Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Carlos Alazraqui Working on New Nickelodeon Project with 'Reno 911!' Co-Star

Actor and voice actor Carlos Alazraqui, who has voiced many iconic characters in beloved series such as Rocko’s Modern Life (opposite Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants), CatDog, The Loud House, The Fairly OddParents, Camp Lazlo! and Family Guy has revealed in an interview with the New York Post that he is currently working on a top-secret Nickelodeon project!

Carlos Alazraqui / Getty Images.

"I’m excited about a new Nickelodeon project but I can’t talk about it — though I can intimate that I’m working with a fellow Reno 911! castmate," Alazraqui revealed to the New York Post!

Alazraqui can currently be heard on Nickelodeon's The Loud House and its spinoff, The Casagrandes (he plays Carlos, Vito and Sergio on both shows), and has a major role in next year’s SpongeBob SquarePants prequel, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.

In addition to voice acting, Alazraqui can be seen in the live-action series Reno 911!, and is currently shopping his self-financed movie, Witness Infection, a horror-comedy starring Erinn Hayes (Medical Police). The actor also appeared in Nickelodeon's Taina and Drake & Josh.

Alazraqui, 58, whose parents were born in Argentina, spoke to The Post about his long voiceover/acting career — including voicing the Taco Bell Chihuahua from 1997-2000.

“The Casagrandes” / Nickelodeon

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing Kamp Koral, The Casagrandes — I just did four episodes last week and one this week — and The Loud House, and Maya and the Three, which will be on Netflix next year. I’m doing a few more episodes of American Dad and Family Guy, mostly utility roles, and I’m working on Curious George for PBS. I play Mr. Zoobel.

You’re known mostly for your voiceovers. Would you like to do more on-camera work?

I think it’s relative from week-to-week. There at times when I feel, “Do I really want to do on-camera chases and be a super-celebrity and get recognized everywhere?” But it’s pretty cool when you do a red-carpet [premiere]. We did the Reno 911! premiere on Hollywood Boulevard walking down the red carpet at Mann’s Chinese Theater and it was pretty awesome. You love that attention. The biggest reason to do on-camera work, though, is … you’re more apt to get some better jobs. It’s just a fact. So, yeah, I would like to be on-camera little bit more.

Is there any chance for a revival of Rocko’s Modern Life?

Outside of “Status Cling,” the 2019 Rocko special which came out on Netflix, I’m not sure. There’s always been a demand [for a reboot] and we would love to do it again. People also revere Camp Lazlo and even CatDog. You never know what’s going to hit or be iconoclastic.

"Rocko's Modern Life" / Nickelodeon

Do you do voices for your daughters (ages 9 and 6)?

My older daughter is also in voiceovers for Nickelodeon. She’s got the bug. My younger daughter loves me to read Dogman and Captain Underpants. I read those over and over again and do all the voices for her. You either have the voiceover gene or you don’t. I watched a lot of cartoons on TV growing up and got the vibe. I just wanted to imitate everybody. My brother is pretty good but he didn’t get the bug.

In looking back, how do you feel about playing the Taco Bell Chihuahua?

I don’t have regrets. I remember doing an ABC special and showing the poster at my old campus, Sacramento State, this is right after Columbine [in 2000], and student board members holding up a sign with the Chihuahua and Xs in it saying, “Kill the Chihuahua!” Other Latinos were going, “Forget about those people, we love the Chihuahua!” The League of United Latino Citizens was calling my house. As I look back, this wasn’t [adopts a heavy Mexican accent] “The Frito Bandito and I’m stealing your chips!” This was a dog that was really cool, with a voice that was not stereotypical … and it was not the biggest part of [the ad] campaign ending. [Taco Bell] had a lawsuit with a Michigan ad agency, which they lost. I never felt that it was offensive. As Tom Kenny said, “Nobody ever said that Count Chocula is offensive to all Romanians.” We now try honor more Latino roles with Latino actors. Right now I’m on a Filipino show, Trese … and I’m working with Filipino dialect coaches to make sure I’m doing it correctly.

