Hi reddit, John Ratzenberger here. I'm excited to talk with you guys about my many projects including my newest one American Made celebrating American companies, the products they make and the people behind them. You can check out my campaign here for cool rewards, limited memorabilia and even be a producer on my project. Hopefully I can meet some of you on my travels around the U.S.A. And thanks to all Veterans today for our freedom. Ask me anything...

Social Media Proof: https://twitter.com/Dratzenberger/statuses/399954854925201408

It's been a fun couple of hours but I have to hit the road for that voiceover session. I look forward to doing this again very soon. And if you see me out there, don't be shy, I'd love to meet you.

You can always tweet me at @dratzenberger.

Comments: 1116 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

Eludium974 karma

Do people come up to you and say "It's a little known fact...".

johnratzenberger1867 karma

Yes. And that in itself is a little known fact.

debussy_fields743 karma

How did you prepare for your role in Empire Strikes Back?

johnratzenberger1443 karma

Showed up on time.

Unidan724 karma

Who was the most fun person to work with during Toy Story and why?


johnratzenberger852 karma

Fortunately there were no grumps. I always request to go in just before or just after Don Rickles so I can talk to him. As far as funny goes, he still hits it out of the park.

wabysaby689 karma

What was your favorite random "fact" Cliff Clavin ever said?

johnratzenberger2057 karma

The buffalo theory of how beer kills off the weak brain cells so the more beer you drink the smarter you feel.

JohnRittersGhost570 karma

Hi John, Did you ever get any kind of backlash from the Postal Service for your portrayal of Cliff?

johnratzenberger1175 karma

Yes, I did get a couple of angry letters from postmen saying I shouldn't have been wearing my keys in the bar. Then after the Postmaster General Anthony Franks did a guest spot on the show, the letters stopped.

dobie1kenobi550 karma

Would love to see you reprise your role as the 'Underminer' in an Incredible's sequel. Any hope for us superhero/pixar fans?

johnratzenberger588 karma

I'll let you know as soon as they let me know!

Frajer511 karma

Do you think Mike and Sully ever came back for Yeti?

johnratzenberger976 karma

Yes. And the 3 of them talked about setting up a fishing charter business in the Florida keys.

KHSebastian431 karma

Did you ever go out drinking with the other Cheers people? Or was that too much like work?

johnratzenberger748 karma

Yes I have been drinking with the other Cheers people. The rest is classified.

johnratzenberger376 karma

Unfortunately I'm going to have to bail in about five minutes to head to a voiceover session. Next question please!

fgallen42360 karma

Thanks for doing this! Two things: Do people recognize your voice when you are out in the world? Second, your mustache is magnificent.

johnratzenberger655 karma

People do recognize my voice. A lot of them are children. Thanks for the mustache compliment! I think I'll keep it/

Peter_Harris343 karma

Mr Ratzenberger, what was the beer from Cheers made with? The heads on those were awful.

johnratzenberger727 karma

It was called Near Beer. It wasn't real beer otherwise we would never be able to get through an episode.

zatan130338 karma

Who's funnier, Tom Hanks or Tim Allen?

johnratzenberger1246 karma

Billy Crystal

theWonderslug324 karma

who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?

johnratzenberger415 karma

Me and the two other guys sitting here!

ShyneBox309 karma

sex, marry, kill: Kirstie Alley, Shelly Long, Rhea Pearlman GO!

johnratzenberger1526 karma

I'd marry all of them and move to Utah. Then let fate take its course.

highpowered293 karma

How did you come up with the Cliff Clavin voice? Was it inspired by a specific person or was it more of your take on a general Boston accent? Those are hard to do consistently well.

johnratzenberger514 karma

It was the voice and attitude of the father of a friend of mine growing up in Connecticut.

tackychan272 karma

Do you prefer on screen acting or voice acting? Why?

johnratzenberger898 karma

No preference as long as I'm working. I'll do standing on a roof in a blizzard acting as long as they keep calling I'll keep showing up.

