Brad Neely is the writer and animator behind Adult Swim cartoon series “China, IL.” The show features the voices of a number of notable actors – but his favorite is probably the man they have giving voice to the dean of students of this fictional university. That would be former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. Neely tells us a real-life story about working with the larger-than-life star.
Hi, my name is Brad Neely. I have a new show on Cartoon Network, it’s called “China, IL.” It’s about a college where the professors are crazy and the students just want to learn, but they can’t because the professors are nuts.
We’ve got a lot of great voice talent on this show. We have Greta Gerwig, we have Jeffrey Tambor, and guest actors like Jason Alexander. But you know, I’ve gotta say the standout in just a lot of ways: Hulk Hogan, HH, who plays the dean of the school.
As soon as I knew that we had him cast, I wrote ten pages of lines that didn’t have to do with anything, just because I knew, if I was gonna have Hulk Hogan in the booth in front of a mic, I’m gonna have him say whatever I want. So we just had him say all this crazy stuff that he’s totally game for.
When he comes to our studio where all the people are, everyone flocks around him like they’re gonna get their warts healed or it’s something out of the Bible. He really is like Hercules. And then, when he leaves it’s like an emotional shockwave went off and everyone can’t work and they’re sad. It’s strange.
He’s a real actor. He’s able to understand what the jokes are, deliver surprises that we often keep. I always think that I’m giving him something that he will balk at, like “Here’s a line where you say there is no God.” But he goes the extra mile and says it four times, with a lot of spit shooting out.
I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what my name is. He doesn’t know what the name of the show is. And there is a fear when you first encounter him that oh, he has not read the script, he’s going to be totally unprepared, he doesn’t know what the character is.
Last time I saw him, I said, “How are you doing, Hulk?” He said, “I haven’t slept for two weeks. What are we doing?” He counts himself in to each line. He’s like, “Three, two one,” and just nails it.
I still can’t get over it. Something happens to my body when I’m around him. Everything crawls up and starts squishing. Your whole body wants to like run off, or just let him eat you.
My wife is like, “Shut up about Hulk Hogan.”