Thomas James "Tom" Kenny (born July 13, 1962) is an American voice actor and comedian perhaps best known for his work in the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, in which he is the voice of the eponymous character among others. Aside from voice acting, Kenny starred in the short-lived Fox sketch show, The Edge and was a cast member of the HBO sketch comedy program, Mr. Show, where he worked with Jill Talley, whom he subsequently married. He also hosted the show Funday Night at the Movies on TCM in 2007, which encouraged kids to watch "old movies".
Kenny voices many characters in many productions, and in his own words "a lot of sweet, kind of stupid yellow characters for some reason" (which would explain Heffer, Dog, and SpongeBob). When he doesn't play those, Kenny usually plays comically serious, authoritative types (usually doctors, businessmen, and game show hosts).
Kenny played his first set of voice actor roles for Rocko's Modern Life. Joe Murray auditioned Kenny for voice acting roles for the series in a large casting call in Los Angeles, California, United States. On one occasion during the production, the producers required Kenny to fill the role of Charlie Adler, who was absent on that occasion. In addition, Kenny had to perform one song and learn how to play another song within ten minutes due to time constraints. Kenny achieved this goal. He said that this helped him believe that he could stand "toe to toe" with other voice actors.
Joe Murray chose Kenny for a voice acting position in Camp Lazlo because Murray, after seeing Kenny's previous work for Rocko's Modern Life, felt that Kenny "adds writing to his roles" and "brings so much".
He's been the announcer for Nickelodeon's annual Kids' Choice Awards for years; at the 2007 show he called himself the "Man of 1,000 Voices, all of them this one." He was featured as the Voice in a Box at the 2008 show, and at the 2009 show he claimed to be the only announcer who does all of his own stunts.
He and his wife, Jill Talley, played the couple in the music video for The Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight".
Starting in season 9B, Kenny became the voice director of SpongeBob.
Notable roles by Tom Kenny include:
- Binkie in Shakes the Clown
- Hideous Bunny in Ant-Man
- Himself in I Know That Voice
- Rabbit in the 2011 Winnie-the-Pooh movie
- Skids and Wheelie in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (many of his lines were improvised)
- The Penguin in Batman Ninja
- The Robot in Superman: Doomsday
- Reprised the roles of SpongeBob and Gary for both theatrical films based on the show
- Ed Vartis in The Boxtrolls
- Rob Holdout in Lego Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash
- The Penguin and Plastic Man in Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Lego DC Comics Super Heroes
- Grace's father and others in Twinkle Toes
- Various roles in Mr. Show.
- Tux in Out of Jimmy's Head
- Uncle Howee, a loud, energetic kids' show host with a rabbit sidekick named Loomis (whom Kenny also voiced) and possible reality-warping powers, on the Haunting Hour episode "Uncle Howee".
- The announcer voice on "Weird Al" Yankovic's "TMZ."
- He and his wife Jill Talley are the married couple in The Smashing Pumpkins video for "Tonight, Tonight."
- Spyro and several NPCs in Ripto's Rage!, Year of the Dragon, and Enter the Dragonfly. He returned as Spyro in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy as well.
- The Ratnicians and various NPCs in Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind Over Mutant.
- Bosh in Line Rider 2: Unbound.
- Reprises the role of SpongeBob and Gary in most video games based on the show.
- Maury in Gotham Girls
- Sunny Jim (Ep. 3-5), MBA Members, Major Snake, Snake, Stumpy and Sniff in Lobo Webseries
- A Temp. Agent and a ladybug in Bee and Puppycat
- ARF on Puppy Dog Pals
- Asok and Ratbert in the Dilbert cartoon
- Bella in Wacky Races (2017)
- Bo Monkey, Champ Von Champ Von Winnerchamp and others in Fresh Beat Band Of Spies
- Boo-Boo, Elroy Jetson and Top Cat in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
- Brick Jackson in Sym-Bionic Titan
- Bullwinkle in a 2014 Rocky and Bullwinkle short from Dreamworks Animation
- Buzz Harris in As Told by Ginger
- Carl Chryniszzswics and others in Johnny Bravo
- Chief Randall Crawford in Paradise PD
- Copbot, Tall Nanobot and others in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
- Crunchy in Dan VS
- Cupid in The Fairly OddParents!
- Danel Rocka, Evo and Jetbug in Hero Factory
- Dog and Cliff in CatDog
- Ed in Brandy & Mr. Whiskers
- Eduardo in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
- Eddie Lawrence III from Class of 3000
- Flain, Seismo, Teslo, Berp, Tungster, Booger, Screeno, Mysto, and Blip in Mixels
- Fixit and The Amazing Mumbo from Teen Titans
- Guapo Flub in The Brothers Flub
- Mr. Hal Gibson in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go
- Harry in Stanley
- Heffer Wolfe (and assorted others) in Rocko's Modern Life
- The Ice King/Magic Man/Gunther in Adventure Time
- Impossible Man and Whirlwind in Avengers, Assemble!
