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“I wore them down by doing the same thing 800 times”: Tom Kenny recalls his Adventure Time audition

Adventure Time voice actor Tom Kenny shares the story of how he was cast as Ice King.

Ice King from Adventure Time
Image credit: Cartoon Network

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. Then try some more. Then go into the studio and continue trying.

This is how voice actor Tom Kenny got the role of Ice King on the animated series Adventure Time. It didn’t matter that Kenny was a legendary voice actor. It didn’t matter that he was the voice of Spongebob Squarepants. He still had to audition – a lot!

During an Adventure Time spotlight panel at Emerald City Comic Con, Kenny shared the amusing audition story. According to Kenny, another actor had initially been cast as Ice King in the pilot. “I was not the Ice King, that was John Kassir, the Cryptkeeper, and a whole bunch of other things. They recast it for, I don’t know what reason, I never really asked,” Kenny recalled.

“I had to audition so many times for the Ice King,” Kenny continued. “It was callback, after callback, after callback. And they’re like, ‘Yeah, we like it. We want to hear you again.’ And I’m like, ‘Anything different you want me to do? Is there anything you want me to change?’ And they’re like, ‘No.’ I go, ‘So you like it,’ and they’re like, ‘Ehhh.’ I was like trying to read the tea leaves. I’m still in the game, but I wasn’t getting any feedback.”

After numerous auditions, Kenny’s perseverance paid off. “Eventually I wore them down by doing the same thing 800 times.”

As frustrating as the experience was, Kenny understood why casting the role was difficult. “No matter how much stuff you have on your IMDb, these creators of these shows, they’ve been walking around with these characters in their heads for a long time and hearing them in their head. And they’re looking for that square head that fits that oral hole.”

It just goes to show you, the road to Ice King’s throne is paved with numerous callbacks.

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