Originally trained in theater and well-versed in the comedy stylings of the past, Dana Snyder is not your typical voice actor.
Known to millions around the world as the voice of the wise-cracking milk shake Master Shake on Cartoon Networks’ hit show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Snyder is currently one of the most talented voice actors in the business.
Despite his current success, however, the way Snyder landed the role of Master Shake had as much to do with luck as it did talent.
“I went to college with a girl who went to high school with Dave Willis (Co-creator of Aqua Teen with Matt Maiellaro),” said Snyder, via telephone in Los Angeles. “He called her up, asking if she knew anyone in New York that had a weird voice for the show they were doing and that’s it. She gave them my name; then I auditioned and the rest is history.”
While Dave Willis is noted for being the voice of both Carl and Meatwad on Aqua Teen, providing a big part of the show’s humor, many would say that it’s Snyder’s character, Master Shake, which provides the show with the backbone that has led to its success.
Snyder’s comedic influences have also played a huge role in the way Master Shake is portrayed as well.
“I’m into old showbiz stuff like Don Rickles, which I think reflects in Master Shake, of course. I always inject little secret nods to my old comedic heroes,” said Snyder. “Frequently, people will think, ‘Oh, he made that up’ and I’ll say, ‘Well, I kind of stole it from that guy or whatever.'”
Snyder also credits his parents for helping to shape his sense of humor, giving him freedom to express himself and exposing him to a variety of different sources of entertainment when he was young.
“My parents were always very supportive of what I was doing; that always helps,” said Snyder. “They never said, ‘I don’t want you to do this,’ or ‘You can’t do that,’ unless I wanted to set the couch on fire or something.
“When I was growing up, my dad was always watching old W.C. Fields movies and stuff, so I always sort of watched them, too, and I think a lot of my humor comes out of that,”said Snyder. That’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t normally be exposed to if I was watching the things my friends were telling me to watch.”
Regardless of what anyone says concerning the reasons for the success of Aqua Teen, Snyder believes that it is the unity among everyone involved in the show that has led to its monumental success.
“I love being a part of Aqua Teen,” said Snyder. “I think my favorite part is just being so surprised by how popular it’s been. I never thought it would. When we did it the first time, it was like, well, this is really going to be nothing. We were just making this little cartoon for no money and now it’s so enjoyable and amazing to see how into it people are.”
“Everyone at Adult Swim in Atlanta are really nice guys. Dave (Willis) and Matt (Maiellaro) are people who I would be friends with anyway [if he wasn’t on Aqua Teen]. Jay [Aqua Teen Executive Producer and Editor, Jay Edwards] is coming out to LA next week to visit for the weekend and stuff. I don’t know if that’s normal. It sort of is like a family, where we’re genuinely interested in what each other is doing. There really is a comradery between us all. It’s like we’re just a bunch of weird, super-funny guys hanging out.”
In addition to Aqua Teen, Snyder also appears on two other cartoon network shows, playing Granny on Squidbillies, a cartoon about a group of squids that live in Georgia and Dr. Wang on Minori-Team, a cartoon about a group of minority superheroes that use their stereotypes to defeat the â€œGreat White Shadow.â€
Snyder also has a podcast available on his website, Eyeofthesnyder.com, that is equally entertaining.
It is this versatility that will undoubtedly play a huge role in the future success of Snyder’s career. Nonetheless, while Snyder himself is happy with the way his career is progressing right now, he knows he still has things to accomplish before he ends his career.
As far as the near future is concerned, Snyder has set some pretty lofty goals for himself.
“Probably making 150 to 200 million dollars a year,” said Snyder. â€œAnd having a fleet of Lamborghinis, all with the day of the week printed on the hood next to my face, pointing to it that says, ‘This is my Wednesday car.’ Unless it’s the Thursday one, then it’ll say Thursday.”
This article was originally published in May 2006.
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