- Iron Man, Captain America, and M.O.D.O.K. in The Super Hero Squad Show
- Prof. Isaac Sumdac, Wasp, Starscream, and his clones in Transformers Animated
- Jake Spidermonkey, Henry Armadillo, and others in My Gym Partner's a Monkey
- Mr. Jellybean, Million Ants, Squanchy and others in Rick and Morty
- Jim Gordon, Crazy Quilt, Sinestro, and others on DC Super Hero Girls
- Kevin and Special Agent 14 in Stripperella
- Knightbrace, Chester, and others in Codename: Kids Next Door
- Mr. Lee and Spydah in Alpha Teens on Machines
- Leon in Squirrel Boy
- Mr. Lopart and Pat in Handy Manny
- Scoutmaster Lumpus and Slinkman in Camp Lazlo (He's cited the latter as his favourite role)
- Mandok in Niko and the Sword of Light
- The Mayor, the Narrator, and others in The Powerpuff Girls
- Muhannad Sabeeh "Happy" Fa-ach Nuabar in Sit Down, Shut Up
- N.I.G.E.L. in Godzilla: The Series
- Nightstrike in Transformers: Robots in Disguise
- Nute Gunray, Detective Tan Divo, and Greedo in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Doctor Octopus, Curt Connors (first appearance only), and others in the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series
- Otto in The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
- Commander Peepers in Wander over Yonder
- The Penguin in The Batman
- Plastic Man in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
- He also played the role in an unaired Plastic Man pilot he co-wrote that can be found online.
- Raimundo Pedrosa, Grandmaster Dashi, and Hannibal Roy Bean in Xiaolin Showdown
- Ricky the Rocketship and others in Trip Tank
- Scaramouche, Chritchellites, Og, Monkar and Chitron 6 in Samurai Jack
- SpongeBob, Gary, the Narrator, Patchy the Pirate, the Jellyfish, and others in SpongeBob SquarePants
- Sumo in Clarence
- Dr. Two Brains in WordGirl
- Valhallen and many other voices in Dexter's Laboratory
- Wally Langford and others in Mission Hill
- Wayne Cramp in The Cramp Twins
- Woody Johnson in Brickleberry
- Yancy Fry, Abner Doubledeal, and Adlai Atkins in Futurama
- Zeke, his grandmother, and Thurston on Billy Dilley's Super Duper Subterranean Summer
- Zillius Zox, Salaak, Byth Rok and the Anti-Monitor in Green Lantern: The Animated Series
- Leo Callisto, Ruggles, and others in Miles from Tomorrowland
- Daddo Hugglemonster and others on Henry Hugglemonster
- Principal Lewis Wilson on Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters
- Eek on Doc McStuffins
- Fethry Duck in DuckTales (2017)
Tropes associated with Tom Kenny:
- Bleached Underpants: According to his interview with Marc Maron, the origin of his most famous voice, SpongeBob, was a ticked off, swearing little person who was auditioning for an elf in a Christmas commercial. Apparently Nickelodeon does not like him telling that story.
- The Cameo: Appeared along with wife, Jill Talley, in the movie Sky High (2005).
- Childhood Friends: With Bobcat Goldthwait.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Frequently plays these.
- Disney Owns This Trope: Nickelodeon currently owns the rights to his SpongeBob voice, meaning he's not allowed to use it for any other role.
- Large Ham: The characters he voices are inclined to be theatrically comedic in an over-the-top manner. The delivery of Tom's voice reinforces this.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: He has a very large Western Animation discography consisting of voice roles in recognizable cartoons typically produced by Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney Channel.
- Monster Clown: As Binky the clown in Shakes the Clown.
- Playing Against Type: As Fixit, Doctor Octopus, Nute Gunray and the Anti-Monitor.
- As a loud, obnoxious children's show host with reality-warping powers (and the voice of his rabbit sidekick, Loomis) on The Haunting Hour episode, "Uncle Howee" in one of the few times Tom Kenny has done work on a live-action show that wasn't a sketch comedy show, like The Edge and Mr. Show or a behind-the-scenes documentary where viewers get to see the men and women behind the voices of their favorite cartoon characters [i.e., I Know That Voice].
- Played with a bit in Adventure Time. At first the Ice King seems like another one of his humorous roles, but then came The Reveal of Ice King's past which showed that he was once an ordinary guy by the name of Simon Petrikov, and he seems to be quite serious.
- Woody Johnson on Brickleberry. While it is true that Tom Kenny has played a Fat Bastard (Heffer Wolfe from Rocko's Modern Life), it was Played for Laughs and Heffer being a bastard is more due to social ignorance than being a sociopath. Not the case with Woody Johnson. On top of that, the voice Tom Kenny uses for Woody Johnson doesn't sound like any character he's played before.
- And then there's the child rapist Mr. Jellybean on Rick and Morty.
- One of his earliest (not to mention only live-action) roles was as the evil, murderous Binky in Shakes the Clown. Could also count as Early Installment Weirdness.
- He was also the Sharper Image Chair in Eight Crazy Nights.
- Real-Life Relative: He and his real-life wife, Jill Talley, have worked together numerous times.
- Relationship Voice Actor: Has worked alongside Grey DeLisle, Tara Strong, Carlos Alazraqui, Charlie Adler, Bill Fagerbakke and many others.
- Star-Making Role: He was a complete unknown when cast for Rocko's Modern Life. SpongeBob SquarePants pushed his fame further.
- Talking to Himself: In several series.
- What Could Have Been:
- Kenny was in the running to host Double Dare 2000 but Jason Harris eventually got the job.
- In the early 90s, he was in the running to be on Saturday Night Live, going as far as to audition to Lorine Michaels himself. However, there were only two spots available at the time, and they wound up going to David Spade and Rob Schneider.