Saturday Night Live star BOBBY MOYNIHAN stars as Chozen, a gay white rapper fresh out of prison, in FX's new animated comedy, Chozen.
The show is ridiculous but in the absolute best of ways and Moynihan is hilarious in the part; the voice he uses for the character fits perfectly. When asked in a recent conference call to chat about the show and when someone asked how he came up with the voice, he was almost embarrassed. "I know it sounds weird to say, but it's a voice I've been doing all my life," he said.
In the interview, Moynihan, who was joined by series creator, executive producer, and writer GRANT DEKERNION, talks about voice work, SNL, writing and being Chozen!
Chozen airs on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on FX.
WAS IT DIFFICULT TRYING TO GET SOMEONE TO TAKE A CHANCE WITH SOMETHING THAT'S KIND OF OFF-THE-WALL OR NOT YOUR STANDARD TV SHOW LET'S SAY?
GRANT DEKERNION: I guess I can hit that real quick.Surprisingly, when it came to FX, it wasn't difficult.I mean, that's what they're known for.They are known for taking chances, and they are known for doing programming that's kind of unique and groundbreaking, and this is the place myself and the producers always pictured the show as having a chance to live.
So we went there with high hopes and our high hopes were met.They were very excited and very invested, and we were really fortunate in finding a home on the place where I think the show has the greatest chance to make an impact.
BOBBY, DID YOU HAVE TO AUDITION OR WERE YOU INVOLVED AT THE BEGINNING WITH THE PROCESS, OR HOW DID IT COME ABOUT FOR YOU?
BOBBY MOYNIHAN: I'm actually a gay white rapper cartoon in real life, so it just worked out really good.No, I got an email saying, "Would you like to put yourself on tape for this," and they had one of the little character descriptions--the drawings of what they look like--and they said Method Man was involved and I said, "Yeah, I don't want to do anything more in my life than this."
BOBBY, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE VOICE FOR "CHOZEN"?
BOBBY MOYNIHAN: I know it sounds weird to say, but it's a voice I've been doing all my life maybe.I feel like I know a lot of people that sound like "Chozen," and when I saw the drawing and read Grant's script--the character is so well-defined already that all I had to do was come in and talk and have a good time.So I felt like it was something I had inside me already.
THERE WASN'T ANYTHING ABOUT THIS CHARACTER THAT YOU ADDED?YOU JUST STUCK WITH GRANT'S SCRIPT?
BOBBY MOYNIHAN: No.I mean, we do some improvising.Me and Grant will go back and forth, or he'll have a line and I'll add to it, or he'll say, "No.Try this," and I think it's a good mix between the writing on the show is pretty wonderful, so I like to let them do that, but when we're doing the recording sometimes something new will come up or something very dirty, and then I beg Grant not to put it in, and he does, and I was wrong, and it's very funny.
GRANT, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CONCEPT FOR THE SHOW?
GRANT DEKERNION: Well, I had always wanted to do a show--I knew I wanted to do a show involving music and the struggle to be a musician, and I've loved hip-hop my whole life, so I just started thinking about it.Then I also wanted to create a character that I'd never seen before on TV, and I think "Chozen" fits that bill.
I think there's a lot of interesting things you have with "Chozen."Here's a guy who's coming out of jail; here's a guy who's trying to take his life back.So to me it's a different kind of--it's like a delayed coming-of-age story a little bit, and I thought that would be a fun way to kind of get into a type of story that's been told a few times but in a different way.
BOTH OF YOU GUYS WRITING COMEDY--AND THE IDEA OF PARODY VERSUS ORIGINAL CONCEPTS, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE IN WRITING THESE TWO TYPES OF CHARACTERS AND STORIES, AND WHERE DOES CHOZEN FALL IN THAT KIND OF AREA, RANGE?
GRANT DEKERNION: Oh boy.I think Chozen in my mind and the way the writers work with him, he's a very real person to me.I don't think he's a parody of anybody or a parody of any idea.I know people like him--maybe not exactly like him--but there are traits about him that are familiar to me and, I think, familiar to Bobby as well.
Within the show I do think we do have some fun with--there is some parody in our show of whether it's famous people or ideas or things like that.It's always a fun place to get jokes and kind of get a tentacle out into the real world because we're in a cartoon world.So I think we do a little bit of both, but I think "Chozen" is wholly unique and in my mind wholly real and original to himself.
BOBBY MOYNIHAN: To be honest, it reminds me the most of "Kenny Powers" on EastboundI get the play all the weird looking ladies.So we all play our roles.