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Fans of The Simpsons were dealt a heavy blow last week when it was revealed longtime voice actor Harry Shearer would be leaving the series, opening the door for another actor to step in and say howdily-doodily for future seasons. And that actor may have already reared his yellow head, as comedian and impressionist Brock Baker has released an unofficial audition video for the job, where he performs 14 of Harry Shearer’s characters.
Now, it’s obvious that Baker isn’t exactly a audible spitting image of Shearer, but if you close your eyes while listening to the video, he totally nails some of the characters, and it kind of sounds like a young Shearer with a head cold. His Flanders is great, as is his Smithers, Kent Brockman, Otto, Rainier Wolfcastle, Jasper, Lenny, Scratchy, Herman, and music teacher Mr. Largo. The two characters that don’t really hit too hard are Mr. Burns and Reverend Lovejoy, but Baker’s Burns is close enough that I could easily see him adapting better if it became his full-time job. (Additionally, Baker’s Burns sounds like it should be an ointment.) The point is, anyone who was worried that no one else in the world could do the job like Harry Shearer should pour themselves a big glass of relief-ereeno.
Baker put out a previous video in February 2014 where he spits out 33 impressions of Simpsons characters, not limited to just Shearer’s verbal creations, like Homer and Krusty. And then he recorded a video where he read “reader mail” using an equal variety of voices. And again, even though there are some duds – his Marge is self-admittedly bad – he could easily make his own Simpsons spoof videos. Like, if Springfield had its own Bad Lip Reading series, Baker would be the guy. Check it out.
Of course, even though showrunner Al Jean said that they were looking to find a top quality replacement, it’s still possible that the show could rope Shearer back in somehow. The whole debacle started over the actor not wanting to take the salary that Fox & Co. were willing to pay him, but that kind of argument has come up in the past, and Shearer stayed with the show. It’s hard to imagine The Simpsons without Shearer, but it’s not impossible now, thanks to Brock Baker.