Top 10 Celeb Reactions to Animated Parodies of Themselves

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Top 10 Celeb Reactions to Animated Parodies of Themselves

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. For this list, we'll be looking at stars who were spoofed or served as the inspiration for characters in animated projects, prompting a response from the person being parodied. Our countdown includes Jennifer Lopez, Tyler Perry, Tom Cruise, and more!
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Top 10 Celeb Reactions to Animated Parodies of Themselves


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celeb Reactions to Animated Parodies of Themselves.

For this list, we’ll be looking at stars who were spoofed or served as the inspiration for characters in animated projects, prompting a response from the person being parodied.

Which celebrity parody is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Richard Lewis

“Animaniacs” (1993-98)

Sending up celebrities has always been a staple of “Animaniacs.” We’re not sure how they made a connection between comedian Richard Lewis and the religious figure Noah. It made for one of the show’s funniest biblical satires, however. Portrayed by Maurice LaMarche, who most notably voiced the Brain, Noah is the spitting image of Lewis and mimics many of his mannerisms. Most kids at the time probably didn’t get the reference, but it just goes to show that “Animaniacs” was written just as much for adults. According to creator Tom Ruegger, who co-wrote the segment, they were contacted by Lewis’ manager, who asked them “not to steal all of his material next time.” The “Animaniacs” team complied, although Ruegger insists that it was a “homage.”


#9: Tyler Perry

“The Boondocks” (2005-14)

“The Boondocks” was fearless in its analysis of race, culture, and real-world figures, often igniting backlash. In the episode “Pause,” Tyler Perry served as the basis for a playwright named Winston Jerome, whose outrageous character of Ma Dukes is a not-so-subtle send-up of Madea. Winston is not only revealed to be a crossdresser off-stage, but also a cult leader and a sexual predator who hides behind religion. Perry was reportedly furious about the episode, which also took shots at his writing skills. In addition to owning Adult Swim, Turner Broadcasting ran two of Perry’s sitcoms at the time. Perry supposedly threatened to reconsider his place in the Turner company. After being shown twice, “Pause” wasn’t scheduled to air again, although it has since resurfaced.


#8: Jennifer Lopez

“Celebrity Deathmatch” (1998-2002)

When the premise of your show centers on celebrities battling to the death, there’s bound to be some pushback from Hollywood. On the Season 2 premiere of this claymation series, Jennifer Lopez faced off against Dolly Parton in a battle of booty vs. breasts. Lopez ultimately comes out on top with Parton’s bosoms inflating into space. Lopez didn’t seem to care that much about her caricature’s physical appearance, but she was reportedly upset about the stereotypical Spanish accent, especially since she’s from the Bronx. J-Lo wasn’t at all pleased with her portrayal on “South Park” either. According to Trey Parker, Lopez was supposedly so angry when she overheard PAs on a movie set imitating the infamous “taco” line that she had them fired.


#7: Clark Gable

“Hollywood Steps Out”

More than forty Golden Age stars were caricatured in this Merrie Melodies short directed by the legendary Tex Avery. Among the Hollywood elite is Clark Gable, who lusts after a blonde woman revealed to be Groucho Marx in drag. The Blue Ribbon reissue fades to black here, but according to Bob Clampett’s wife, the cartoon originally ended with Gable kissing Groucho regardless. Gable allegedly feared this may hurt his womanizer reputation and the kiss was cut from subsequent releases. While fragments of the original ending have surfaced, the clip in its entirety remains lost. “Hollywood Steps Out” also features an appearance from Bing Crosby, who previously pursued lawsuits for his portrayals in the Warner Bros. cartoons “Let It Be Me” and “Bingo Crosbyana.”


#6: Helen Kane

“Betty Boop” franchise (1930-)

Evolving from an anthropomorphic French poodle to a human woman, Betty Boop owes her creation to several gifted artists. However, she essentially started as a caricature of singer/actress Helen Kane, who employed a similar “boop-boop-a-doop” style. As Betty rose to cartoon all-star status, Kane’s career began to decline. In 1932, Kane took out a $250,000 infringement lawsuit against Paramount and Betty’s co-creator, Max Fleischer. The Kane v. Fleischer trial reached a tipping point when theatrical manager Lou Bolton argued that Kane didn’t pioneer her style, which could be traced back to an African-American performer named Baby Esther. The court ultimately ruled in favor of Fleischer, although Grim Natwick, who gave Betty her original design, has acknowledged Kane’s impact on shaping the iconic character.


