Hey Reddit!

Janet reporting in. I've been asked to do an AMA for while, so here I am! You can ask me anything from my work as the voice of Korra all the way to on Burning Love and Rifftrax!

So ask me anything. I'll be around for the next couple hours.

Aaaaand I'm going to be part of a 12-hour live stream called Pardcast-a-Thon on Nov 29th (starts at noon PST), which is raising money for an AMAZING charity called Smile Train. Alongside me will be Zach Galifianakis, Andy Richter, Patton Oswalt and a bunch of other funny people. The charity helps provide surgeries to children born with cleft lip who can’t afford it. Love this cause and I think it's really important to help these needy kids smile.

Here’s the info: http://www.laffster.com/nnf

Oh, and of course, proof: http://i.imgur.com/MAuZ1He.jpg

EDIT: Twitter proof!!! https://twitter.com/janetvarney/status/405786573859328001

EDIT 2: So guys... I actually do have to jump off now, believe it or not, because I am headed to the opera! Ooh la la! I have enjoyed these 2 hours tremendously and I wish I could have answered every single solitary question but there were so many coming in so fast! I am so honored and thrilled that you came aboard to hang out with me this afternoon. I hope you're all looking forward to a wonderful holiday tomorrow!

And please catch Pardcast-a-Thon!

And support Smile Train!

Info Here

Comments: 1301 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

burf12345700 karma

  • before you got asked to do the voice of Korra, how much did you know about and/or watch the original series?

  • is there any new cast member you're excited to work with during the production of Book 3?

  • which character from either series do you most relate with?

thanks for doing this AmA, it means so much to everyone on /r/TheLastAirbender

janetvarney728 karma

Hi! I was absolutely a fan of the show. I hadn't seen the entire series and I actually stopped watching when the audition process started for Korra because I didn't want to get too attached! This is something actors do to protect their feelings and it seldom works. :)

I don't think I can talk much about the cast of Book 3 yet! I wish I could! All I can say is that there are yet MORE amazing people!

There are so many great characters from both series, it's so hard to choose just one! But I have to be perfectly honest and say that I can relate a lot to Bolin. Like his alter-ego PJ, I get very excited about everything and sometimes I talk too much! But then like Korra, I can also be very impatient.

zherper585 karma

If you were in the world of The Legend of Korra, but couldn't bend any element, what type of combat (sword fighting, archery, BOOMERANG!,etc.) would you choose and why?

I love the show so much and thanks for answering ahead of time :D

EDIT: My highest rated comment ever, good thing I got here early

janetvarney783 karma

Awesome question - I have never been asked that before! Hmmm... man, that is a REALLY good question. I think I would pick sword fighting. The dexterity, the grace, the satisfying "clink" of the swords clashing... right??

MalarzPrawdy300 karma

Would you make a space sword, like sokka?

janetvarney417 karma

A sokka! How cool would that be?

forthebooks554 karma

Where did you learn such amazing waterbending skills?

janetvarney433 karma

Ha! It’s the weirdest thing – I just woke up one day and could just do all of that “amazing” stuff.

CondorP16534 karma

This is the first time I've caught an ama so early! And I don't really know what to say , but you have been making my Friday nights extra special.

janetvarney578 karma

Oh! You're so great! Thanks for saying that. It is SUCH an honor to be a part of Legend of Korra. I just think the world of the creators, writers, cast and network. It's a dream come true. And did I mention we have the best fans in the universe?

MllePotatochips531 karma

What is one of the funniest, most awkward, or unsettling things that has happened to you whilst recording?

Example: I was at a panel that had a Dragonball Z voice actor present and he said that they had had actors pass out from yelling so long while recording.

janetvarney625 karma

Well, I will say that anytime I have to do a bit where I've been running and I'm panting, I almost pass out every time! It's so strange- when you've actually BEEN running, it's not like we all pass out every other second. But when you're standing still and you have to PRETEND like you were running, it's headrush city! Other than that, I will say that I had to come to work and try and record at the tail end of a very bad cold. There's nothing quite like hearing yourself blow your nose into a microphone, knowing that everyone else is hearing it too- VERY WELL - to make you feel like a real dork.

MySockHurts481 karma

Would you rather fight 100 dragonfly bunny spirit-sized Unavaatus or 1 Unavaatu-sized dragonfly bunny spirit?

janetvarney427 karma

Wow, what an image! I think I'm going to have to go with 1 Unavaatu-sized dragonfly bunny spirit. The more of them there are, no matter how big or small, the more likely they'll get the jump on me!

