all folks!” This is one of the most famous quotes over the years. Every child who watches The Looney Tunes has heard Porky Pig ending the show.
But, who is the man behind the character? Bob Bergen always wanted to be Porky Pig and at the age of 14 he started taking voice-over classes. After different auditions he received the opportunity to do his dream job.
In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Bob Bergen spoke about the path to be Porky Pig, other characters in his career and the projects for this year.
How did you start imitating voices?
This was just something I enjoyed doing as a kid. I was always doing voices in school, or mimicking my teachers. I had a knack for it.
When you was a kid you said you wanted to be Porky Pig, how does it feel achieving that goal?
Pretty awesome! As a kid I had no idea what the odds were, or really what the business was all about. But I began my professional journey at the age of 14 when I started taking vo classes. But it was a matter of right place/right time. And, the ability to do Porky’s voice. At the time WB held their first auditions after Mel Blanc died, I was already represented and working in the business.
How did you get the opportunity to start imitating Porky’s voice?
Mel Blanc died in 1989, and, as I said, I already had an agent. She just got me an audition. After many callbacks WB hired me for my first Porky gig, which was Tiny Toon Adventures.
How is it like composing a character?
You mean creating a character from scratch? It’s the same process for any kind of acting. You need to find not just the voice, but also the personality and layers of the character. I don’t think it’s any different from developing a character for film or stage. You just don’t have as much time with animation. And you need to be able to both act and stay in character vocally.
After so many years of making Porky is there any change in the character?
Each writer or producer has their own stamp on the character. But so did those who originally produced Looney Tunes at WB in the old days. But basically he’s the same pig as he’s always been.
Which is your biggest challenge making Porky?
Don’t really have any. I know Porky as well as I know myself, after having voiced him professionally for 23 years and just working endlessly on his voice when I was growing up.
What can you tell us about The Looney Tunes Show? Is there anything different about doing the voice of Porky in the series?
It’s a very specific situation comedy. But all Looney Tunes shorts were situation comedies. The characters were often put into different situations. The difference in this show are the newer situations. In the old days, Porky didn’t have a cell phone because they didn’t exist. So for this show, we have to play the characters today. It’s not necessarily a challenge, just different and new.
Which other character do you like to make his voice? Why?
Honestly, every job I get the opportunity to do. I love voicing Luke Skywalker. I love doing anything for Disney and Pixar. I’ve been very fortunate in my career.
You study improv too, how did that help you with the voice-over?
Best training for any actor, no matter what kind of acting you want to do. Improv gets you out of your head and forces you to make choices. You cannot waiver on your choices. They have to be committed and specific. Improv helps in that.
Which is your project for this year?
Finishing up season 2 for Looney Tunes. I’m working on Monsters University, which is a prequel to Monsters, Inc. I’m also very active at The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. I serve on their board of governors. And, I teach animation vo in LA and all over the country. So, I’m a busy pig!