Adventure Time is one of those animated shows that perfectly grown men and women like to watch. Sure, it’s a little zany and ridiculous, but it’s got a sense of humor to it that’s tucked between the glaring pinks and yellows of the Land of Ooo. One really early morning, I got the chance to talk to Jeremy Shada, the 18-year-old voice of Finn the Human on the show. Honestly, we were surprised that he answered his own phone, considering how popular he’s gotten since his identity was revealed at San Diego Comic Con in 2010. It was a weird talk — and that’s entirely my fault — because I kept picturing Finn on the other line. (P.S. He doesn’t sound like Finn IRL.)
Jeremy Shada will be visiting the Philippines with his band, Make Out Monday, for Asia Pop Comic Con 2015. We gave Jeremy a call and asked him about life, Adventure Time, and yeah, math!
Gist: Tell us about the day that people first found out that you are the voice of Finn.
JEREMY SHADA: When you do the voice for an animation, people don’t go, “Oh, there’s the guy that does that!” We don’t know what they look like. But it’s kind of interesting how, with the Internet and social media, people would find me in random places and go, “Hey, you’re the guy who does the voice of Finn!” When we went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time in 2010 and we had a big panel. And when I was introduced “Jeremy Shada from Adventure Time,” I went up there and there was this massive crowd, like a couple of thousands that went at me, and I was like, “Okay, wow, alright, this is a pretty big deal!”
You’re growing up, growing older, while Finn stays the same: how do you stay involved with the character? Do you have anything in common at all?
Well one of the things that Finn and I have in common is that we’re both awful at math. Also Finn is very happy-go-lucky and I’m kind of happy-go- lucky. He just likes to have a good time and he’s pretty — I’m trying to be more adventurous with my life. People are always like, “Hey! Finn is always on crazy adventures. Are you, too?” and I’m like, “No.” (Laughs)
How has being the voice of Finn altered your plans for your life?
When you begin, you’re hoping the show will be successful, but you never expect it to be huge. I mean I never expected this to be nearly as huge. It really is a world-wide phenomenon. There’s a bullet train in Taiwan. There’s a brand new theme park in Dubai that’s all Cartoon Network but mostly Adventure Time. It’s just crazy. And there’s this thing where you have a lot of people who love the show who are younger and stuff, and I’ve kind of become a role model. I want to become a role model and give back to the fandom that propelled me and gave me the opportunity to do other amazing things. Like with my band, Make Out Monday, it’s had a lot of opportunities just for the notoriety that I got for Adventure Time. So it’s truly changed my life in a lot of ways that I never really expected.
Why are Finn and Jake friends?
They’re brothers, so they’re family. Also, there’s a sort of uncle-nephew relationship with Jake being older and Finn being younger, and Jake kind of guides him through all the weird, complicated things like relationships, girls and dating. A lot of times, it’s just like how I am with my best friends or brothers in real life. They’re just two homies who enjoy and make each other laugh. (Does the Finn laugh)
Do you have a dog in real life?
I actually don’t have a dog in real life but if I ever got one, I definitely would have to name him Jake!
You’re not only a role model, you’re also kind of a pop culture icon. Are you yourself a fan of anything? What do you geek out over?
Oh believe me I am a fan of lots of things. I’m a nerd inside and outside. I love anything superhero-related, whether it be Marvel or DC, any form of superhero movie or TV show, I watch all of them. I love Star Wars, I’m super stoked for the new movie coming out in December. And I play a lot of video games too, so everything from Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, Call of Duty, Halo... a lot of stuff. I’m into a lot of stuff. (Laughs)
How would you describe the most challenging day you’ve had in the studio, recording Finn’s voice?
Hmm. I think in the beginning of the show — and this sounds weird, but — in the beginning, it was hard to do just a natural laugh, because I’m not used to laughing on command. I was like, “Haha — oh, that’s kind of weird.” But over time, I’ve gotten used to doing that. Practice makes perfect, I guess.
If you could import a fictional character into the world of Adventure Time, who would you add to the cast?
That’s hard! I would probably go with….oh man I don’t even know… There’s so characters that are so weird and out there that would actually fit into the world of Adventure Time. I’m gonna go with any character from Phineas and Ferb. I love Phineas and Ferb. Perry the Platypus! He’s pretty awesome.
If you could spend one day in an episode of Adventure Time, what episode would that be?
Phew. That’s a hard question. Anything that’s heavily involving the Candy Kingdom probably, because then I would just go and eat random buildings. That would be super cool.