Fox_Tango423 karma

Janet, What's happening in the next season? Don't worry, we won't tell anyone you told us.

janetvarney1009 karma

Hee hee! Okay, great. I'll just tell you everything that happens in Book 3, right now. So what happens is... uh oh, something strange is happening with my keyboard and I can't... seem... to... type....

kurb43283 karma

If you were born in the Avatar world, which element would you want to bend and why?

janetvarney498 karma

I think I would have to say water. Not just to be loyal to Korra, but also because I love the effects of water bending. Also, I'm from the desert of Arizona, so I've always been very bewitched by rivers/oceans/lakes!

janetvarney395 karma

Avatar Wiki needs to check out all the interviews I've done! I have said fire and I have said water - I frequently say it depends on my mood! Today... WATER! ;)

-Badger-277 karma


janetvarney465 karma

Oh, he's just the coolest ever. He's so cool. I'm super intimidated by how cool he is, even though he's the nicest, too.

He's like... the person you desperately want to like you, and to make laugh, but he's always cool as a cucumber so you end up acting like a hyper puppy?

pecan50254 karma

What was you favorite character moment of the Legend of Korra in terms of Korra's development as the Avatar and a person?

What was your greatest challenge as an actor? Like what Scene or part do you feel best showcases your talents as an Actress?

Love your work!

janetvarney463 karma

Hi! I really love the moment she realizes she's in touch with Aang for the first time. That recognition that she is truly connected to something bigger than herself - the thing Tenzin keeps trying to get her to understand... that is a beautiful thing. Both as the Avatar and as a person (who could use some humbling!)

I would say the biggest and best challenges, and therefore some of my favorite moments in the series are when Korra is afraid and sad, because I'm doing that stuff in a recording booth. I like to say it calls upon that part of your imagination that you never lose from when you're a child - you really have to close your eyes and just see the world around you and let the great writing and your own emotions take over.

jarcraig167 karma

I am a big fan of yours! When you dressed up as Korra, that was pretty awesome and hilarious.

Would you ever consider actually going dark with your hair? It looked great!

janetvarney233 karma

You are so awesome- thank you so much! I had so much fun doing that even though it was suuuuuper embarrassing. So much for seeming cool. If that ever was the case anyway! ;) I use to have super short, dark dark reddish brown hair maybe 15 years ago... it was fun! It's harder to change when you're in showbiz though. I wish I were like Jennifer Lawrence and could have a different look for every movie!

yeeeeehmuffins160 karma

Hi Janet, Thanks for taking the time to do this! My question is: What has been your favorite episode of Legend of Korra so far?

janetvarney222 karma

Great question! I really loved the first episode of Book 2 because it was so incredibly exciting to be back where Korra's from, meet new characters, and perhaps most exciting- see our first Spirit!

vamsi93155 karma

Just wanted to say you are awesome, and thank you so much for having the Legend of Korra finale put up after the 10k reblogs, as you promised.

As for my question, what are your favorite TV shows?

janetvarney239 karma

My pleasure! And thank you so much! I seriously love the LoK fans so much and I'm so thrilled the finale made it that night! Favorite tv shows... good one! I love the first 3 seasons of BBC's Misfits. I love Tennant-era Doctor Who (with all love to Matt Smith!). I love the new Sundance show The Returned. Those are the 3 that popped into my mind!

Roziere149 karma

Hi Janet! Love your work on Korra, and I especially am a huge fan of your JV Club podcast. I moved away for a job last year, and listening to your podcast really helped me feel like I was still just sitting chatting with friends about things when I was feeling lonely. I'll actually be listening to a few on the way home for Thanksgiving tomorrow. :-) Thank you for making it!

What made you decide to start podcasting? Favorite episode?

janetvarney155 karma

Oh my gosh- thank you so much! I love podcasting with all my heart. That and Korra (and Burning Love) are some of my favorite things I've ever done. In life! It's so hard to pick a favorite JV Club Podcast episode...