TVConefive229 karma

Thank you for doing Made in America. It was a great family show and we all got together to watch it. I was sorry to see it end.

johnratzenberger342 karma

Thank you. It sounds as though you're really going to like John Ratzenberger's American Made - http://www.fundanything.com/americanmade

Best to you and your family.

playdevilsadvocate1218 karma

What was your favorite episode of cheers and your favorite line from the show?

johnratzenberger425 karma

Favorite episode was when Cliff dated Diane and sang Misty to her.

beef_supreme12210 karma

Who was your favorite character to voice?

johnratzenberger534 karma

hammy the pig

Evan-Pretzer202 karma


johnratzenberger502 karma

Ted plays a cop, Kelsey played a general and I was an officer of the Alliance in Star Wars so its a hard call.

rdowse64194 karma

Do you watch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"? How do you think Cliff would fare in such a bar?

johnratzenberger410 karma

I enjoy watching Danny Devito and whatever he is in.

CHEERZ4EVAR183 karma

Are you a cat or dog person? Or neither one of them?

johnratzenberger925 karma

With the right preparation and spices I think they both taste great. Just kidding. I'm a dog guy.

Oilfan9911177 karma

Hi John,

Could you please share a story or two about working with the great Nicholas Colasanto?


johnratzenberger342 karma

I asked Nick what it is that makes his character so funny and he said he just thinks like a 12 year old.

schumann10175 karma

What was it like to intermittently return to the character of Cliff over the years, such as when you appeared on Frasier?

johnratzenberger382 karma

Having invented the role of Cliff in the original audition for the show he's never far away. I don't need a seance to conjure him up.

SinnerOfAttention147 karma

I love you. What's your favorite color???

johnratzenberger460 karma

Right now its blush red.

PrivatePilot139 karma

Hi John. Thank you for doing the AMA.

While I appreciate the sentiment behind shows like American Made, I also wonder what your thoughts are on the intangible things produced right here in the USA. Shows like yours place high value on products that can be held in your hand and closely associate them with patriotism. I, along with many others in the Reddit community, am a software developer. I work hard every day to produce a high quality product. While my hands don't get dirty, I do feel that I am producing something of value. What are your thoughts on products that are made of bits instead of atoms? Products that cannot be held in your hand but still have great value to the American economy? Of course, I don't expect any TV shows to document what I do for a living. I realize that watching a person write code is certainly not going to build a TV audience, but do you think that these products deserve some credit as well?

johnratzenberger289 karma

In fact our new show plans to highlight jobs just like yours. We are starting at the electrical turbines and following electricity to show how its all interconnected. We're all part of the same tapestry.

EarthboundCory123 karma

I've been a fan of yours ever since Camp Cucamonga (I was too young to watch Cheers at the time).

A few questions:

How comfortable were your stools on Cheers, especially after filming for 11 season? Was the cast as close as it seemed on screen? How many of the Cliff-isms were your own idea (or were they mostly always written for you directly)?

Finally...when is Pixar going to finally give you a starring role?

johnratzenberger255 karma

The character of Cliff himself was actually my idea. They really gave me the freedom to throw in my own lines from time to time. The cast to this day is extremely close. As you can see, Rhea and Kirstie are working together again and I just had dinner with George and Ted a couple of weeks ago.

Never gave the stools a thought until this moment so they must have been very comfortable!

Stopthegarbagemasher122 karma

Why did they over-dub your voice in Gandhi?

johnratzenberger201 karma

They didn't want to spend the money flying me back to London from Los Angeles to re-record becuase of the noise from the Jeeps motor.

CeleryintheButt120 karma

Hey John, loved you as Cliff on Cheers. I rewatched the entire series this past Spring and Cliff was by far my favorite character. My favorite Cliff Clavin quote was "They did a study between postal workers and chimpanzees. They proved chimps were 32% slower. Of course, they were better with public relations."

My question is, what were you guys actually drinking on set? Near beer?

johnratzenberger148 karma

Yes, non-alcoholic beet. tasted horrible!

Brad_Wesley116 karma

Can you tell me about the history of plumbing?

johnratzenberger362 karma

Try Googling the Roman aqueducts, it's a good place to start.

HandSack135102 karma

Hey Mr. Ratzenberger, Did you know the Toy Story (and Pixar as well) was going to be a massive hit? Or did you take it as a job that looked fun to do?

johnratzenberger194 karma

I had no idea it was going to be a massive hit much like Cheers, Star Wars, or Superman. I either take the job because it looks like fun but in the early days it paid the rent and put food on the table.

CheersFanForLife102 karma

Were there a lot of Cliff Clavin groupies back in the day?

johnratzenberger270 karma

There still are.

