"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
April 26th, 2011
On Teentraveltalk’s recent Nick All-Access cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line, we had the opportunity to not only interview Jennette McCurdy, but also the unforgettable and famous voices of SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Star: Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke!
If you’d like to find out more about this summer’s Nick All-Access cruise — which will be in the Mediterranean and will again feature SpongeBob’s Tom Kenny — check out Norwegian Cruise Line’s website: www.ncl.com
Here’s TTT’s inteview:
SpongeBob: Tom Kenny = SB
Patrick: Bob Fagerbakke= P
Teen Travel Talk=TTT
TTT: What kind of family travel do you do?
SB: I have a seven-year old girl and 13 year old boy. So I have a hard time finding something that pleases both demographics. My son is good at taking one for the team.
P: When you get away from the home routines and the electronic trappings, you can really connect with your teens.
SB: It’s great on vacation when internet and cell phones don’t work ….you can return to the 19th century….without the scurvy! It’s like being on a tall ship but without your skin turning yellow!
TTT: So is all your lingo sea oriented since you live under the sea?
SB: The creator of the show Steve Hillenburg is very sea savvy – he was a marine biologist and he knows all that sailing stuff like tying sailor’s knots. So there’s been a trickle down effect.
P: Tom knew Steve before SpongeBob.
SB: Yeah, “Rocco’s Modern Life” was an early ’90s Nick toon and Steve was the creator/director on the show. It was one of my first voice over shows and when he pitched his show he remembered me. SpongeBob actually came about because when he was working at a marine institute near San Diego and he drew a comic book for the kids explaining some of the marine terms. Some of the characters in that booklet morphed into SpongeBob characters. There is a SpongeBob comic book on the stands now and has a bit of the original marine biology comic book in it. It’s interesting to see the germ of it and how it grew into SpongeBob.
TTT: SO did he remember your voice?
SB: We laughed at the same things and liked the same things comedically.
TTT: Where did the idea of underwater squirrel come from?
SB: Terrestial zoology?!?! Laughter…
SB: He literally wanted a fish out of water since all the other characters are fish.
TTT: Speaking of a fish out of water, sometimes teens feel like they’re fish out of water.
SB: That was the best segway ever!
TTT: What were you guys like as teens?
P: I was Richie Cunningham – I lived “Happy Days.” I was in sports, sang in the choir, drove a Chevy, had a great time during high school.
SB: Like American Graffiti.
P: I was lucky to have loving and supportive parents
SB: SpongeBob is really a series about being an oddball yet fitting in. I always felt that’s one of the more powerful things about SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy – that they are very individual and sort of bizarre in their own ways yet they let their freak flag fly. That’s really what SpongeBob is about: yeah, you’re weird, yeah you’re dedicated to things that others don’t understand – like cooking at the Krusty Krab where you’re unpaid and undervalued – and I think teens feel a lot like that too. That’s how my teenage years were. I was fairly out of the main stream but I had enough close friends who were successes.
P: Tom was really accomplished at a young age.
SB: Yeah, when I was a teen and saw Saturday Night Live on TV and SCTV (sketch program that’s not on anymore) it blew my mind. My friend and I at 16 years old went into a local bar and said “Hey it’s Tuesday night and no one’s in here. How about you let us start a comedy night? We guarantee you’ll have at least 3 people in here!” The comedy show went on to become a really successful local thing in Syracuse, NY. It was packed and sold out all the time.
So in high school, by accident, I already knew what I wanted to do. Having that early encouragement – especially my parents who were very loving and encouraging – really helped. I also played in rock and roll bands locally with older guys. My teenage years were unusual but I was not a nerd or outcast and I didn’t get beat up by everybody since I was the guy with the glasses on!
My humor saved me from having to perform in sports, which was my greatest source of terror! The other kids would say, “Yeah, let’s have him on our team. He stinks but he’ll make us laugh!”
TTT: Were you a class clown?
SB: Yes, in high school I was a class clown. In grammar school I was too shy but was funny to a few select friends. I eventually become the class clown’s writer. I would write jokes for the class clown who eventually in high school said to me “I know of a stand-up comedy show you should be in.” Then that class clown went on to become a well known comedian. And I’m making a living doing what I love to do. So again, being the square peg really paid off – as in, following your passion – just because you like it. For no other reason than you love it and it speaks to you and you want do it as much as you can.
P: I was a painfully earnest, play it down the middle, the square peg in the square hole.
SB: But you were the football player who liked to act so that was different.
P: Yes, there was versatility there. That’s what concerns me with teenagers now because I feel that teens now are more prone to be pigeon holed. I see teens who are pressured just to play one sport and I think that’s wrong. It should not be about “you’re going to be in the Olympics” but it’s about experiencing new things and new people and different skill sets. That’s what teens should hope and go for. My advise to teens is don’t feel you’re trapped in one thing because you’re good at it.
SB: To me the tragic thing is a teen who’s not interested in anything. I talk to some kids who are only passionate about wii. Well I guess if you want to be a designer of electronics, then it’s a good thing. I was a big fan of comics but that was because I wanted to be a comedian.
TTT: That’s why we are passionate about family travel …
SB: Because it’s so educational, fun and different and you get outside of the Facebook culture. I think travel is good for the bonds between siblings too and you escape the trappings of the home issues.
TTT: Where do you like to travel with your kids?
P: We went to London, Spain, Portugal (19 and 17 year old girls). We’ve done annual camping trips which were great – whole different kind of thing. The one thing I regret not doing more of was car trips. There’s something about car trips – they’re hideous yet great. We’ve done just a little of train travel.
SB: This summer we’re going on the Nick Mediterranean cruise – we’ll go a couple of weeks early to explore Europe by land before the next Nick cruise there.