Rob Paulsen: Fan favorite cartoon Animaniacs comes to Arlington live and in concert

Rob Paulsen 

While you may not know the name Rob Paulsen, you most likely know his work — Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius.

Rob Paulsen got into voice acting at age 21 and 40 years later he is able to continue providing joy to his fans with the Animaniacs Live! Concert on tour. The tour stops in Arlington on Friday, Oct. 27, at the Arlington Music Hall.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Paulsen moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s to work as a musician and actor. He went on to study with the Groundlings, the city’s well-known improvisation and comedy group.

As a self proclaimed “average-looking white guy from Michigan” Paulsen faced challenges in live acting, but voice acting was a way to expand his opportunities in LA — a reason that most of his fans recognize him by his voice as opposed to his appearance.

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“Obviously I’ve been doing this a long time, but it’s not like being Brad Pitt. You don’t walk down the street and people say, ‘oh my god there’s Pinky,’ or ‘there’s Yakko,’ ” Paulsen said. “But I have to tell you, one of the sweetest things about this gig is when people find out who I am or what I do all it does is make them smile and it’s just the most beautiful thing.”

After years of work doing what he loves, Paulsen has over 2,000 half-hour programs as well as films, video games and multiple awards including a Daytime Emmy, a Peabody and three Annie Awards.

The voice actor also defeated throat cancer and according to his biography gained a “renewed passion for his craft.” This next phase of his life also brings him “some new challenges and some old familiar faces there to guide him into the next phase of his career.”

“Everybody’s got their own stuff to deal with, and this was my turn,” Paulsen said in his biography. “I’ve had a damn good ride up to now, and if the worst had happened, it was okay, I had a 35 year run, so I didn’t feel the need to say anything.”

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Because he’s overcome these challenges and can continue working in the voice acting industry the generation of millennials who grew up in the world of Paulsen’s characters are now his colleagues.

“It reminded me again – nobody cares what you look like, and how much that makes me more passionate for my job and having fun with it,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen and Animaniacs song writer, Randy Rogel, were able to bring the Animaniacs back to life, live and in concert, through a deal with Warner Brother’s licensing that allowed them to take these classic tunes on the road beginning in April of this year.

“We just said, ‘Well let’s just do this, this music is a blast and whether we do it with an orchestra or just the two of us and a piano it’s every bit as entertaining.’ And the music is great, the stories about how the music was made are great,” Paulsen said. “People love to ask questions and they want to talk to Pinky and ask, ‘Are you pondering what I’m pondering?’ and it’s a total blast.”

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Paulsen says his fans’ affection for the characters runs deeper than most realize and crosses several generations because the genius of the Animaniacs is that Steven Spielberg gave the young viewers the entertainment they were looking for and jokes they would come to understand as they age.

“Everytime we go to one of these Animaniac shows we get people in the audience from 10 years old, because they watch the shows on Netflix, and then we get people up to 70 who watched them with their kids in college 20 years ago. It’s crazy,” Paulsen said.

According to Paulsen the Animaniacs Live! Concert is a show that hasn’t been done before.

“When you have an opportunity to hear the people who wrote and performed the music originally and they’re still able to do I and they want to do it and they can do it at the same level they did it 20 years ago that’s a completely different animal,” Paulsen said. “It’s timeless and good animations — good cartoons — hit you right in the nostalgia, but if they’re smart they also make you think and you get references you never would’ve gotten 20 years ago.”

More tour dates and tickets for the Animaniacs Live! Concert are available at