From 'LLERO:


With an IMDb profile that will keep you scrolling and scrolling, Carlos Alazraqui is a multi-talented modern-day renaissance man in entertainment. Starting his show biz journey as a stand-up comedian, Alazraqui quickly found a new lane when he landed the voiceover gig of beloved ‘90s animated series, Rocco’s Modern Life, playing the lead role of the lovable wallaby, Rocco. The hit Nickelodeon series opened up the floodgates for the voiceover actor of Argentinian roots. But he didn’t stop there. Carlos Alazraqui later picked up on-camera roles—most notably as Deputy James Garcia on Comedy Central’s hit show Reno 911!.

With Reno 911! airing on Quibi this year, ‘LLERO sat down with Carlos Alazraqui to chat about his extensive résumé, shooting for Quibi and his self-produced horror-comedy flick, Witness Infection.

‘LLERO: How did the transition from stand-up comedian to Rocco’s Modern Life come about?

Carlos Alazraqui: My manager at the time, Chrissy Forrester, knew this guy, Mart McNamara, who had a project by an artist named, Joe Murray, who was the San Jose’s Mercury News cartoonist, and the project was called Rocco’s Modern Life. They asked would I make a tape. I did, and it was just right time, right place. They went on to write it and send it off to New York.

‘LL: Looking through your IMDb, your voiceover résumé is quite extensive. What are some of the favorite characters that you’ve voiced throughout your career?

CA: Always, first and foremost, will be Rocco from Rocco’s Modern Life, because he was my first. Then, there’s Mr. Crocker from Fairly Oddparents, and there’s Mr. Weed from Family Guy. That was fun to be part of that franchise. Then, the Taco Bell Chihuahua I thought was pretty life-changing. Now, I’m Carlos on The Casagrandes and also got to play Sergio the Parrot on The Casagrandes. Also, I’ve been able to play Duggard on Dragons: Rescue Riders. There’s also Winslow from CatDog because he was such a mean guy. Those are some of my favorites for sure. I like playing Bane from Batman. That was pretty fun as well. I’ve been lucky.

‘LL: Later on, in your voiceover career you began to work with more Latino characters like El Chupacabra on Disney’s Planes, for example. Was that direction fueled by your Latino roots?

CA: Certainly. My parents are from Argentina. Tengo amigos de México y amigos peruanos. So, I’ve always been adept at doing at least a neutral Spanish accent, and so El Chu is sort of that neutral Colombian. That gives me my ability to sort of mimic those sorts of accents, and I proceeded by doing a couple of other Latino characters on El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera with Jorge Gutierrez and Book of Life. I always had those in my arsenal because of what I grew up listening to with my mom and how she spoke and her friends, etc.

‘LL: How important do you think Latino representation is when it comes to cartoons and the characters that kids see every day on TV?

CA: I think it’s really important. I’m kind of proud of The Casagrandes because it’s actually multicultural. We have a Puerto Rican woman who’s playing the abuela. An Argentinian playing Carlos. We have Roxana Ortega, Alex Cazares. Lalo Alcaraz is also our script and cultural consultant. Miguel Pugas, it’s his story. We have Izabella Alvarez; whose father is from Peru and her mother is Mexican.

And so, we have this really multicultural Latino cast representing sort of a multicultural, big, extended family living above a bodega. I think it really works well. There’s also Ruben Garifas, who plays Abuelo Hector, and he’s just a great actor. It’s just a great, great cast. Eugenio Derbez, who is of course the famous Mexican actor, and he plays Izabella’s father. We also have Sumalee Montano who’s Filipino and Thai. She’s a wonderful actress. We really have this well-rounded cast on that show, and I think it works really great.

‘LL: Reno 911! was moved to Quibi. How did production go?

CA: We wrapped the first batch of episodes that are out already on Quibi. Those were shot in February. There are subsequent episodes coming out officially near the end of August. If you’re currently on Quibi, wait—there will be more!

‘LL: How does production change when filming for Quibi since their platform is set for short, 10-minute episodes?

CA: Yeah, it’ll catalog our morning briefings all into a couple of days, whereas before we would shoot four weeks on with 10 days off. Since it’s more call-heavy and less scene-heavy in terms of interconnection, we have more time to shoot a bunch of sketches. You can crank out a lot of ideas in a short amount of time.

‘LL: Tell us a bit about your horror-comedy film Witness Infection.

