Tom Kenny was born and raised in East Syracuse, graduating from Bishop Grimes High School in 1980. While in high school, he and classmate Bob Goldthwait formed a comedy troupe under the aliases Tomcat and Bobcat. Their Generic Comics act grew popular throughout the area, helping both to establish a name for themselves.
Kenny soon transitioned into music at the urging of Gary Frenay of The Flashcubes, joining the Syracuse power pop band The Tearjerkers, replacing frontman Mark “Buddy Love” Roberts.
Moves to Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles followed, where Tom pursued stand-up comedy, acting, and writing, racking up appearances on such shows as “Late Night” (with both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien), “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Just Shoot Me,” a stint as a staff writer on the ABC TV series “America’s Funniest People,“ and as a regular cast member (with wife Jill Talley) of the critically acclaimed Emmy-nominated HBO series “Mr. Show with Bob and David” starring Bob Odenkirk and David Cross.
He played the evil Binky the Clown in the cult movie classic “Shakes the Clown”, (written, directed, and starring Goldthwait).
Since breaking into animation as Heffer in the early ’90s Nicktoon “Rocko’s Modern Life,” Tom has become one of the busiest voice actors in the business, with hundreds of voiceover credits in animation, commercials, and video games.
His malleable voice can be heard in everything from “Powerpuff Girls,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,“ and “Adventure Time” to “Transformers,“ “Ultimate Spider-Man,” and “Rick and Morty.“
Kenny is probably most well known as the voice of the incurably optimistic sea sponge SpongeBob SquarePants, voicing dozens of additional characters while also serving as the show’s Voice Director. “SpongeBob SquarePants” has been in continuous production since 1999.
As a songwriting team, Tom and Andy Paley have written songs for many animated series from Disney, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon.
Their songs written for SpongeBob include “Don’t Be A Jerk, It’s Christmas” (The title track from “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!“), and the iconic “Best Day Ever,” (featured in the Tony-nominated score of the stage hit “SpongeBob the Broadway Musical”.)
Kenny and Paley’s collaboration and mutual love of “Rock n Soul” music led to the formation of their 12-piece party band Tom Kenny & The Hi-Seas. The band has gained a reputation for raucous live performances in venues from Los Angeles to Atlanta to Tijuana, Mexico.
Kenny has been the recipient of three Annie Awards (for his voice work as both SpongeBob and as The Ice King on “Adventure Time”).
He has won two Emmy awards for his portrayal of SpongeBob and was an Emmy nominee in the “Best Voice Director” category in 2021.
Kenny will appear at both the Hall of Fame Ceremony Upstairs at the Dinosaur BBQ on Thursday, March 3, and at the Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater on Friday, March 4. Limited tickets are available for the Hall of Fame dinner are available through the SAMMYS website here.
Tickets for the award ceremony are available both at the box office or through Ticketmaster. Purchasers can avoid service charges by visiting the Crouse Hinds Theater box office at 411 Montgomery Street in Syracuse, Monday through Friday 10 am – 3 pm.
Both the Hall of Fame dinner and the awards ceremony will be available for live streaming. The Hall of Fame dinner will be provided for free. There is a $15 fee to stream the awards ceremony. For more information visit the Syracuse Area Music Awards website.
Additionally, Tom Kenny and the Hi-Seas will be performing at King of Clubs on Clinton Street in Syracuse Saturday, March 5 with special guests Andy Paley and the Damselles.