Viewers of more adult animation may have noticed a curious commonality between Archer and Bob’s Burgers. What could Archer Sterling, the handsome, deadly, and narcissistic spy, and Bob Belcher, the middle-aged family-man, share in common? They have the same voice! They share one memorable dead-pan baritone. This is the unique voice of H. Jon Benjamin.
Harry Jon Benjamin was born in 1966 in Worcester, MA, and attended Connecticut College, starting his early comedy career in Boston with his friend Sam Seder (who hosts a political radio show and plays Hugo in Bob’s Burgers). Jon Benjamin got his start as a member of Cross Comedy in the 1990s, a comedy troupe organized by David Cross (who will be in the upcoming mockumentary series Guru Nation). H. Jon Benjamin has lent his iconic voice to many characters over the years, including a memorable can of vegetables in the endlessly quotable Wet Hot American Summer and its sequel series 10 Years Later. Here are some of the major projects he was involved in.
8 Who’s the Caboose? (Ken Fold)
Who’s the Caboose? was a satirical comedy movie starting Sam Seder and Sarah Silverman about a couple moving from Manhattan to LA in order to secure a spot for themselves in the industry. Jon Benjamin is wonderful as a smarmy, idiotic Hollywood agent, and compliments a vast cast of comedians in the film (including the aforementioned David Cross). A follow-up series to the movie was made in 2004 called Pilot Season.
7 Home Movies (Jason and Coach McGuirk)
Home Movies was a wonderful and influential animated series that followed the story of a group of kids who made film productions at home. It dealt with topics like divorce, adoption, and alcoholism, but in a hilarious way. The show had a great reception, and to this day still has a cult following. H. Jon Benjamin played the part of Jason, a sugar-addicted young boy with a ridiculously nasal voice; he also plays the part of the legendary Coach McGuirk, a deadbeat who angrily coaches soccer. The show is co-created by Loren Bouchard, who would go on to cast Jon Benjamin in Bob’s Burgers and Central Park.
6 Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist (Ben)
Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist was a groundbreaking cartoon, innovating a style of deadpan, quiet humor that is still seen today. The squiggly series is about Dr. Katz, a therapist who tries to both solve his patient’s personal problems and his own. Ben, voiced by Benjamin, is Dr. Katz’s son, an unemployed young man who lives with his father and frequents the video store. He is enamored by his father’s secretary Laura (played by Laura Silverman). His rapport with Jonathan Katz (the actor playing the eponymous character) is delightful. The show is also famous for its impressively massive list of cameos, as stars came on to improvise as Katz’s patients; guests included Ray Romano, Joy Behar, Louis C.K., Garry Shandling, Marc Maron, Dave Attell, Steven Wright, Emo Phillips, Todd Barry, Winona Ryder, Rodney Dangerfield, Kathy Griffin, Kevin Nealon, Jon Stewart, Joan Rivers, and myriad more.
5 Jon Benjamin Has a Van (Himself)
This mockumentary-style show was produced by Jon Benjamin with Leo Allen, and starred himself as a megalomaniacal television host. While the show was short-lived and only one season, it paved the way for many similar shows and segments (like Jordan Klepper’s segments on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah) and starred a variety of comedy greats, including David Cross again and the always subversive Tim and Eric. Jon Benjamin Has a Van sees Benjamin stepping out from voice acting and pretending to be an investigative journalist who travels around in a van covering interesting stories, but the episodes always go in dark, absurdist directions. It was one of the most underrated and funniest Comedy Central shows.
4 Family Guy (Carl)
Family Guy is a long-running animated show for a raunchier audience, and it has had many famous people doing cameos over the years. One of those cameos happens to be Benjamin, in the recurring role of Carl. Carl is the manager of the local gas station/ convenience store. There he has encounters with all the members of the family, being a great friend to Chris (Seth Greene), and hating Meg (Mila Kunis). He brings his usual deadpan style here.
3 Archer (Archer)
This is arguably what put H. Jon Benjamin on the map (for anyone who wasn’t a Home Movies fan). Archer is an animated series about a spy agency that doesn’t follow any rules or regulations and stirs up a lot of action-packed trouble. Archer is still coming out with new episodes, diving into their 13th season. H. Jon Benjamin voices the lead titular character; his baritone no-nonsense voice is great at bringing the handsome but hilariously immoral spy to life, and brings a sexiness here unlike any other character he’s played.
2 Bob’s Burgers (Bob)
Bob’s Burgers is an adorable show about the Belchers, a family who owns their own burger restaurant and faces various comical problems in their beautifully animated small beachfront town. H. Jon Benjamin voices Bob Belcher, an overweight and kind middle-aged father to three children, Louise (Kristen Schaal), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Tina (Dan Mintz). The cast of Bob’s Burgers is phenomenal and what really makes the show great. The long-running, beloved cartoon show is being turned into a movie.
1 Central Park (Whitney Whitebottom)
Central Park shares a lot in common with Bob’s Burgers, mostly thanks their creator Loren Bouchad. Anyone can burst into song (akin to his Home Movies show), and the characters are animated similarly. In the series, a group of characters fight to save New York’s Central Park. The show is star-studded, with roles by Kristen Bell (until she stepped down), Stanley Tucci, Eugene Cordero. and Fred Armisen. Whitney Whitebottom, played by Benjamin, is the mayor of New York, a recurring character involved in what happens to the park.