Seth Green chats with students in Adult Swim class


Kent State students in Professor Ron Russo’s Adult Swim class listen to Seth Green in a live Google Hangout chat in Franklin Hall on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Some students dressed in costumes representative of characters in Green’s work.

Benjamin VanHoose

Technical issues weren’t enough to keep actor and comedian Seth Green from fielding questions from Kent State students Tuesday.

As part of the “ST: Cartoon Network / Adult Swim” course (JMC 40095), the actor spoke with a nearly full lecture auditorium inside Franklin Hall about writing, voice acting and the comedy industry.

“I was impressed that we even got Seth Green to give his time out of his day,” said Joshua Bodziony, a senior educational studies major. “He seemed really upbeat, friendly and super happy to be doing what he’s doing.”

Green produces, stars and writes on the Adult Swim television series “Robot Chicken,” making his work much of the focus for the class. He has appeared in more than 150 film and TV projects, ranging from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Ronald Russo, a part-time faculty member of Journalism and Mass Communication, teaches the three-credit hour course. He said the process of arranging a meeting with talent for his classes involves a lot of pre-planning.

“It actually takes a while to do these because of their schedules,” Russo said. “There’s quite a number of communications — emails, letters and all that.”

Russo, who also teaches comedy and Adam Sandler courses, has scored a number of big names to interact with his classes, including a pre-recorded message from actor Will Ferrell for students in 2014.

Computer issues marred the beginning of the session, requiring Russo to switch from Skype to Google Hangouts and testing functionality on his personal computer before settling for the front-facing camera on the classroom Mac to conduct the teleconference.

“We’re on, like, back-up plan three here,” Russo said.

After a few test runs, Green appeared in the projection on a large screen.

Students in the class dressed up in costumes for the occasion, including several as Green’s “Family Guy” character Chris Griffin. Other students created artistic homages to his work, from paintings to an elaborate “Robot Chicken” cake.

Bodziony dressed in a full chicken costume that his parents, former costume shop owners, had lying around. After asking a question and singing the “Robot Chicken” theme song to Green, Bodziony said the coolest part was to “have him know my name for even five seconds.”

Part of the extra credit opportunity for students came in a competition of costumes and art that Green would choose his favorite from.

“No one is going to be mad, right?” said Green, who didn’t know he’d be judging students’ work.

After it was assured everyone who participated in the competition would receive extra credit, Green selected a painting of his “Family Guy” character as the winner.

Danielle Howell, a senior communications studies major, created the piece and responded to Green by saying, “Thank you, you just made my life.”

“I was really nervous,” Howell said. “I’m a longtime fan of his, and I’ve never met an actual celebrity.”

During the session, Green talked about some of his past projects, including the fun he had improvising with his “Austin Powers” co-stars, and a mini “Without a Paddle” reunion he recently had at the film premiere of “Chips.”

Green also offered details about an upcoming “Robot Chicken” episode dedicated to poking fun at the hit zombie TV series “The Walking Dead.”

The half-hour special, which features the original cast voicing their respective characters, will open after the zombie apocalypse in a museum where “they got all of the facts wrong, and the only person who is there to set the record straight is ‘Old Man Carl,’” he said.

“All our jokes are not like, ‘Oh, this show is so bad,’ or ‘This actor is so stupid,’” Green said. “That’s my favorite thing to do — finding the silliness in the stuff we are emotionally connected to.”

Just before talking with students, Green said his team Skyped with “Walking Dead” lead actor Andrew Lincoln about his voice work on the special.

“He’s doing the most sincere performances of some of the zaniest shit,” he said.

Green broke into laughter after being asked how he maintains sanity while juggling so many creative projects at once.

“I try to do all the same basic stuff that normal human beings do,” he said. “There is a certain accepted chaos. The actual amount of work that any given thing takes for it to go from an idea to being in existence — I can’t (emphasize that enough).”

To conclude the conversation, Green left students by thanking them and urging them to pursue their passions.

“I hope I’ve encouraged you all to take your lives into your own hands and be awesome,” he said.

Benjamin VanHoose is the features editor, contact him at [email protected].