The actress Jenny Slate has played strange, memorable characters all over TV -- on shows like Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, and Married -- and starred in an indie film, Obvious Child. But her most famous creation is probably Marcel the Shell, the tiny character who debutedin a YouTube video in 2011. That video, animated by Slate's husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp, has racked up more than 23 million views.
Now Marcel has returned in a new children's book, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been. In an interview with Kurt Andersen, Jenny read from the book as Marcel (listen to the audio above). She also explained the origin of his tiny voice -- and the ground rules in her house about when she can use it. Fleischer-Camp "doesn't like it when I do it to get out of doing stuff, like taking out the trash or walking the dogs," she says. "I'm also obviously not allowed to do it during romantic times."
Listen to more of Kurt and Jenny Slate's conversation.