The Simpsons transcends geography. The story of a fledgling family presided over by an oafish numbskull and his patient wife is pretty much the Platonic ideal of popular television. That said, the jokes written in a Los Angeles writers’ room staffed by twentysomething Harvard grads are decidedly less so, which means that gags often have to be massaged to make sense to international audiences.
In some cases, that massage comes from the voice actors themselves. The above Great Big Story profile centers around Humberto Vélez, the Latino voice actor who commands “Homero” Simpson when the series airs in Latin America. “It’s impossible that a joke told in English would be understood in Latin America, because nothing there is the same,” he says. “Latin America has 20 countries that are all totally different from one another.”
The clip highlights Vélez’s many shades of Homero, including the way he outlines some jokes he tailored to his Latin American audience, a process he describes as “tropicalizing the content.” Some of his translations—“I want to become a monkey!”—might recall the cultural disconnect of the Bumblebee Man, but it’s fascinating nevertheless.
Watch the full clip above.