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Rick And Morty's Chris Parnell Turns To Visualization To Produce High-Energy Voice Overs

Jerry Smith is the resident loser on "Rick and Morty," forever destined to either end up the butt of jokes or, on occasion, appear unexpectedly heroic by clearing the low bar otherwise established for his character. As it turns out, his voice actor and SNL alumnus Chris Parnell loves that Jerry is a loser, describing his disposition as fuel for effective comedy. In fact, some "Rick and Morty" fans even push back against Jerry hate, arguing that his particular brand of patheticness is integral to some of the funniest moments from throughout the show.

Parnell's role may well grow in importance moving forward, following Adult Swim's decision to cut ties with Justin Roiland, one of the series' creators, after news publicly surfaced of some serious legal allegations. The network since confirmed that the roles of Rick and Morty, both of which he had performed since the series' start, will be recast. Presumably, then, the rest of its cast and crew will retain their parts moving forward, meaning that veterans like Parnell will be key to the show's continuation.

In an interview about his "Rick and Morty" role, Parnell at one point touched on what he enjoys about working in animation, revealing that visualization is one trick he practices to strengthen his voice performances.

Chris Parnell works hard to stay mentally present while recording Jerry's lines

Speaking to The Verge about his role of Jerry Smith on "Rick and Morty," actor Chris Parnell detailed his approach to working on an animated series, and how that differs from his past work on live-action projects. "The hardest thing I think is just remembering to really be present and try to act it well and not just kind of say the lines," Parnell said. "So there's a fair bit of visualization going on in my head and trying to sort of put myself in that place and see it."

Parnell then went on to explain that one advantage of voice acting is that he's free to move around as he sees fit while recording lines, and that he does in fact incorporate unseen gestures into his performances. "You're really just taking all of this energy and funneling it through your voice without being able to see anything which you're doing physically," he said. "Although, obviously, what I do physically with my face and my body is going to affect how my voice sounds."

Finally, Parnell shared that he appreciates being able to perform both in live-action and as a voice actor on animated projects. While the majority of his work is currently in animation, he still values the ability to appear opposite another actor from time to time, rather than always being constrained to a booth and requiring techniques like visualization to overcome that isolation.