Animaniacs star explains the real story behind Johnny Depp’s controversial joke


A joke tucked away in an episode of the Animaniacs the rebirth on Hulu had Johnny Depp fans hugging on what they perceived to be a disturbing comment on the actor’s controversial and public divorce with Aquaman star Amber Heard. Now Rob Paulsen, the voice behind Yakko in the animated series explains that the joke wasn’t about Depp; instead, it was meant to be a play Johnny Johnny Yes Daddy rhyme.

In an interview with Cinemablend, Paulsen explained that the intent of the joke was really to parody the rhyme that was popularized in a viral YouTube video featuring a baby sitting and eating a bag of candy and sugar and, well, outright lying to his dad about it.

“But the truth about it is that there is a poem, a children’s poem, a book called ‘Lying Johnny’, or ‘Johny Johny’ or something like that, you can search for it,” Paulsen said. “And remember, this was done a few years ago. And by the way, it’s a background that’s involved in one of the episodes. And frankly, I don’t know which one because I don’t draw them and I don’t write them. ”

In Animaniacs moment, at issue is a musical number in one of the episodes that sees Yakko, Wakko and Dot singing and dancing all about the entertainment industry’s obsession with reboots, sequels, prequels and, well, anything that is not an original product. At one point, Yakko sings about how ‘you made sequels, try prequels’ while standing in front of a movie poster for a fake Johnny Depp movie ‘Johnny 2: Telling Lies’ with the actor holding a pair of scissors and another, “Johnny: The Beginning” with the latter featuring a child holding a bag of what appears to be candy. While some fans noticed the direct similarities to the “Johnny Johnny Yes Papa” meme, others felt it was a dig at Depp’s. Paulsen, however, says it’s really just a reference to the nursery rhyme and he’s even done a bit of research on the subject.

“I got the heat myself.” Mr. Paulsen, how could you? “How could I what?” What did I do? “Well, Johnny Depp and you know he’s being abused.” I don’t know what people are talking about. So I did a little research, ”he says. “Well, look at ‘Johny Johny’. And you know, and if you see earlier in that background photo, there’s a baby eating sugar, and it’s part of the children’s nursery rhyme. ”

Paulsen further that if people are going to read what they want, there was no deliberate attempt to refer to Depp or Heard in the episode.

“But I can tell you that no one was looking to make him uncomfortable or throw dispersions at Johnny Depp, Amber Heard or whoever it was. People choose this for their own use, ”he said.

The first season of the Animaniacs revival is now streaming on Hulu.

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