15 Surprising Celebrities Who Voiced Characters on SpongeBob SquarePants

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Nickelodeon

by Jenny Morrill

There are some voices in SpongeBob SquarePants that are instantly recognizable—SpongeBob's shrill laugh, Squidward's nasal complaining, Mr. Krabs's pirate-esque demands for yet more money. Occasionally, though, a voice pops up that's familiar in a different way.

If you ever watched an episode of SpongeBob and found yourself thinking “Hey, isn't that ... ?,” you probably weren't imagining things. The show is littered with guest voices from all walks of life, and here are 15 of the most memorable.

1. JOHNNY DEPP

In the season six episode "SpongeBob vs The Big One," Depp plays Jack Kahuna Laguna, a surf guru attempting to teach SpongeBob and his friends some of his surf moves. This episode also features a cameo by The Monkees's Davy Jones as himself.

3. MARK HAMILL

The Star Wars actor appears in the episode "Night Light" as The Moth, an arch enemy of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.

3. DAVID BOWIE

SpongeBob SquarePants
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The late rock legend starred in the made-for-TV feature length special Atlantis SquarePantis as Lord Royal Highness, ruler of Atlantis who becomes annoyed with SpongeBob when he accidentally pops the world's oldest bubble.

4. VICTORIA BECKHAM

The former Spice Girl makes an appearance in the season six episode "The Clash Of Triton," as Queen Amphitrite. Well, of course she was going to be playing royalty.

5. CHRISTOPHER GUEST

The Spinal Tap legend plays Stanley S. SquarePants, SpongeBob's accident-prone cousin, in the season five episode of the same name. But Guest isn't the only member of Spinal Tap to have a guest role on the show...

6. MICHAEL MCKEAN

In the season nine episode "License To Milkshake," SpongeBob discovers his milkshake license has expired, so he must go back to the Milkshake Academy and relearn his skill under the tutelage of Captain Frosty Mug, voiced by McKean.

7. IAN MCSHANE


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Star of Lovejoy to some, star of Deadwood to others. In the season six episode "Dear Vikings," McShane plays Gordon, leader of a group of Vikings from whom SpongeBob wants to learn about Viking history.

8. MARION ROSS

Better known as ultimate TV mom Marion Cunningham from Happy Days, Ross had a recurring role on the show between 2010 and 2011 as Grandma SquarePants.

9. GENE SIMMONS

Yes, that Gene Simmons: Gene Simmons from KISS. In the season five episode "20,000 Patties Under The Sea," Simmons plays a sea monster who has been asleep for the last 79 years, only to be woken up by ... you guessed it: SpongeBob and Patrick.

10. JOHNNY KNOXVILLE

The Jackass star appears in the season nine episode "Extreme Spots," in which SpongeBob and Patrick attempt to join a stunt team called The Drastic Radicals. Knoxville plays Johnny Krill, one of the lead stunt performers in the team.

11. PAT MORITA

Most fondly remembered as Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies, Pat Morita definitely can't be accused of playing against type in SpongeBob. In the season four episode "Karate Island," he plays a self-styled karate guru who will stop at nothing to sell timeshares to SpongeBob.

12. AND 13. ADAM WEST AND BURT WARD


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In the season seven episode "Back To The Past," the original Batman and Robin star as a young version of their SpongeBob counterparts, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, whose adult selves are voiced by Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway.

14. RAY LIOTTA

By no means the only A-list actor to appear on SpongeBob, the Goodfellas star appears in the season five special "WhoBob WhatPants" (also known as "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?") as leader of the street gang the Bubble Poppin' Boys.

15. PANTERA

Scary rock metal guys Pantera have a song featured in the season two episode "Prehibernation Week." The song accompanies a montage of Sandy and SpongeBob taking part in the most dangerous activities they can think of.

The Psychology Behind Kids' L.O.L. Surprise! Doll Obsession

Jack Taylor, Getty Images
Jack Taylor, Getty Images

Isaac Larian, the founder and CEO of toymaker MGA Entertainment, is an insomniac. Fortunately for him, that inability to sleep forced him to get up out of bed one night—a move that ended up being worth $4 billion.

Larian’s company is the architect of L.O.L. Surprise!, a line of dolls with a clever conceit. The product, which retails for about $10 to $20, is encased in a ball-shaped plastic shell and buried under layers of packaging, forcing children to tear through a gauntlet of wrapping before they’re able to see it. The inspiration came on that highly profitable sleepless night, which Larian spent watching unboxing videos on YouTube. It resulted in the first toy made for a generation wired for delayed gratification.

The dolls first went on sale in test markets at select Target stores in late 2016. MGA shipped out 500,000 of them, all of which sold out within two months. A Cabbage Patch Kid-esque frenzy came the following year. By late 2018, L.O.L. Surprise! (the acronym stands for the fancifully redundant Little Outrageous Little) had moved 800 million units, accounted for seven of the top 10 toys sold in the U.S., and was named Toy of the Year by the Toy Association. Videos of kids and adults unboxing them garner millions of views on YouTube, which is precisely where Larian knew his marketing would be most effective.

