Photo illustration by Joelle McKenna
Apr 26, 2021
John Roberts is Linda Belcher is America’s mom
The 'Bob's Burgers' actor and musician joins 'Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast' to discuss the show, finding his voice and his new album
To know Linda Belcher is to love her. Linda is the happy-go-lucky, social, silly and sing-songy wife of Bob Belcher on the long-running Fox show “Bob’s Burgers.” As the matriarch, she is fiercely loyal to and protective of her kids—Tina, Gene and Louise—and loves her wine and her holidays. And she is voiced by John Roberts, who created the character based on his own mother, Marge, born in Bensonhurst.
“She loves it. She’s soaking in it. She’s totally Linda,” says Roberts on this week’s episode of “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast.” “We have a lot great women writers on the show. They’re all moms … but the voice, the attitude, the swagger is all my mom.”
Roberts himself was born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey … and is now back in Brooklyn. He is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and got his start in the standup scene in New York in the 1990s. Openly gay today, Roberts says on the podcast that he was a shy kid who struggled to understand himself and eventually come out, which made it hard for him to fully lean into performing.
“I put the dream on hold for a while and then: 9/11! I was like, ‘We’re all gonna die! I gotta get my act together’,” he says. “It’s always the shy freaks that all of a sudden get on stage.”
His first breakthrough was on YouTube in the early 2000s, where he played an exaggerated version of his mother in early viral videos like The Christmas Tree, and My Son is Gay?, both of which have racked up millions of views over time.
We talk about those early years, and using his mother as his muse. We discuss working on “Bob’s Burgers,” which is currently in the process if filming a movie: The show’s creator, Lauren Bouchard has described the family as “blue collar creatives.” Each is a relatable everyman, with their own flare for performance.
We also get into Roberts’ musical side project—he has an album coming out the first week of June and a remix of “Lights Out,” his recent single with Debbi Harry produced by Felix da Housecat, is out this Friday.
There is, of course, also a pop quiz. So what are you waiting for? Give the podcast a listen. Alriiiight!
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