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Hank Azaria Voiced More Characters On The Simpsons Than You Might Think

If you're unaware of just how iconic "The Simpsons" is, then you literally have been living under a rock. Since launching in 1987 as animated shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show" and getting its own primetime spot in 1989, the series has practically become ingrained in modern everyday culture. With over 700 episodes, 33 seasons, and a highly successful feature film (via Box Office Mojo), it holds numerous records including being the longest-running animated series and longest-running primetime scripted series as of 2022.

It would be near impossible for the show to have endured like it has if it weren't for its explosive cast of colorful characters. There's Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, as well as supporting characters like Ned Flanders, Kent Brockman, Mr. Burns, and Krusty the Clown. Even if you're not a dedicated viewer of the show, chances are you know who these characters are. It is their distinct personalities, quotable lines, and, probably most significantly, their talented voice actors that have helped craft them into household names. Everyone on the voice cast from Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Krusty, etc.) to Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Nelson, Ralph, etc.) to Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Flanders, Principal Skinner, etc.) have continuously brought dedication to each of the many voices they've performed for the beloved series.

Hank Azaria is undeniably one of the show's most prolific voice actors. Like most of his co-stars, Azaria is no one-trick pony when it comes to providing a wide array of voices. But his catalog of characters is especially diverse in a way that even the most die-hard fans of the show may not have expected. So with that in mind, let's take a deep dive into some of Azaria's most memorable voice performances from the series.

Azaria is the voice of the lovably dimwitted Chief Clancy Wiggum

Likely to be found chowing down on a kabob of donuts piled onto his gun, Chief Clancy Wiggum is everyone's favorite dimwitted, always-eating cop. First appearing in Season 1, Episode 3, "Homer's Odyssey," calling Wiggum simpleminded is probably too light of a description. The extent of Wiggum's incompetency and laziness is staggering, almost to the point where you question if he is purposefully allowing criminals to slip through his fingers. Yet, he remains an immensely likable character. The love he has for his son, Ralph, and his non-judgmental point of view are both easy to admire.

Regardless of his intent, Hank Azaria's voice performance for the oafish police officer is immediately recognizable and adds an endearing quality to the character. In an interview with GQ, Azaria admitted that he considers the voice to be an impression of actor Edward G. Robinson, most well-known for his roles in classic Hollywood films such as 1944's "Double Indemnity." In the end, the only impression to be had from Wiggum and Azaria's performance is nothing short of delightful.

Azaria is happiest to play grumpy ol' Moe Szyslak

From an optimistic cop to a pessimistic bartender, Moe's status as one of the show's most beloved characters can't be overstated. As the proprietor and bartender at Moe's Tavern, Moe offers a place of solace for Homer, Lenny, Carl, Barney, and several other characters throughout the series. His grumpy personality has often made him a prime target for Bart, whose infamous prank calls on the bartender have gone down as some of the show's best running gags.

Despite his constant bad luck, we root for Moe to move through all his troubles. And try he has. From numerous strained love interests to transforming the bar into a family-friendly restaurant to developing his own special cocktail (read: stealing the idea for the cocktail from Homer), any chance Moe has to change his life always seems to fall flat on the poor guy's face. But through it all, we still love the cranky character. And Hank Azaria agrees. When asked by GQ as to who his favorite character to play is on the show, Azaria brought up the short-tempered old bartender. "He's been the most developed and closest to my heart," he said. Commenting further on the inspiration for the voice, Azaria explained, "Moe is sort of a weird version of young Al Pacino made gravelly." Azaria, who has voiced the character since Season 2, has been instrumental in imbuing Moe with a level of charm that makes it hard to imagine anyone else taking on the role. 

Comic Book Guy is everyone's inner nerd

"Worst list ever."

The iconic interchangeable catchphrase of Jeff Albertson, more commonly known as Comic Book Guy, has been ingrained in the minds of real-life pop culture nerds since the character's debut during the show's 2nd season. Obese, sarcastic, and unashamed of his love for comics, games, and movies, the Comic Book Guy is one of those characters whose simple running joke has yet to run old. He runs the Android's Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop, where he shares his love and strong opinions on everything from "Spider-Man" to "Star Wars." In the premiere episode of Season 21, he even made his own successful comic book character called Everyman. It would eventually become a movie starring Homer that ended up as a disaster.

In the GQ interview, Hank Azaria admitted that Comic Book Guy, like most of his voices, was inspired by people in his life. "Comic Book Guy is another friend of mine from college who lived next door freshman year," he said in the character's voice. "He had a barcalounger in his room ...he would have a list in his little dry erase board outside his door. If he liked you, you were on his good list, if he did not like you that week, you were on his bad list." Azaria manages to bring out the show's great blend of biting satire and genuine heart in the character that has helped make him so entertaining.

