Voice Acting

Who is the Voice of Joy in Inside Out

Pixar’s 2015 movie ‘Inside Out’ is a bright, delightful, and touching movie that gives voice to the emotions we all have: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. 

Since ‘Inside Out’ is an animated movie, Pixar casted voices to represent these emotions, employing voice talent to capture the nuance and complexities of the human experience. So, of course, each voice had to be just right.

So who was cast to play the role and emotion of the always optimistic and bubbly Joy? 

Joy is voiced by none other than Amy Poehler. Keep reading to learn all about ‘Inside Out’, Joy, and Amy Poehler. 

‘Inside Out’

Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ is a computer-animated film about emotions and memories and how they change and become more complex and complicated as we grow up. 

‘Inside Out’ was directed by Pete Docter. Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley wrote the screenplay. In addition to Amy Poehler as Joy, the other voice talent in the film include Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, and Kyle Maclachlan.  

‘Inside Out’ introduces us to a pre-teen Riley and the voices and emotions in her head as they try to help her get through a cross-country move. 

Each emotion takes care of Riley differently, from having her be suspicious of broccoli pizza to venting her frustration with that curse word she knows. 

Joy has run Riley’s show for her whole life, and despite the move, the loss of friends, and homesickness, Joy is doing all she can to distract Riley and keep her happy. 

‘Inside Out’ has been praised for modeling acceptance of all emotions as part of the human experience. It is also an excellent movie for kids learning to identify and cope with their feelings, and the voices cast to represent those emotions were spot-on in capturing them. 

Who is Joy?

Joy was the first emotion to exist in Riley’s head. Joy was with Riley when she was born, and she’s been running the show since. Joy works with and despite the other emotions, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness, to make sure Riley and all of her memories are as happy as possible as often as possible. 

Joy has sunny yellow skin, blue eyes, and a glittery blue pixie cut. Joy has boundless energy and is constantly bouncing around, full of excitement and positivity. 

Joy sees the positive quality of most other emotions. Disgust, for instance, keeps Riley safe physically and socially. However, Joy has a hard time with Sadness and works throughout the movie to keep Sadness at bay. 

Joy doesn’t understand that people can’t be happy all the time and that Sadness makes room for a deeper kind of happiness. 

Amy Poehler’s vocal talents give Joy not only a bright, joyful personality but one that is also pushy, insistent, stubborn, and in charge. Joy may be all about happiness and dreams, but with Amy Poehler voicing her, the character’s head is not in the clouds. 

Best Joy Quotes

Here are some of the best Joy quotes from Inside Out.

  • “Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head? Well, I know. Well, I know Riley’s head.”
  • “Oh no! These Facts and Opinions look so similar!”
  • “Hey, look! The Golden Gate Bridge! Isn’t that great? It isn’t made of solid gold like we thought, which is kind of a disappointment, but still!”
  • “You can’t focus on what’s going wrong. There’s always a way to turn things around, to find the fun.”
  • Fear! I need a list of all the possible negative outcomes on the first day at a new school.”
  • “Don’t you worry. I’m going to make sure that tomorrow is another great day. I promise.”
  • “These are Riley’s memories. And they are mostly happy if you’ll notice, not to brag.”
  • “Alright, everyone, fresh start. We are going to have a good day, which will turn into a good week, which will turn into a good year, which turns into a good life.” 
  • Okay, I admit it. We had a rough start. But think of all the good things.”
  • “Goofball Island is my personal favorite.” 
  • “I don’t want to get too technical, but these are called core memories. Each one came from a super important time in Riley’s life. Like when she first scored a goal. It was so amazing.”
  • “And you’ve met Sadness. She, well she…I’m not actually sure what she does. And I’ve checked, there’s no place for her to go. So she’s good. We’re good. It’s all great.”
  • “We’ve been through a lot lately, that’s for sure. But we still love our girl. She has great new friends, a great new house. Things couldn’t be better. After all, Riley’s twelve now. What could happen?”

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is a comedian, actress, voice actress, writer, producer, and director. She studied improv when she was young and co-founded the improv group Upright Citizens Brigade. She left Chicago for New York in 1996. 

She started gaining notice and fame in 2001 as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Amy Poehler was co-anchor for Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” for four years. She left Saturday Night Live to do ‘Parks and Recreation’, where she came into her own. With Poehler’s Parks and Recreation character, Lesley Knope, she showed how she could harness her talent to portray awkward, sincere, idealogical, wacky, but loveable characters. 

Poehler’s voice, acting, and career is full of nuance and layers. She’s been in comedies like Blades of Glory, and co-hosted the Oscars with Tina Fey.. Amy Poehler also founded an organization, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, that is dedicated to helping encourage and support young girls. 

Other than Joy in Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’, Poehler has also voiced characters in many other animated movies, including ‘Shrek the Third’, ‘Horton Hears a Who!’, ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel’, ‘Monsters Vs. Aliens’, ‘The Secret World of Arietty’, and ‘Free Birds’. 

Check out our other Pixar and Disney Voice of series here.

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