MehPsh101 karma

No question, but I thought you had passed away recently and when I found out you were still alive I was relieved. Thanks for being alive!

johnratzenberger207 karma

Yes I did survive the motorcycle crash a few years back. And thank you for wanting me to stick around!

plebsareneeded-85 karma

Any plans to open a burger joint with a extra special meat source?

johnratzenberger176 karma

As a matter of fact, a restaurant owner in Connecticut is creating a RatzenBURGER. And we have a delicious recipe for an American Made burger using Gator Rons sauce.

ADIDASects83 karma

What was your favorite Cliff joke from Cheers and what was your favorite Norm joke from Cheers?

johnratzenberger227 karma

My favorite Norm Joke was:

me: Hey Norm, how's it going Norm: It's a dog eat dog world and I'm wearing milk bone underwear.

My favorite Cliff Joke is when I sold everyone in the bar squeeky shoes.

KushTheKitten82 karma

If your childhood toys had been alive, what kind of childhood would they have seen?

johnratzenberger159 karma

They would have seen the dog burying them in the back yard as he used to do.

AverageJoe6878 karma

Do you still have the potato that looks like Nixon?

johnratzenberger411 karma

No but I'll bet you now Nixon looks like a potato.

jonnystinkworm68 karma

Were you in Motel Hell? That was awesome. Will you do more Motel Hells? It would be awesome if you did more Motel Hells.

johnratzenberger123 karma

Yes I was in Motel Hell. I played the punk rocker. If there are more Motel Hells made and if they ask me I will certainly consider it.

MrThrasher65 karma

I would like to hear some anecdotes from working on Empire Strikes Back and House II....

johnratzenberger131 karma

I got to work with Carrie Fisher and as a matter of fact I'll see her again this week when she films a guest spot on Legit.

TotallyAwesomeIRL64 karma

Hey John - You still have the house on that little PNW island? I met you a few times as a teenager working at the local video store there, thanks for being a nice guy to a kid!

johnratzenberger92 karma

You're welcome kid! We moved off the island a few years ago but its still one of our favorite places in the world.

dobie1kenobi61 karma

Loved you on Cheers and even more so in your voice over work. Have you worked with audiobooks at all? If so, which titles so I can be on the look out for them :)

johnratzenberger121 karma

I did record the Complete Idiots Guide to the Bible as well as Haunted Kids. You can buy both on Amazon!

josephine_amos56 karma

Hi, John, I'm a big fan, love Cheers, and I think you're awesome and really talented! Silly questions:

  1. What makes you laugh?
  2. Are you ticklish? If so where and are your feet ticklish?

I hope this makes you smile! Love & light Jo X

johnratzenberger112 karma

Laurel and Hardy, Ricky Gervais, and well written shows. I am ticklish, pretty much everywhere.

Dan_Ashcroft51 karma

Have you ever been snipe hunting?

johnratzenberger133 karma

No but I have a board stretcher and a bucket of steam at home.

aabbccatx45 karma

Do you enjoy the made for TV specials as much as the features?

Also, my nephew LOVES Mack. Thank you for what you do.

johnratzenberger66 karma

The work and process is the same, I just feel very fortunate and blessed that I can make a living doing what I do.

debussy_fields45 karma

Is the Bermuda Triangle REALLY not a triangle?

johnratzenberger103 karma

I believe its more of a trapezoid.

theBRZA44 karma

Hi Mr. Ratzenburger, do you remember your appaearance on the Opie & Anthony radio show where comedian Jim Jeffries diefied you and did spot on impressions of you (well, Cliff specifically). How surreal was that and does that happen often? Cheers! (no horrible pun intended, sir).

johnratzenberger70 karma

That happens a lot now that I am working with Jim Jeffries on Legit. Almost every day!

Hoggy11044 karma

Hey John.

I'm a really big fan of the Pixar movies (though I suppose everyone else here is). My question is how did the whole 'Pixar good luck charm' thing happen?

Thanks for doing this AMA

johnratzenberger91 karma

That's a question for the Pixar team. I'm just happy that they still have my number!

amazonallie44 karma

Hi John...

No question... just telling you that I love you to death.... Cliff Clavin is a true hero... not in the hero sense of good... but hero in the sense that Homer Simpson is also my hero...

Can you please tell the beer makes you smarter story though... I love that one!

johnratzenberger88 karma

Google buffalo theory because it's a lengthy explanation and I don't want to misquote it.