Azaria rules the school as Superintendent Gary Chalmers

Another character with an equally iconic catchphrase, whenever you hear "SKINNERRRR," you know who's entered the room. Superintendent Gary Chalmers is, as his name would imply, the superintendent of Springfield Elementary, where he rules with a cold and dismissive personality. At the same time, he cares little about the school's poor condition, believing the public school system is on a major decline. So it's almost like his humorless, stoic personality and berating of Skinner leads to nothing, which if anything, only makes him funnier. 

His relationship with Principal Skinner gives way to some of the show's most hilarious and iconic moments, probably none more so than the heavily-memed "Steamed Hams" segment from Episode 21, Season 7, "22 Short Films About Springfield." Once again, Hank Azaria's voice performance is endlessly entertaining. Hearing him yell out the superintendent's well-known line never gets old and after having done it for so long, it's surprising that Azaria's voice hasn't let out yet.

Who wouldn't want to party with Duffman?

The third of Hank Azaria's famous catchphrases on this list, all it takes is a hearty pelvic thrust and a solid "Oh Yeah!" to know who's ready to party. Duffman acts as the spokesperson and mascot of Springfield's favorite beer, Duff, always showing up in his Superman-esque red cape and blue outfit. The manly, macho party animal was a latecomer to the series compared to some of the others listed here, first appearing in the Season 9 premiere, "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson." 

From his first hilarious appearance on the show, he commands the room with his over-the-top energy. His further appearances only amp up both his wild presence and darkly comedic death scenes. While his alter-ego has changed many times on the show, Azaria has always been the one to provide the character with his trademark enthusiastic speech pattern. Surprisingly enough, Azaria mentioned in an interview with The Herd that the character is one of the hardest for him to pull off, as his voice almost always lets out after recording sessions. Knowing the effort it takes makes Azaria's energetic performance all the more infectiously lovable. 

Azaria transforms into the nutty Professor Frink

First appearing in Season 2, Episode 17, "Old Money," Hank Azaria again lends his talents to performing another character who does more harm than good, that being Professor John Frink Jr. The town's local scientist, inventor, and college professor at Springfield Heights Institute of Technology, Frink is known for his sporadic manner of speech and general social awkwardness. With an IQ of 197 (that used to be 199 before he received a concussion), the scientist's bizarre inventions include the 8-month pill, hamburger earmuffs, and the flying motorcycle. Some have, admittedly, work better than others, but the inventions have largely caused chaos. On top of this, the looney scientist also found and cured a disease named after himself.

 Azaria unsurprisingly delivers in the role. It is one of his favorites to play on the show, meant to be an impression of Jerry Lewis from the 1963 film "The Nutty Professor," as he discussed on The Rich Eisen Show. How he's able to keep up the gibberish speaking pattern of the character so well is beyond us, but we're ever thankful for it.

He's also the killer cool voice of Snake Jailbird

One of the show's most interesting voices Hank Azaria delivers by far belongs to that of Snake Jailbird, who may or may not have previously been known as Chester Turley. Once a promising Indiana Jones-esque archeologist, Snake vowed vengeance on society when Moe stole one of his rightful finds. The baddest of bad boys, Snake is infamous for constantly being arrested but never seeming to stay in prison for very long (Wiggum can probably be blamed for that). His reckless behavior, however, hides a true heart deep down, as he shows love for his own child, Jeremy, and even feels bad for nearly shooting Maggie at one point.

Sporting a valley boy accent, Azaria's voice is equally funny and unsettling, which you can't say about many of the other characters he voiced. His voice is based on Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and yet another friend of Azaria's from college, who he mentioned was constantly stoned (via GQ). Regardless, his performance in the role helps give Snake his unmistakable personality that makes him such a memorable character.

Too many others to count

Would you believe that this doesn't even scratch the surface of the numerous names Hank Azaria has given a voice to throughout 33 seasons of "The Simpsons"? Along with other fan-favorite side characters such as Dr. Nick Riviera and Cletus Spuckler, Azaria is also credited as the voice for literally hundreds of some of the show's most memorable one-off characters. 

These voices include Dr. Zaius (we can hear you singing the song), Abraham Lincoln, Stanley Kubrick, Mr. T, Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Adam West (who also voiced himself in the episode "Mr. Plow"), Rocky Balboa, Bill Gates, Ronald Reagan, Nick Fury, and too many others to name. And that isn't even including the various versions of other characters that he's voiced, such as an older version of Bart, a younger version of Moe, and several members of Wiggum's family. It goes to show what an indispensable talent Azaria was and continues to be on the show.