For nearly 15 years, Beck Bennett has been creating sketch comedy with Kyle Mooney, who happens to be a San Diego native. The two have created a whole new generation of Digital Shorts-type sketches on SNL, and one of their most hilarious and spot-on bits is “Inside SoCal,” which actually started life long before both men became SNL cast members.
When I got a chance to talk to Bennett at D23 (where he was appearing as the new voice of Launchpad McQuack at the DuckTales panel), I couldn’t let the opportunity pass by to find out how to perfect the beautiful and rare San Diegan accent.
I need to know, what’s the key to the perfect San Diego accent?
Oh man. I’d say it would be like, let me just [affecting San Diego accent] do it real quick or whatever. It’s like … Well the trick is that it starts to go into, like, Southern. Cause it starts something like, that or something like that. But it’s … It’s really just not moving your lips, as little as possible. Just sorta like … Whatever. Yeah
Did Kyle Mooney have to teach you that, or was that something that you had already observed?
Yeah, yeah. I watched him do it, and then the first time we did “Inside SoCal” on YouTube, we went to San Diego and we went to a bar and went to a house party and watched these guys, and yeah. Cause it’s not like, [energetic surfer voice] “What’s up, dude?”
It’s more a, “Whatever.”
Have you experienced that before, or was Kyle your first exposure to that lifestyle?
It was my first exposure to that, yeah. Him and Dave, the director of our comedy group, Dave McCary. Yeah.
I’m sure you hear this all the time, but for California natives, watching you and Kyle do that is so perfect.
Yeah. And to me, I kinda got it cause I went to school at USC and I understood it a little bit, and to me I was like, “Yeah. This is universal.” Some people, a lot of people are like, “I don’t understand that, that sort of mumbly thing.” But Californians really, obviously appreciate it.
Do you find that that voice or that personality type, working its way into other sketches and other characters that you do?
Yeah. I mean, just because my general vibe, you know, my look and my voice, I play a lot of bros and dudes. You know like, coaches, dads, or even stockbrokers.
Well I noticed there’s a lot of the San Diego inflection and the reality show sketches that you and Kyle do.
Oh yeah, well another thing is that we really like … We like watching these internet videos, or just old stilted performances that are just kinda … I don’t know we watched a lot of old VHS’. And even sitcoms, like Saved by the Bell or whatever, where it’s like … That’s not quite as stilted but it’s more like, “What’s up!” Just kinda, it’s surreal. It’s strange. So to play with that world is really fun.
What’s your favorite character to play, overall? Anywhere. Whether it’s a recurring character, or whether it’s a type?
[thinking] Huh. I actually would say it used to be these aggro-intense guys, but that’s kind of exhausting and not quite as much fun. I like playing, kind of the Launchpad version of it. Where it’s sweet and stupid and confident, it’s my favorite thing to play.