Interview: Kari Wahlgren talks Rick and Morty, Fairly Odd Parents and more


Photo Credit: Kari Wahlgren, photographed by Michael Becker

Seasoned voice actress Kari Wahlgren talks Rick and Morty, Fairly Odd Parents and one of her newest projects, OK KO Let’s Be Heroes.

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You might not recognize Kari Wahlgren when you see her, but once she opens her mouth, you probably will. Wahlgren is known for voicing characters from some of the most popular shows on TV including Rick and MortyThe Fairly Odd Parents and FLCL. In addition to TV, she has worked on multiple animes, video games and movies you might recognize or watch.

Beginning her career in the 2000’s, Wahlgren has been a consistent voice-acting performer and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Thankfully, she did take some time out of her busy schedule to sit down and talk with me. She talked about her current projects, an animated show she would like to guest star on and of course, Rick and Morty. I’d like to thank Kari for talking with me and putting up with my incessant fangirling!

Hidden Remote: When you’re approached, what role do most fans recognize you from?

Kari Wahlgren: The funny thing is it varies, a lot. If I’m in a crowd with a lot of people who know anime, it’s usually Haruko from FLCL. Original animation, it’s all over the place. Right now, a lot of people are mentioning Starfire from the Teen Titans movie and from Injustice 2 so I’m getting that a lot.

Hidden Remote: What’s one myth people seem to have about voice actors and their careers?

Kari Wahlgren: Maybe that anyone can do it. You hear the thing of ‘People tell me I have a good voice, I should do voice overs’ and it’s actually such a skill. The most talented actors that I know are voice actors so I think there’s a misconception that it’s very easy. The people I know that are really good at are just incredibly talented and very hard-working.

Hidden Remote: You play Jessica on Rick and Morty, but she has yet to appear on season 3. What do you believe will happen next for her?

Kari Wahlgren: Well I do know a couple of things that are going to happen to her this season, but I can’t really give any spoilers. I can say, she’s definitely going to be appearing in season 3 and will go a little bit deeper into Rick and Morty’s interaction with her and Morty’s crush on her and where that may go.

Hidden Remote: Jessica is one of the main characters you’ve played on Rick and Morty, who else would fans recognize you as?

Kari Wahlgren: I also play the voice of Rick’s space ship [Season 2’s The Ricks Must Be Crazy] so the ‘Keep Summer Safe’ episode where the spaceship was talking to Summer, that was me. I do a lot of the incidental voices so anytime there’s an alien or creature or a random woman. A lot of times, that’s me. I pop up a lot.

Hidden Remote: How is it working with Justin Roiland on Rick and Morty?

Kari Wahlgren: He is great. He and I worked on Fish Hooks together for Disney before Rick and Morty and that’s how we knew each other. When I auditioned for Rick and Morty, he heard my audition and remembered me and cast me in the show. He’s one of the smartest people I have ever met in my life. His brain just works on another level and he just really has such a vision for the show. Every time I work with him, I’m always so impressed by him.

Hidden Remote: Were you one of the people who got to try to Schezucan sauce?

Kari Wahlgren: I was not around, sadly. Although I remember that sauce and I remember eating that sauce when it came out and thinking it was pretty good so I’m hoping they bring it back.

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Hidden Remote: In 2016, you joined the Fairly Odd Parents as Chloe Carmichael, how was it joining a series in its 10th season?

Kari Wahlgren: It’s interesting to come in late in a series like that because the cast has been working together for so long and it’s a well-oiled machine so you’re kind of thrown in the deep end of the pool in that way.

They were very welcoming and we had a lot of fun together, recording the show and it just moves very quickly because, by that point, the director knows what he wants. The cast knows what they’re doing, it’s like jumping on a very fast horse and hanging on for dear life.

Hidden Remote: Chloe is one of the few female characters on the Fairly Odd Parents, how did that affect your portrayal of her in the show? 

Kari Wahlgren: I don’t know if the fact that she’s a female character really influenced the performance very much. I can say that she reminded me in some ways a lot of myself when I was younger. That type A, kind of overachieving girl and very excitable about things, lots of energy, a little perky so she did remind me a little bit of myself at a younger age which was a lot of fun to play.

Hidden Remote: You’re currently playing Shannon on OK KO Let’s Be Heroes, what drew you to the project and her character in particular?  

Kari Wahlgren: You will officially be my first interview questions about OK KO Let’s Be Heroes. We did the pilot for it 4 years ago and it’s been a long time so it was really cool. They contacted me and said ‘Hey, the show got picked up and we’re gonna be making episodes and we want you to come back and play Shannon.’ It’s just been so cool to work with Ian [ Jones-Quartey] and Toby [Jones] on this project because as someone who started out in anime, it’s so much fun to be doing an original animation show that has so many callbacks and so much to love for the anime genre.

It kind of felt like coming full circle with my personal voice over journey so that’s been really cool and Shannon is so much fun to play. They keep giving her these ridiculous situations to be in and I got to sing the Diarrhea song so it’s been a blast. It’s been so much fun.

Hidden Remote: Can you share any details about Shannon’s future on OK KO Let’s Be Heroes?

Kari Wahlgren: There is going to be a very very cool episode coming up where maybe we explore a little bit of romance with Shannon and that’s all I can say. It’s been my favorite episode I’ve recorded so I cannot wait to see it.

Hidden Remote: Do you prefer to work on adult animated shows or animated shows geared towards kids?

Kari Wahlgren: I don’t have a preference. I actually really like the variety, I’ve always been very very grateful that I get a chance to do a lot of different kinds of voice-over because, after a while, I wouldn’t want to just be doing action-adventure cartoons or just video games or just preschool shows. I really love having the chance to do all of it because it really stretches you as an artist. You get to explore and do a lot of different things.

Hidden Remote: What’s one animated show you have yet to work on but would love to?

Kari Wahlgren: Probably DC Superhero Girls. I absolutely love the artwork. I love the very strong girl role models on the show. I love the head writer of the show, it’s just such a great project so I’m hoping something will come along that I get to do a little guest spot or something on it.

Hidden Remote: Do you have any current projects you’re working on fans should be on the lookout for? 

Kari Wahlgren: OK KO Let’s Be Heroes is the most recent one that launched and I was really excited to get to talk about that. The Nut Job 2 just came out in theaters and I play Jamie in that. As far as new projects coming out, I’ve got a few things I can’t talk about quite yet and I will be doing a guest spot on Elena of Avalor soon.

You can reach out to Kari on her social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.