Patrick Warburton reflects on 'The Tick,' 10 years later
October 19th, 2011
04:12 PM ET

Patrick Warburton reflects on 'The Tick,' 10 years later

"Wicked men - you face the Tick!"

For just a few weeks in the fall of 2001, that battle cry (not to mention the even more famous "Spoon!") aired on the Fox network on Thursday nights, to the delight of "Tick" fans everywhere.

After the animated version of "The Tick," which was a runaway hit in the 1990s, it only made sense for the network to do a live action primetime show out of Ben Edlund's much beloved independent comic book (which has been going strong now for 25 years).

However, in the era of "Friends'" dominance over Thursday night TV, the comic book satire, about an overly enthusiastic, large superhero and his costumed friends, didn't stand a chance, and soon joined the long list of canceled Fox sci-fi/fantasy series.

CNN Geek Out recently spoke to actor Patrick Warburton (currently starring in CBS' sitcom "Rules of Engagement," whose new season premieres on Thursday night), about some of his most memorable roles (most of them in animation), but the one that he was most passionate to talk about was his time playing the Big Blue Bug of Justice, The Tick (and he had a lot to say about wearing that suit).

CNN Geek Out: What do you remember about your time working on "The Tick?"

Warburton: The Tick costume was miserable, I got slathered down in K-Y jelly and it would be early in the morning, when it was cold, and I’d slip that costume on, and it was just a miserable experience. And then the rest of the day would be hours of cooking in that thing and sloshing around.

At the same time, it was awesome and I felt like it was a privilege to play that character. Ben Edlund’s character is so brilliant and for anyone to get that opportunity, they should feel very fortunate.

I know in the future someone will get that opportunity because the Tick will never die, and they’ll do another Tick five years, 10 years, 20 years, they’ll do it and someone else will get that privilege and it will be great.

CNN Geek Out: So which role do people ask you about the most?

Warburton: I think it’s interesting how the Tick has survived through the years. When you do nine or 10 episodes of a show and it gets canceled, you see how that lives on and it’s a sweet thing.

At the time we loved it, and at the time we knew we had something smart and something special. We knew the powers that be at Fox were making a huge mistake. That was the year they discovered reality TV, and they weren’t going to support a show like "The Tick" that cost a bit more.

This might seem really grandiose but ultimately society gets deprived of something that’s really creative and different for total junk food. That’s not just a bitter actor saying "'eff' you, see, you were wrong." It's just that, if you couldn’t see the creativity and how "The Tick" is special and different then, good luck!

I’ve found throughout the years too, "The Tick" fans are a cerebral bunch. There are those who like to think outside the box, those with a skewed sense of humor, who really love "The Tick." There’s something lovable about The Tick, something quirky about The Tick. I’m grateful I got to be a part of it.

In a few years they’ll come to their senses and decide it’s time to do The Tick" again. Some other lucky guy will get it, it’s probably not going to be me. Maybe it was a little before its time.

CNN Geek Out: Another role that fans remember well is Kronk, the evil Yzma's none-too-bright assistant in the Disney animated film, "The Emperor's New Groove."

Warburton: It was so much fun to do. I love that character. When I first went in to read for it, I didn’t know what a "Kronk" was. Disney was very secretive. They could be monsters, robots, trolls, I didn’t know. I just imagined what a "Kronk" might sound like and that’s where I came up with that voice.

CNN Geek Out: You're also a longtime cast member of the popular show, "Family Guy." Is the role of Joe Swanson like putting on an old shoe now?

Warburton: Yes. "Family Guy" will probably be around for a while, I enjoy working with Seth, he’s a good guy to work with, charming and everyone enjoys hanging with the guy. He’s one of those guys who’s got the world at his feet, so let’s see what he continues to do in that realm.

CNN Geek Out: Another series that has a big following at San Diego Comic-Con and Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia, is "The Venture Bros," [which airs on Adult Swim, owned by Time Warner, which owns CNN] where you play the hulking Brock Samson.

Warburton: "Venture Bros." has quite the following and that’s been lots of fun to do.

I'd love to go out to Dragon*Con one year. This year at Comic-Con, we had a blast. I’d love to dress up one year, maybe as a sexy anime chick. It would be lots of makeup and still be awful, but it would be fun!


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