Warburton Looks Back on "The Tick"

Patrick Warburton may be best known for his role as Puddy on "Seinfeld," but to comics fans, he was the lovably dense superhero, The Tick. Though the live-action series only lasted nine episodes in 2001 before FOX pulled the plug, critics and fans agree the show captured the same magic as its cartoon and comic book predecessors.

"The Tick" died a quick death, but Warburton's acting career has marched on. Aside from his role in "Seinfeld," he's appeared in films such as "Men in Black II," "Scream 3" and "Underdog," along with voice work in many animated projects including "Family Guy" and "Bee Movie." New episodes of his latest television show, "Rules of Engagement," start back up March 2 on CBS.

CBR News caught up with the actor to talk about "The Tick," if he'd ever reprise the role, and if Warburton would like to portray any other comic book heroes or villains.

CBR: So what did you think when the role of The Tick came your way?

Patrick Warburton: I was thrilled. I knew the cartoon. Every now and then - maybe I was playing in a charity golf event - some folks might mention, "Hey, if they ever do a live-action version of 'The Tick,' you should play the Tick!'"

This was before I had ever seen the cartoon. After a few people mentioned that, I thought, "Hmm, I wonder what this is all about?" I saw the cartoon and I thought, "Boy, that would be a lot of fun." And then ["The Tick" Executive Producer] Barry Sonnenfeld wanted to do the live-action version, and he thought of me and approached me about it.

I guess it all made sense. It sure made sense for me to do it. Very seldom do you get an opportunity to fill the shoes of a character as ingenious as The Tick. Even though FOX didn't give us a shot - and obviously, the men in suits over at FOX were very wrong, because they just didn't give the show a chance, and eight, nine years later there still seems to be a huge fan base of just The Tick in general -- but the show, the live-action incarnation, still seems to have many, many fans and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

But it truly stands out as one of the great opportunities I've ever had.

Did you think the show would make it if given more time?

I felt like it had a great shot. It was very clever and smart and different - all those wonderful things. But sometimes, the network can't grasp that. They can't put their finger on it.

Was that a hard role for you, with The Tick's suit?

It wasn't always pleasant, spending 12 hours in a suit like that, not at all. I had to get clever in trying to maintain my sanity at times. I wasn't going to complain - if that was the cross I had to bear to get to be The Tick, then so be it.

Did you keep any souvenirs from the show?

I have the suit - one of the suits. There were about six different suits. They had to make different ones, because one would get a rip or a tear, and they had to have a back-up one. It was very expensive to make the first one, a lot less expensive to make subsequent ones after that.

Do you get many comments about The Tick anymore? Surely, you get a lot of comments about Puddy from "Seinfeld," but do fans ever ask about "The Tick?"

I get almost as much about the Tick [as Puddy]. Puddy, everybody knows, that's always been out. But Tick, it's a smaller audience, more of a cult show, but a well appreciated cult show. I think people like to remind you that, "Hey, I've seen some of these other fun things that you've done." Or that, "I'm a fan of some of the other stuff, not just what the masses have seen, but I really liked 'The Tick..." and they want to let you know that.

And to me, that's nothing less than heartwarming, because I loved The Tick. I thought it was terribly unfair that the network guys just weren't going to give us a shot because it cost a little bit more than the reality TV shows.

Any chance of that character coming back with you involved?

I'm sure the character will definitely be coming back. I don't know if I'll be the lucky guy, but I'd love to be the guy. I wish Barry'd make the movie right now, you know? And let me do it. But if they ever make "The Tick" movie, who knows who will get to play The Tick? But it probably ain't going to get to be me, that's the reality.

Are or were you ever a comic book fan? You've have a few comic book ties. Besides "The Tick," you voiced Superman in a series of American Express commercials, and you've appeared on "The Batman."

I was the geeky comic book fan when I was a kid - I had all the Goofy, the Walt Disney ones, the Archie and Daffy Duck comics. All the other ones were a little dark for me.

Would you ever take a crack at a serious comic book role, maybe even a super villain role?

I would, it'd be a lot of fun, yeah.

Are there any specific characters you think you'd be good at playing?

A lot of fans say, "Hey, you'd be great as Superman." Of course I'd have to be the older Superman. Superman is more like Superboy now. I'd have to be Super Middle-Aged Man. Or Batman would be fun. I've gotten this from fans, you know? Or... who was Shazam?

Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel!

We think you'd be a great Captain Marvel.

Yeah, I think so too, but I haven't had any of those opportunities, so maybe one will come my way, I don't know.

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