All those ladies are so amazing and inspiring! They kind of go in rotation for me when I think about them. I know a recent favorite was of course Kate Micucci!

dvdmon111 karma

Did you watch all of TLA as prep? Have you read any of the subsequent graphic novels? How much does the cast and crew discuss the history and mythology of the LOK/TLA universe?

janetvarney158 karma

I did, not really for prep, to be honest, as much as I JUST LOVE BOTH SERIES SO MUCH as a fan! I haven't delved into the book side of things yet but I love that they're out there and will at some point! I would say the cast and writers really focus on whatever the current episode is when we come in and are all together. That's why I'm always so excited to get to do stuff with Mike and Bryan- because I drink up anything they're willing to share/talk about with regard to the mythology and history behind the shows.

AceSpades15106 karma

Hi Janet, A little something away from LoK. How did you get "chosen" I guess to go as far as you did on Burning Love? That series was hilarious, and you nailed your role, but what was the process of looking at who would go how far each week? Was it pre-determined, did you have any input?

janetvarney98 karma

I'm so glad you like Burning Love! Or at least I hope you did! The brilliant Erica Oyama Marino and Ken Marino knew who was going to be eliminated and when from the very beginning, so I did know when we started shooting that I would be one of the last. I felt very lucky to be there that long, since it meant I got to work with everyone in that RIDICULOUSLY talented cast as long as possible!

TaylorDangerTorres93 karma

Woah. This ones still early. MAYBE THERE IS STILL A CHANCE. Did you like the "The Last Airbender" Movie? I hated it too. In spirit of thanksgiving: What's your favorite pie?


janetvarney289 karma

Never saw it, never will. And I’m gonna have to go with pecan.

I_Have_Many_Skills76 karma

Hello! What is a typical recording session like? How did you get involved with the Smile Train charity? Who is your favorite funny person?


janetvarney98 karma

Hi there! A typical recording session is usually a block of time in the morning when everyone available that day shows up and they bring us in in groups depending on who is in what scene with whom. It's a great opportunity to see all of the terrific actors in the cast and catch up with them on their lives! The incredible Andrea Romano directs our episodes, and there are writers and at least Mike or Bryan but ideally both are there as well.

I got involved with Smile Train through Jimmy Pardo, who is one of my all-time favorite funny people. He has been doing Pardcast-a-thon for years, and I'm honored when he asks me to do it. Other funny people I adore include Paul F Tompkins, Karen Kilgariff, and of course the hilarious people on Korra like PJ and John Michael Higgins!

leontes76 karma


janetvarney97 karma

We usually don't know what's coming until we get our scripts, and I have to say I kind of like the surprise- it keeps it so fresh and challenging. But I am always incredibly impressed in the depth and scope that the Korra world explores. It's one of my many favorite things about the show. I love that Mike and Bryan are not only not afraid to explore deep and important issues, they encourage it. I think it's one of the things that makes the show appeal to such a broad audience and very smart, sensitive, engaging fans in particular.

drferg71 karma

Hi Janet, you've recently hooked me in as a big Korra fan with the sheer inner strength and bravery of her character that really seems to come almost entirely from your talent as an actor.

Do you have to get really psyched up for certain lines and deep into the Korra mentality to be able to pull it off? It's just amazing when your acting, the superb writing and fantastic sound-track all seem to work together perfectly for those really intense moments (eg, "I can airbend!")

janetvarney62 karma

What a wonderful compliment!! I have to say, because of that amazing writing you mentioned, I feel it’s very easy to get into Korra-mode. I’m so glad you mentioned the sound track. It’s so beautiful it makes me cry.

ajb199067 karma

Do you miss Dinner & a Movie as much as the rest of us?

janetvarney66 karma

What a LOVELY thing to say! Thank you so much. I absolutely do. I love Paul and Claud so much- they are both very much still in my life - they're like family! - but I miss working with them. I miss the food, I miss the crew, and I miss being in Atlanta all the time. It's a great city.

datelesscalendar58 karma

How is it watching the show come together? Do you get to personally see the animation (or art rather) progress or is it largely a separate process?

janetvarney80 karma

It's definitely a separate process. The first time I see any part of a new episode is when we are brought in to do ADR for it- in large part for the action sequences. At the New York Comic Con, Bryan showed this amazing presentation on the entire process of how an episode gets made, and I was blown away!

emergencyawesome53 karma

How did the idea for SketchFest get started? And do you think you'll ever do any local comedy at Meltdown or around the Los Angeles Area?

janetvarney60 karma

My partners Cole Stratton and David Owen and I were in a sketch group with our 4th member, the marvelous Gabriel Diani (who, if you've been following the kickstarter fundraiser, is making a movie that I will be in, in large part thanks to YOU guys!) and we had a really hard time finding places to perform up in San Francisco. So we banded together 6 local sketch groups and started a festival. It has grown into this giant but wonderful beast that we love dearly even though it makes us crazy. Just like real parents!

