Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kanye West Gets Animated In 'Family Guy' Spinoff'The Cleveland Show' features MC's cameo as unsuccessful rapper Kenny West.

Mar 17 2009 11:42 AM EDT

Kanye West Gets Animated In 'Family Guy' Spinoff'The Cleveland Show' features MC's cameo as unsuccessful rapper Kenny West.
By Jocelyn Vena

Kanye West made his animated debut in his video for "Heartless," but soon fans will get to see 'Ye in an actual cartoon. Last week, West did a table read and recorded an episode for the new Fox animated series "The Cleveland Show."

The "Family Guy" spinoff is set to premiere this fall, with Kanye's episode airing in 2010. "It was surprising to us that [he] was so into it that he came to the table [read], and wonderfully surprising how cool he was, how funny he was and how unassuming he was," executive producer and voice actor Mike Henry told People. "He's just a great presence."

On the show, West plays MC Kenny West, who, unlike Kanye, hasn't found fame in the rapping game. "We knew Kanye was a big 'Family Guy' fan because he invited [creator] Seth [MacFarlane] to his house a year or two ago," said Henry, who voices the new show's main character, Cleveland Brown. "And there was a mention on his blog when the spinoff was announced that he was excited about it. We knew he was a big fan, and a lot of us are fans of his."

Last Friday, West recorded his episode during a three-hour session. The episode also stars Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson. West, new to voice acting, sought some advice from Sanaa Lathan, who plays Cleveland's wife, Donna, on the show.

"Before we came to the table ... there was only one line he didn't love, and he came up with another idea and in a completely modest, nice way said, 'Would you mind if I changed just this one line?' " executive producer Richard Appel said. "And our feeling was, how many raps have we written? One? And how many has he written? Be our guest!"

Right now, West's appearance stands as a cameo on one episode, but it sounds like he's more than welcome to come back if he wants. "We just recorded him in the booth, and he was fantastic," Appel said. "Once he read it a couple times through, he just owned the character, which I guess isn't hard since he was named Kenny West. He said he'd be glad to [be back]. I said we could write him in to the next 21 episodes!"

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