Hi John! How about a little known fact?

johnratzenberger146 karma

It's a little known fact that there's no such thing as useless information.

DweadPiwateWoberts40 karma

Do you have a bar which is your own real-life "Cheers"?

johnratzenberger88 karma

No but when we go out to eat my wife and I usually sit at the bar.

markko7937 karma

Is it true that you were a school teacher before you became an actor?

johnratzenberger81 karma

I founded a school in Washington State and in London I taught children carpentry. But was never a bonafide teacher per se.


What kind of shoes are you wearing at the moment?...Just curious

johnratzenberger97 karma

I am wearing new balance. Made in the good old US of A.

losferwords32 karma

What makes the perfect pita?

johnratzenberger76 karma

Peanut Butter and bacon.

barkynbonkers31 karma

Weren't you in Superman, the Movie? Some sort of missile driver or something? Was that your first gig?

johnratzenberger68 karma

I was in Superman 1 and 2. One had to do with missiles, the other had to do with a moon landing. My first movie gig was The RItz directed by Richard Lester.

skinny844631 karma

I really enjoyed the "Made in America" series and was wondering why you're not continuing that show as opposed to starting anew? Also, you should link to your crowdfunding from here.

johnratzenberger53 karma

The new one gives us more freedom to focus on the people as well as the products. Support us here at: http://fundanything.com/americanmade

klaatubarada25 karma

How did you get into acting? Did you want to do it from a young age?

johnratzenberger52 karma

Until I got into college I never gave it a thought. I started my career in London after a two week visit turned into ten years of steady stage, TV and screen work that became my life.

BrooklynNets22 karma

Which of your characters are you most often recognised for?

johnratzenberger44 karma

Its either Cheers, Pixar or American Made.

Check out my new show at:


drinkmorecoffee10 karma

Holy crap I made it to a sweet AMA before the person leaves for the day, and I don't even have a question.

Just a simple nod and brofist for bringing such laughs to everything you do. Thanks for being so hilariously great!

johnratzenberger21 karma

And I hardy handshake of thanks to you.

hedfunk7 karma

Hi John, Cheers was the sitcom that got me into sitcoms when I was a kid in the late 90's! Thankfully a channel in the UK had them on repeat often!

Who could drink the most beer out of you and norm when you went out drinking for real?

johnratzenberger28 karma

You do know that Norm is a make believe character...I would have to say Norm wins hands down. If he really existed.

MrSnider326 karma

Favorite Woody moment?

Edit: also, Coach moment and Gary prank? Coach was the best

johnratzenberger12 karma

When George Wendt and I fired a spitball into Woody's hair during one of his closeups at the bar. No one ever noticed. And if you look closely at that scene you can see the spitballs flying into his head.

handjivewilly6 karma

Was "Made In America." As much fun as it looked? Were you nervous about screwing up when they letyou do the work they were doing?

johnratzenberger15 karma

It was a lot of fun and I wasn't worried about screwing up because before I became an actor I had done similar jobs. Hope you enjoy John Ratzenberger's American Made - http://www.fundanything.com/americanmade

Your_Favorite_Poster6 karma

George Wendt was amazing in the 1980's movie Gung Ho. If they rewrote that movie and casted you as his fun-loving car factory friend, a la your Cheers characters, would you take that role? Even if they replaced Michael Keaton with, say, Benedict Cumberbatch?

johnratzenberger25 karma

More than one hypothetical makes me sneeze.

radiobrat782 karma

John, Have you always been in the world of voice acting, or did that come about after you gained notoriety? Also, how can a regular guy get started in it?

johnratzenberger6 karma

Show up on time.

lightninhopkins1 karma

What Nicholas Colasanto like to work with? He always seemed like a sweet guy, but I don't really know.


johnratzenberger3 karma

He was the best. On the weekends we'd ride around in an old pick up truck I had. As a matter of fact I have to hit the road now.

r_a_g_s1 karma

As a real-life Jeopardy! champ myself, I loved the Cheers episode where Cliff played on Jeopardy. Have they ever invited you for Celebrity Jeopardy? I'd love to watch you on the show for real.

johnratzenberger1 karma

Jeopardy has always been appointment television for me. I'm a champion sitting on the sofa but don't know how well I would do on the show. I would be willing to give it a shot though.

uberlad1 karma


johnratzenberger22 karma

Always spend money on your mattress and on your shoes. If your not laying down on one, you're standing up in the other.