#5: Morrissey

“The Simpsons” (1989-)

“The Simpsons” has a celebrity guest voice practically every week. Sometimes they’ll portray themselves and other times they voice a fictional character. In Season 32, Benedict Cumberbatch lent his sarcastic delivery to English singer Quilloughby, who’s primarily based on Morrissey. Quilloughby appears as Lisa’s imaginary friend, but she’s shocked to find the real singer has let himself go and given up veganism in favor of promoting anti-immigration. In response, Morrissey released a statement saying that writing for “The Simpsons” “evidently requires only complete ignorance.” Morrisey also mentioned that he didn’t have the funds to take the cartoon to court. Actor Frank Sivero did file a $250 million lawsuit, though, claiming that mob enforcer Louie was taken from his “Goodfellas” character. Sivero lost, by the way.

#4: Adrien Brody

“Family Guy” (1999-2003, 2005-)

“Family Guy” has pretty much made a sport out of mocking celebrities. When asked if anyone had ever gotten mad at a parody, Seth MacFarlane immediately thought of Adrien Brody. He ran into Brody at a party, taking the opportunity to praise his work in the movie “Splice.” MacFarlane added that he hoped there weren’t any hard feelings about a certain bit. Long story short, there were. The gag that most likely grinded the Oscar-winner’s gears found Meg at a screening of “Adrien Brody Doing Sit-Ups in 3D.” The 3D could give “Avatar” a run for its money, as Brody’s nose leaps out of the screen. Of course, this wasn’t even the first time that “Family Guy” took a shot at Brody.


#3: Kanye West

“South Park” (1997-)

In a Season 13 episode of “South Park,” Kanye West is the only person on the planet who doesn’t understand a joke about “fishsticks.” This sends him on a rampage and a journey of self-discovery as the rapper comes to terms with being… “a gay fish.” Kanye’s response was surprising while still being on-brand. In an all-caps post, Kanye said that while his feelings were hurt, he did find the episode “pretty funny.” The rapper went on to say the “South Park” writers are probably “really nice people” and that he was “working on [his] ego.” Since Kanye will be Kayne, though, he didn’t let them off the hook completely. Just go listen to his song “Gorgeous” and you’ll see what we’re talking about.


#2: Tom Cruise

“South Park” (1997-)

How could we limit ourselves to one “South Park” parody? In what may be the show’s most controversial episode, “South Park” took on Scientology and one of its most famous followers, Tom Cruise. The speculations regarding Cruise’s sexuality also come into play. In the end, Cruise threatens to sue Stan for making him look foolish, although the credits cleverly replaced every name with “John Smith” and “Jane Smith.” While the real Cruise didn’t sue, it’s been said that he threatened to walk away from his “Mission: Impossible III” promotional duties if the episode wasn’t pulled. Be this true or merely a rumor, the episode’s rebroadcast was canceled, but it’s now widely available. In the show’s continuity, though, Cruise would eventually follow through with a lawsuit.



Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

John “Johnny Bananas” Devenanzio, “Entourage” (2004-11)
The MTV Star Wasn’t Bananas About HBO Using His Nickname


Yogi Berra, “Yogi Bear” franchise (1958-)
Hanna-Barbera Claims the Similar Name Wasn’t on Purpose, But the Baseball Star Still Thought About Suing


Naked Cowboy, M&Ms Ad
Robert John Burck & ​​Mars Inc. Settled the Lawsuit, But The Details Are Underwraps


Ice-T, “Rick and Morty” (2013-)
In the End, the “SVU” Star Was Totally Cool About It


Cesar Millan, “South Park” (1997-)
What Do You Know? A Positive Celebrity Reaction to “South Park!”


#1: Jackie Gleason

“The Flintstones” (1960-66)

Before there was Peter Griffin or Homer Simpson, there was Fred Flintstone. Even before the man called Flintstone, there was Ralph Kramden. Hanna-Barbera made it no secret that their animated stone-age series was inspired by “The Honeymooners.” Alan Reed, Fred’s voice actor, even based his performance on Jackie Gleason’s iconic bus driver. Almost twenty years after “The Flintstones” wrapped up its initial run, Gleason revealed that he considered suing, but let it slide. Why? Well, apparently Gleason didn’t want to be known as “the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air.” Hulk Hogan, on the other hand, had no problem with targeting the franchise after Cocoa Pebbles featured a blonde wrestler named Hulk Boulder. That ad stopped airing, but we all know Bam-Bam won.
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