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Sit down, maybe, but Will will never shut up

Will Arnett (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Will Arnett (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

“My PEANUT butter! … my PEAnut butter! … MYYYY peanut butter!”

At full throttle, Will Arnett was pushing out one version, then another, of his line. After the fourth or fifth stab, he burst into laughter.

“That’s great,” said Arnett’s collaborator, who was nowhere to be seen in the Manhattan recording studio, but could be heard through the control room speakers as if he were there.

That voice belonged to Mitchell Hurwitz, creator of the Fox animated comedy “Sit Down, Shut Up,” weighing in from his home base in Los Angeles.

The series, focusing on the demented teachers and staff of a small Florida high school, premieres tonight at 8:30 (KAYU-28, cable channel 3 in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene).

But this particular recording session took place last October. With cartoons, the characters’ voices are recorded first; only then can the time-consuming business of animation begin.

The cast also includes Jason Bateman, Kristin Chenoweth, Will Forte, Kenan Thompson, Cheri Oteri and Henry Winkler.

Arnett voices Ennis Hofftard, a snide English teacher and would-be athlete who wears Spandex bike shorts at all times.

“It goes without saying, I’m a Hollywood insider,” he began mock-grandly when asked how he got the job.

He at least has an in with Hurwitz, whose twisted comedy “Arrested Development” featured Arnett as Gob Bluth, the scheming older brother of Michael Bluth (played by Bateman).

The 38-year-old Arnett has also shown comic chops in films including “Semi-Pro” and “Blades of Glory,” has a recurring role on TV’s “30 Rock,” and voiced animated films that include the current hit “Monsters vs. Aliens.”

Maybe best of all, he’s married to former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Amy Poehler – whose NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” premiered earlier this month and who, on this October afternoon, was just days away from delivering their first child, Archie.

Dressed in jeans, boots and a leather jacket over a hooded sweatshirt, Arnett spoke approvingly of voice work: “You don’t have to go to hair-and-makeup and wardrobe. You hop into an elevator and come to a studio in midtown.

“By 5:30, I’m back doing all my charity work.”

In Ennis’ gravelly bluster, Arnett tore into his dialogue: “That’s outrageous! I have a long list of demands – No. 1: a list of demands … No. 2: you accept full blame for this … No. 3: I want whiskey to come in cans.”

Hurwitz suggested, “How about a helicopter?”

Arnett: “I want a chopper, fully gassed, on the helipad within the next half-hour. I want whiskey to come in cans. And could you fill that helicopter with whiskey? But not FILLED. Obviously, leave room for me and the pilot.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Hugh O’Brian is 84. Actress Elinor Donahue (“Father Knows Best”) is 72. Actor Tim Curry is 63. Hip-hop mogul Suge Knight is 44. Actress Ashley Judd is 41. Actor James Franco is 31. Actress Kate Hudson is 30. Actor Hayden Christensen is 28. Actress Catalina Sandino Moreno (“Maria Full of Grace”) is 28.