By Matt Casamassina
February 19, 2009
As antihero Jack plows through Varrigan City, beating enemies to bloody pulps before chainsawing them in half, his every move is covered by two Death Watch commentators. SEGA and developed Platinum Games spared no expense in the presentation, hiring on famed comedians Greg Proops (Whose Line is It, Anyway?) and John DiMaggio (best known as Bender from Futurama) to voice the two colorful announcers, who regularly drop F-bombs and ogle at all the violence. We chatted with both of the established voice actors in the interview below.
IGN: How did you guys become involved with MadWorld?
Greg Proops: My pal Jack Fletcher called me. He directed the so called acting in this game. We worked together on "Asterix versus the Vikings" and "Kaena the Prophecy" -- both were animated features with big stars like Kirsten Dunst and Paul Giamatti. Sadly, they were not as wildly viewed as they might have been. So I was excited to work with Jack on such a cool game that I knew gamers would flock to.
John DiMaggio: Well, it all starts with Jack Fletcher, the v.o. director that I've worked with countless times on many videogames and animated projects. He brought me in, and whenever that happens, it's usually golden. We read each other's minds. Plus, it's Greg Proops, man. The guy's been brilliant and funny since the womb. I was chomping at the bit to get in the studio with that guy.
IGN: Are you a fan of videogames?
Greg: I love the look and feel of MadWorld with its monochromatic future-past vibe punctuated by torrents of the old vino. When it comes to games I ride old-school: Sonic, Ms. Pac-Man, Pong. I will Pong you down.
John: Yes, I am a fan, and my favorites are the EA Sports games (they've just been getting it done since the SEGA console days), the GTA series, and of course Gears of War (1 & 2).
IGN: The announcers are pretty funny and lewd. How involved with the script were you?
Greg: The writers must have been high cause we toiled like Hercules coming up with stuff. I am joking of course, the script was marvelous -- what we could read. They let us chime in, which is how I like to work. I was on 'Whose Line is it Anyway?' for 14 years so I like to run with the ball or in this case, chainsaw. John is terrific at ad-libbing when he is hungover, thank goodness. We would laugh and riff and sing and fling dick jokes all day long. Some stuff so childish we shocked ourselves. Lots of singing of oldies which is cool and kinda sad.
John: I think lewd is an understatement. We were filthy, and it was hilarious. There's something to be said about being able to go that far to get laughs. There was alot of ad-libbing, and the thing that stands out in my mind the most was the musical callback of "I Blame Our Schools!", sung to the tune of a trombone's rimshot. Ridiculous.
IGN: Did you ad-lib a lot?
Greg: Yes constantly. It was a contest to break each other up.
IGN: Can you give us some examples?
Greg: Well, someone would make a hilarious anal sex joke and then we would sing "I Blame Our Schools." It was very adult most of the time. Not me of course -- I do a lot of Shakespeare and Bible type satire.
IGN: What instruction were you given about the commentators?
Greg: Keep it real. Then be funny. Then do it better. Then please do it better and we can have chili for lunch.
John: Well, it was quite over the top. These guys are real scumbags. Crude, disgusting, sexist, racist, the whole nine fucking yards. People, if you want to play this game and really enjoy it, expect your eyes to burn a little on Sundays, or when you're driving by places of worship.
IGN: In your opinion, what kind of people are these two guys -- these Death Watch commentators?
Greg: I am the Bob Eucker of marriage. My character Howard is not lucky in love and is apparently a giant pervert. John's character Kreese is a brute with no subtlety who threatens to kill me every time I make a bad pun. Which, in all fairness, I deserved.
IGN: Do you have a favorite line?
Greg: When I see guys line up like that it reminds me of my ex-wife.
John: No, but my favorite sound of the experience was Greg making this gremlin-esque noise when he would screw up a take. Really funny, and it made me want to hug him like a teddy bear. I don't normally do that, so to elicit that response from me is a mother.
IGN: John, you've done a lot of videogame character work in the past. How much fun did you have on MadWorld versus the rest of the games? Any Bender cameos?
John: MadWorld was an absolute blast, and I would jump at the chance to work with Jack and Greg again any day of the week. Laughs galore. And I don't think FOX would appreciate me pimping Bender out. So, that's that.