In the year 1999, we were introduced to an amphibious sponge who has lived in both a pineapple under the sea and a special place in our hearts for the last two decades.
Along with Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, and Eugene Krabs, Spongebob Squarepants has remained the best friend in all of our heads, but as reports of a new spinoff surface online, folks are dying to know more about their favorite Bikini Bottom resident.
While many of us have spent the past 20 years getting to know Spongebob, who is the man behind the pants?
Meet Tom Kenny, the man who voices Spongebob Squarepants.
While it has been decided by the internet that Spongebob’s real age is undetermined and up for interpretation, this fact makes it hard for viewers to match the character’s voice with a face.
Luckily, a quick search will reveal that the actor who voices the Krusty Krab employee is Tom Kenny, a 58-year-old comedian from New York who has also been featured on Adventure Time, Rocko’s Modern Life, CatDog, The Powerpuff Girls, and dozens of other animated projects.
In an interview, Tom, who, according to his Instagram, is also the lead singer in a rock and soul band, expressed his appreciation for his on-screen character and showed his respect for the voice actors who came before him, most specifically Mel Blanc, who was best known for his roles as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig.
He told Esquire, “I was a kid who grew up loving cartoons and thinking the people that did the voices of them all the time. Other guys would fantasize about meeting whatever sports stars or whatever, and I would fantasize about hanging out with Mel Blanc.”
Anyone born from the ‘90s to the 2000s can tell you that Spongebob was probably the most lovable cartoon character to ever grace our television screens and according to Tom, when he gets the opportunity to connect with the Spongebob Squarepants fanbase, the feeling is totally mutual.
He added, “[The fondness] is tied up with their childhood, you know what I mean? Like they remember, you know, old times, people that are gone, how their lives are changed. Whatever it is, people get really emotional, you know, and I’m an emotional Irish guy, so next thing you know I’m sobbing along with them.”
The series, which has aired for more than a dozen seasons, is one that has been on-air for as long as some of us can remember, but are new episodes still coming on?
Is ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ still going?
Season 13 of Spongebob Squarepants began airing in October of 2020. While showrunners have yet to confirm whether or not the series will return for another season, a series spinoff debuted on Paramount+ on March 4, and it gave a glimpse into the character’s earlier years at sleepaway camp.
In Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke (who plays Patrick Star), and several other Spongebob Squarepants alum reprise their roles and give us the prequel we didn’t know we needed.
New episodes of Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years are available for streaming on Thursdays via Paramount+.