A green monster with one eye smiles and waves towards the camera in front of a purple background. Voice Over

Who is the Voice of Mike Wazowski (Monsters, Inc.)?

He might have a common name, but there’s nothing common about everyone’s favorite one-eyed monster from Pixar, Mike Wazowski.

This peppy, yet adorable, round and green monster stole the hearts of viewers in Pixar’s 2001 classic, ‘Monsters, Inc.’

But who is the voice behind Mike? In this article, we’ll break it all down. From the background of ‘Monsters, Inc.’ to the comedian who gave Mr. Wazowski life.

The Background of ‘Monsters, Inc.’

‘Monsters, Inc.’ is a 2001 Pixar film. The movie centers on a power plant in the city of Monstropolis, where the monster world’s energy source comes from children’s screams, instead of electricity. Therefore, monsters work at night to scare children in their bedrooms. The scarer’s partner captures the screams in canisters to help power the city.

The movie opens with Mr. Waternoose, the power plant head, training new scarers. With the rise of technology and the popularity of scary movies, Mr. Waternoose has found that kids don’t scare as easily. It’s getting harder and harder to capture the screams Monstropolis needs.

Though the monsters have the task of scaring children, they’re ironically just as afraid. If a child touches them, they can cause some real damage. An entire agency, called the Child Detection Agency, is on call to decontaminate the monster and the power plant if that contamination occurs.

Who Is Mike Wazowski?

Mike Wazowski is a green cyclops monster. He has a great sense of humor and loves to make people laugh. Mike works at Monsters, Inc., the power plant, as the assistant to James P. Sullivan, also called Sully. Sully is the top scarer, currently in a competition to beat the all-time scream record. Mike is dating Celia, who also works at Monsters, Inc., staffing the front desk.

Mike Wazowski is sweet to Celia, spoiling her with romantic dinners and serenading her. His relationship with Sully is more hot and cold, as seen in this clip from the fraternity house at Monsters University. The characters often fight and argue, but they have a strong friendship.

Though Mike Wazowski is a monster, he doesn’t look particularly terrifying. He’s short and round, with his single eye taking up most of his face. He has sharp teeth, but you catch glimpses of them through his smile. Mike has skinny arms and legs and claws at the ends of his four fingers and three toes.

Mike Wazowski appeared again in the 2013 film ‘Monsters University‘. Though this movie came out 12 years after the original, it’s a prequel. It follows Mike and Sully through their time at Monsters University. Like Sully, Mike initially wanted to learn how to be a scarer. He faced a lot of opposition at college until he finally found the right path for his skills.

Mike Wazowski also appears in the television spinoff Monsters at Work. The show streams on Disney+ and features voice over work from the original movie’s actors. It’s the first Pixar series to retain the voice over actors for the same roles. The storyline follows the continuity set from the original movie, so not all the characters appear in the show, and new ones join the fun.

How Was the Character Created?

The original Monsters, Inc. pitch didn’t include the Mike Wazowski character. As the screenwriters fleshed out the story, they realized that there could be two main characters in the movie.

Frank Oz gave Mike Wazowski his name. The name “Wazowski” means phobic and frightened, which suits Mike during much of the film. Oz is a famous puppeteer, screenwriter, and director. He worked closely with Jim Henson, was Yoda’s voice over actor, and directed the 1991 Disney movie ‘What About Bob?’ Oz also provided the voice over for Fungus in the ‘Monsters, Inc.’ movie. 

The original version of Mike Wazowski had no arms. The animators had him pick things up using his feet. He was also Randall Boggs’s assistant instead of working with Sully. In the final movie, Frank Oz’s character, Fungus, serves as Randall’s assistant.

Who Is the Voice of Mike Wazowski?

With all this background information about the character, you might wonder who does the Mike Wazowski voice. Billy Crystal is the big-name actor who took on this role. His voice is so iconic as Mike’s that he included it in his Hollywood Chinese Theater legacy. Next to Crystal’s hand and footprints, you’ll see Mike Wazowski’s signature three toes, along with his signature.

Fans of the ‘Monsters, Inc.’ universe have trouble hearing anyone else’s voice as Mike Wazowski. However, it’s interesting to note that the following actors auditioned for this voice over role:

  • Jack Black
  • Matthew Broderick
  • Drew Carey
  • David Schwimmer
  • Sinbad
  • Robin Williams

There are a lot of talented names on that list. You can also add Eddie Murphy, who auditioned, got the role, but turned it down because of his simultaneous role as Donkey in Shrek.

The only time Billy Crystal didn’t voice this character is for a few lines in ‘Monsters University’. Noah Johnston plays the child version of Mike Wazowski, sharing his dreams before he grows up to attend college. Hear young Mike Wazowski in this field trip clip.

Mike Wazowski’s Best Quotes

As the witty co-star, Mike Wazowski has many memorable quotes from his movies. Some phrases refer to his size, such as “You played dodgeball? I loved dodgeball! Of course, I was the ball.”

It’s a recurring joke that objects or random materials cover his face anytime he’s on TV or a magazine cover, but Mike doesn’t care. He excitedly exclaims, “What can I say? The camera loves me!”

Mike Wazowski loves to sing, often serenading his girlfriend with love songs. But one of his best quotes comes when he gets caught talking about Boo, the child that escaped into the power plant. He pretends he’s practicing for a catchy musical.

Some of Mike Wazowski’s best quotes aren’t words at all. Check out this scream of pain he lets out after trying to brush off an annoying kid monster.

Final Notes

Knowing that Billy Crystal performs the Mike Wazowski voice shines a light on the character. You can see how naturally the humor comes through the little green monster with Crystal behind the scenes.

Wondering who voices some of your other favorite Pixar characters? Read this blog to learn who voices Mr. Incredible from ‘The Incredibles’.

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