A woman holds a L.O.L. Surprise doll and packaging in her hand
Cindy Ord, Getty Images for MGA Entertainment

The dolls themselves are nothing revolutionary. Once freed from their plastic prisons, they stare at their owner with doe-eyed expressions. Some “tinkle,” while others change color in water. They can be dressed in accessories found in the balls or paired with tiny pets (which also must be "unboxed"). Larger bundles, like last year’s $89.99 L.O.L. Bigger Surprise! capsule, feature a plethora of items, each individually wrapped. It took a writer from The New York Times 59 minutes to uncover everything inside.

This methodical excavation is what makes L.O.L. Surprise! so appealing to its pint-sized target audience. Though MGA was advised that kids wouldn’t want to buy something they couldn’t see, Larian and his executives had an instinctual understanding of what child development experts already knew: Kids like looking forward to things.

Dr. Rachel Barr, director of Georgetown University’s Early Learning Project, told The Atlantic that unboxing videos tickle the part of a child’s brain that enjoys anticipation. By age 4 or 5, they have a concept of “the future,” or events that will unfold somewhere other than the present. However, Barr said, they’re also wary of being scared by an unforeseen outcome. In an unboxing video, they know the payoff will be positive and not, say, a live tarantula.

L.O.L. Surprise! is engineered to prolong that anticipatory joy, with kids peeling away wrapping like an onion for up to 20 minutes at a time. The effect is not entirely novel—baseball card collectors have been buying and unwrapping card packs without knowing exactly what’s inside for decades—but paired with social media, MGA was able to strike oil. The dolls now have 350 licensees making everything from bed sheets to apparel. Collectors—or their parents—can buy a $199.99 doll house. So-called “boy toys” are now lurking inside the wrappers, with one, the mohawk-sporting Punk Boi, causing a mild stir for being what MGA calls “anatomically correct.” His tiny plastic genital area facilitates a peeing function.

Whether L.O.L. Surprise! bucks conventional toy trends and continues its popularity beyond a handful of holiday seasons remains to be seen. Already, MGA is pushing alternative products like Poopsie Slime Surprise, a unicorn that can be fed glitter and poops a viscous green slime. An official unboxing video has been viewed 4.2 million times and counting.

The 8 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2019

Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Jessica Rothe in Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Michele K. Short, Universal Pictures

Between Hereditary, A Quiet Place, and Halloween, 2018 was a killer year for horror moviesand 2019 is shaping up to be just as impressive. While remakes seem to be dominating the schedule in the coming months, there are plenty of sequels, adaptations, and even a few promising original titles coming out as well. Here are some of the scary movies we're most looking forward to seeing this year.

1. Us

In 2017, Jordan Peele revolutionized the horror genre with Get Out. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker plans to do the same again with Us, which features a predominantly black cast—a rarity for a horror movie. "I dedicated a lot of myself to creating a new horror mythology and a new monster," Peele said of the film. "I think that monsters and stories about monsters are our best ways of getting at deeper truths and facing our fears as a society ... It’s also important to note that this movie, unlike Get Out, is not about race. It is instead about something I feel has become an undeniable truth. That is the simple fact that we are our own worst enemies." Us, which stars Elisabeth Moss and Lupita Nyong'o, arrives in theaters on March 22, 2019.

2. IT: Chapter 2

Stephen King fans were thrilled with 2017's IT, the second adaptation of the horror master's beloved 1986 novel. Andy Muschietti is sitting in the director's chair again for the second chapter, which will follow the Losers Club as they return to Derry, Maine in their adult years. While Bill Skarsgård will reprise his role as Pennywise, impressive new additions to the cast include Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James McAvoy. The film debuts on September 6, 2019.

3. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

If you’ve been a horror fiend since childhood, you’ll no doubt remember Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series. The books included memorable illustrations by Stephen Gammell, some of which no doubt haunted many children’s nightmares. The film adaptation will be released on August 9, 2019.

4. Zombieland 2

Venom director Ruben Fleischer's feature debut, 2009's Zombieland, was an instant hit with both horror and comedy fans. And they've been waiting 10 years for a sequel. Finally, we’ll be getting a second film this year with Fleischer directing and Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and even Bill Murray all confirmed to return. Zombieland 2 is set to hit theaters on October 11, 2019.

5. Happy Death Day 2U

The hilariously bad-but-fun Happy Death Day (2017) surprised audiences with how flat-out entertaining it was, so much so that fans were thrilled to hear there were plans for a sequel. Much like the original movie, the second film will follow protagonist Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) as she’s killed every single day. But this time, the killer is coming for her friends, too. Happy Death Day 2U premieres on February 14, 2019.

6. Pet Sematary

Though Mary Lambert's original Pet Sematary (1989) was not met with much critical acclaim, fans of the Stephen King novel were pleased with the adaptation, and are excited to see the story come to life again. The remake, which is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and stars John Lithgow and Jason Clarke, debuts on April 5, 2019.

7. Child’s Play

When rumors began swirling that there was going to be another Chucky movie, and that it would be a remake of the original Child’s Play at that, people—including the original series creator Don Mancini—didn't initially seem too excited.

But as more details—including a cast list that includes Aubrey Plaza and Brian Tyree Henry—were made public, interest in the project seemed to grow. Child’s Play hits theaters June 21, 2019.

8. The Prodigy

Creepy kids will never fail to make terrifying horror movie villains. In The Prodigy, Taylor Schilling’s character discovers something supernatural might be happening to her son when he starts acting as if he’s possessed. (Spoiler alert: He probably is). The film will be released on February 8, 2019.

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