With one of the most recognizable voices in comedy today, actor H. Jon Benjamin has built a career creating some of the more memorable characters in animation. From Home Movies‘ Coach McGuirk to Bob’s Burgers‘ head of the household Bob Belcher, Benjamin has consistently been a spout of hilarious dialogue and impromptu songs for the last decade. But now he’s getting serious. A little too serious.
The Brooklyn comedians who go by the name Late Night Basement tapped Benjamin to do some voiceover work for one of the most menacing beings in cinema: HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Using one of 2001‘s most pivotal scenes, Benjamin titters and antagonizes Dave Bowman (Kier Dullea), who is only trying to get him to open the pod bay doors. But HAL is being a total tool about it, Daaaaave. HAL also sounds like he’s had a few too many Electric Lemonades while Dave was exercising, or maybe a Screwdriver, since that’s orange. I think Dave likes orange.
There are two things wrong with this video. One: it’s only a 90 seconds long instead of 160 minutes like the actual movie is. (Benjamin could definitely add some color commentary to the ape scenes at the beginning, as I’m sure he could come up with better things to do with a bone than use it for violence.) The second problem I have is that Benjamin’s face doesn’t replace HAL’s signature light. I pretty much just want 2001 to be remade as an H. Jon Benjamin joint apparently.
Benjamin has been ruining people’s lives for years as the effective but destructive spy Sterling Archer on FX’s Archer, which took its own trip up to space for a few episodes. You’ll also recognize the actor from roles on Upright Citizens Brigade, Dr. Katz, a slew of Adult Swim shows, Family Guy, and even the children’s show Word Girl. He’s also (audibly) recognizable in the classic comedy Wet Hot American Summer, as seen in the image below. (Hint: he’s not Christopher Meloni, but the inspirational can of vegatables.)
If you don’t have mud on your ass, you might remember the Late Night Basement guys for putting together the best of the many, many parodies of Spike Jonze’s Her. I seem to recall there being a HAL version of that parody as well. It’s a small world. Now if they could just hire Benjamin for that full-length revision of 2001, I could get back to chiseling this monolith in my backyard.