When he took over Cleveland, even Family Guy’s Arif Zahir was stunned.

“I am totally confused,” said Arif Zahir, who described his reaction to some truly life-changing news from Fox TV. “I received a call and sent it to my voicemail because I thought it was spam. I checked my voicemail…I was the executive producer [of Family Guy]. ”

In the summer of 2020, in the protests of “Black people’s fate is also fate” and urgent dialogue about American race, many people of color characters in the animated series were reshaped to reflect their identities. Big mouthMiss, voiced by Jenny Slater, and central ParkMolly, voiced by Christine Bell, is a mixed race, and was eventually replaced by Ayo Edebiri and Emmy Raver-Lampman respectively. otaku He has undergone his own change: Mike Henry, who has voiced Cleveland for 20 years, announced on Twitter that he will resign from this role because “People of color should play the role of people of color.” Zahir is a popular Y​​ouTube user who is known for his impressions of iconic characters, and he was hired for the role of season 20.

“It’s very daunting,” Zahir said, especially considering that this is the first time an actor has stepped down from a long-held main role and handed it over to people of color. “when [the voice actors for] Scooby Doo and Shaggy or Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes [were replaced], That’s because the actors are old and can no longer dub, so they changed to new actors. In this case, he was still able to do it, but he chose to step down, a newcomer played such an important and iconic role. “

Zahir was attracted by the character’s unique voice and calm personality, and began making Cleveland impressions in high school. Since he opened the channel eight years ago, his views on Cleveland’s voice have been the main content of his YouTube videos.When he heard that Henry had stepped down, he accepted TikTok release video.

“If there is a person of color who can enter the realm of the role, it should obviously be given or tried to audition,” Zahir said. “I personally don’t believe that as a voice actor, obviously every race must be played by that race-this is the power of dubbing. But I mean, if there is a position they can have, why not give that person a chance? “

When the cast was announced, Zahir was stunned by the immediate and enthusiastic response of long-time fans.He knows that people like this role and the original voice actor, but the absolute number of reactions is one a lot of.

“The first day I got it was like my phone Zoom zoom From literally 6 o’clock in the morning to 6 o’clock the next morning. [People were like] ‘Love it”God”Love it”This guy sucks”God, I drove you crazy,'” he said with a smile. “I thought,’Oh, no, my God, they Hate me? ! ‘ But luckily my fans supported me in the comments and said, ‘Hey, look at this video, he does sound like Cleveland”, people will say “he sucks”, then watch the video and come back and say “well, he is great, I will give him a chance”. Millions The planner is watching me, which I didn’t expect.”

Fortunately, with the character’s legacy and the weight of fan expectations, Zahir said that Henry was a very helpful mentor throughout the process. The two spent two hours on FaceTime, and Henry talked about creating this character and infusing him with 20 years of life. After that, he wished Zahir good luck.

“He told me the words that describe Cleveland: kindness, compassion, empathy, and humor. Every time I record with this idea, I take it to the studio,” Zahir said.

Season 20 otaku It is currently broadcast on Fox TV.