Houston Matters

How a background in improv helps Ben Schwartz voice Sonic the Hedgehog

Schwartz, who’s performing his live improv show in Houston, is known for voicing Sonic in the recent movies and for roles like the shallow trust fund baby Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on “Parks and Rec.”

Actor and improver Ben Schwartz
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Actor and improver Ben Schwartz is known for numerous roles in TV and film, including Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on “Parks and Rec” and the movie voice of Sonic the Hedgehog.

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You might know actor and comedian Ben Schwartz from roles in TV and film, such as the shallow trust fund baby Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on the show Parks and Rec.

Or maybe you've heard him in one of his many voiceover gigs, like the reboot of Duck Tales or – more than anything these days the role of Sonic the Hedgehog in the recent movies based on the Sega video games.

That role is especially fitting because he grew up playing a lot of video games, including Sonic.

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty talks with Schwartz about how he got the gig as the speedy hedgehog, about how his improv experience helps him in scripted roles, and about why he enjoys playing characters like Saperstein, or — as he says — losers “who think they’re crushing it.”

Schwartz brings his live improv show Ben Schwartz and Friends to Cullen Performance Hall at the University of Houston tonight.