I do live comedy in LA whenever I can but it's hard to get the time I'd like to commit- When I do, it's usually at UCB or IO or Nerdmelt though!

The_Knight_of_Ni52 karma

Oh hey. Just wondering, whom of the voice actors are most like their characters IRL?

janetvarney107 karma

Of everyone, PJ is the most like Bolin, and I love him for it.

Jjsnk1249 karma

Do you and any of the LoK cast members ever hang out together?

janetvarney81 karma

I wish we did more! Everyone is always flying around working on other stuff all the time. A lot of the time the only real time we're all in town together is when we record, or when we're doing an appearance somewhere.

CZbwoi44 karma

Korra vs. Aang, full on blood-bath, punches, fists, bending, eye-poking, screaming; who wins?

And you're awesome.

janetvarney128 karma

Don’t we all kinda think Aang would win?

Blind_Gentle41 karma

Love your work as Korra! How do you feel about Korra's development as a character over the past two seasons? She's a very different Avatar than Aang.

Also did you know about The Last Airbender before you signed up for the show?

You're amazing! :D

janetvarney43 karma

Hi, it's my pleasure to do this. It's super fun to talk to you guys.

I don't really have any input, nor have I ever tried, cause I just love what the writers do on their own. And nothing I'd suggest would be better than what they already do.

At a con in Australia, a fan said they thought my real life personality was like "Earth" and I agree.

Snorker12336 karma

Hello, Janet! Big Korra fan here. Okay, so my question is, what are your hobbies outside of acting?

janetvarney45 karma

Hi there! I love riding my bike, making crafty stuff, hanging out with my dogs and building functioning robots. The last ones not true, but I wish it were.

Sisiwakanamaru33 karma

Hello, I am a fan of your podcast and a big fan of your performance in Burning Love. I have two questions for you:

-Who would you like to invite to your podcast?

-Was June Diane Raphael a good kisser?

Thank you

janetvarney32 karma

Hi, I’m so glad you like the podcast and Burning Love. This probably isn’t surprising, but Emma Thompson is number one on my list. June in an amazing kisser.

davetichy32 karma

Hey Janet Varney, Do you ever get overwhelmed with the amount of popularity and rumors mostly with what happened with release speculations of Book 2 back in April. PLEASE RESPOND

janetvarney62 karma

Well, the hardest part about that stuff is that I really don't have any more information than the fans, most of the time. I like to say Nickelodeon probably does that because they know if they tell me, I will not be able to keep secrets from the fans! So I'm usually as in the dark (if not moreso) than the fans.

LibertarianSocialism27 karma

Hi Janet! I've always wondered this: what's your favorite line from legend of korra?

janetvarney102 karma

Hi! Probably the one I have to tell myself regularly: “Be the leaf”.

davetichy18 karma

I LOVE YOU AND YOUR WORK.... Do you think your personality resembles Korra's in any way?

janetvarney26 karma

You are so sweet! Thank you so much! I do feel that my personality resembles Korra's- mostly in the fact that she can be impulsive and impatient. I feel like a lot of the lessons she has had to learn are ones I have needed help with too!

ThisAngelBlue15 karma

Hi Janet! It's awesome that you're doing this. My question is:

Which season did you enjoy working on more? Why?

janetvarney18 karma

Hi! I can't choose! All the seasons are just too fun!

garganchua15 karma

thank you so much for coming, you have no idea how much you are idolized on the internet, on tumblr more so than here.

my question to you is, if you were asked to voice ac, or just straight up act for another show, and you had to choose, what would you choose, over korra?

janetvarney71 karma

I could never choose anything over Korra.

frank27917 karma

Hey, Janet. The first time I saw you was in Still Waiting which I thought was a surprisingly hilarious sequel. My little sister loves you but I would not let her see that movie just yet because your role in it is completely different. So I was wondering, which audience do you relate to more? Children or adults?

janetvarney4 karma

Hey! I’m so glad you enjoyed Still Waiting. Probably a boring answer, but I’d have to say both for different reasons.