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How The Pandemic Changed Bob's Burgers' Voice Recordings - Exclusive

Since his first animated TV series, "Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist," Loren Bouchard's cartoons have relied more heavily on improvisation than is often typical in the tightly-scripted world of animation. For much of the ongoing run of Bouchard's longest-running and most popular cartoon, "Bob's Burgers," most of the voice cast recorded their lines together so as to better be able to play off each other. That changed with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which necessitated the show to start having actors record from home.

The process for "The Bob's Burgers Movie" (now in theaters) was actually an entirely remote affair, done in the summer of 2020, with the actors having to record their lines separately. Ahead of the movie's release, Looper got to exclusively speak to the main cast of "Bob's Burgers" about what it was like switching to remote recording, and we learned how, while things haven't fully returned to normal, the process has improved as of late.

Back in the closet

Kristen Schaal, the voice of Louise Belcher, described remote recordings as having been a "less joyful" experience. While it's been over two years since the cast has been able to record an episode together in-person, she noted that technology has improved enough within this time that the actors can now record episodes together remotely. John Roberts, the voice of Linda Belcher, jokes that this new collective-but-still-physically-distant setup is "good because [H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of Bob Belcher] smells a little bit, but we can still hear each other, and that's nice."

Eugene Mirman, the voice of Gene Belcher, has been living and recording his lines in a different city from the rest of the cast over the past few years. Describing the experience, he said, "[For] two years we were in a closet, surrounded by pillows or what have you. [It was a] makeshift studio, it was harder, but they also ... The production made it really work." Roberts, who is openly gay, joked about hating "going back into the closet." Benjamin, in his signature deadpan delivery, followed up with a comment on that being a "inside joke" — an "inside the closet" joke.

"The Bob's Burgers Movie" is now in theaters.