CA: We started shooting December 2018. I started writing late 2016 with Jill-Michele Melean, who I met years ago at the Latino Laugh Festival. We came full circle this year in February to the Pop Comedy Festival, which is produced by the same team as the Latino Laugh Festival, and we premiered the film there. It did well and won awards. It’s a horror-comedy in the vein of Shaun of the Dead. The logline is a mob boss’s son is trying desperately to get out of an arranged marriage and, luckily, his friends and the zombie apocalypse are there to bail him out.

You have two families on Witness Infection. I play Mr. Serelli. My son Carlo is played by Rob Belushi. He’s gotta marry Patricia Niola because we blew up with her family. We gotta patch things together because she’s actually my oldest son Dominic’s girlfriend, but he’s shooting blanks, and Mr. Niola wants his grandson. So, boom!

This wedding’s gotta happen. Introduce poison sausage, and, uh-oh. Now, the whole world is turned upside down. People are getting sick, turning into zombies. I’ve always been fascinated with both genres – The Sopranos, Good Fellas – and I’ve always loved a great zombie flick. I think Jill and I were really inspired by Shaun of the Dead and wanted to make up a story out of it, rather than just a gag film. We have a good story, a good beginning, middle and end for three of our characters who go on this journey to try to save families and keep from getting killed. It’s a lot of fun, good gore. It was a 15-day shoot, low budget comedy. A lot of people are digging it. I hope soon that we’ll be able to announce it on a streaming format.

‘LL: Indie films tend to come with challenges since most are self-produced by the creators themselves as opposed to big production companies. Were there any challenges when producing the film that you guys encountered?

CA: There’s been challenges. You try to do an Indiegogo to raise additional funds for editing and post-production, and it’s hard unless you do it right. There are so many projects that want your money or need money to finish but, luckily, I was able to have enough to where I could self-finance a great deal of it. And so, we weren’t limited in terms of money per se, but there were other challenges.

For example, we wanted a nighttime scene with hunters and forests, and my director was keen enough to tell me, “Well, you can’t afford a cherry picker to light up the whole forest. That’s going to be about a million bucks a month.” Oh, okay, yeah let’s shoot that during the day. There are limitations. If at one location we got rained out or we lost an actor that we had to replace with another actor. Nobody got sick or injured, which was nice.

We had some challenging locations for sure. But, for the most part, everybody pulled away with positive rating on the film. We’ve got a good little project that they can go check out the trailer and go, “Man, this looks like a couple million-dollar budget.” We did a great job, and it was a blast and it’s a labor of love. I just want people to see it. It’s just a great cast, and the feedback I’m getting is that every character has a solid part. There’s no sort of wasted character.

‘LL: Where can our readers go to find out when it will stream?

CA: Our people who donate on the Indiegogo and our readers and fans, you can go to, and check out our reviews, check out the poster and the trailer. I think we have a few behind the scenes photos, too.

‘LL: What else do you have coming down the pike?

CA: We have Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years on Nickelodeon. I play a character named Nobby and a couple of other characters. We also have Maya and the Three, which is a Jorge Gutierrez-directed and -created project coming out Fall 2021 on Netflix. Also, there’s Trese, which is a Filipino graphic novel. I play Anton, the father of the lead character, and a couple of other characters. That’s coming out. I’m going to be doing some work coming up on Victor and Valentino on Cartoon Network. Also, doing voiceover for American Dad and Family Guy, some things on Duncanville and, hopefully, more. I’ve been lucky having a home studio definitely helps.

‘LL: What’s some advice you have for aspiring indie filmmakers, actors and/or voiceover actors that are out there trying to get their foot in the door?

CA: Regardless of any project, you must have perseverance to keep going. Have a strategy. Be prepared to have setbacks but keep going. For voiceovers, study characters, people, watch plays, watch old movies. Get your own YouTube channel. Make content. Get on TikTok. Create your content. Get on Instagram. Create your content. Take a class. Get a reel. You can take the reins of the horse yourself. You can make your own content with your own channels and show people what you can do. If you’re going to make your own film, you budget and get the best people that you can. If you don’t think that you can direct your own film like me – I knew I couldn’t direct it myself – hire a great director. It’s about learning how to assemble talent and being patient. I just encourage everyone, especially now, to just create. Stick with your families and friends and create great stuff.


More Nick: Nickelodeon Announces Voice Cast for 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years', First-Ever 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Spinoff!

Originally published: Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

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