John Roberts has been crying for a few hours. The actor—best known as the voice of shiraz-slinging, showtune-singing Linda Belcher on Fox’s mammoth hit Bob’s Burgers—just earned his first-ever Emmy Award nomination for voicing the fabulous character, placing him squarely in a race with voiceover heroes like Dan Castellaneta and Seth MacFarlane.
“I am going to throw up,” said the excited actor. “The show won last year, so we were hoping we’d get nominated again, but the fact that I got nominated was just totally a real shocker for me. This show has changed my life. Me and my mom, we’re just so excited!”
Roberts’ mother is in fact the most important part of the creation of Linda, having inspired the voice that would eventually go to the Belcher matriarch. “I’ve been imitating my mom since I was a kid, and she’s kind of that Brooklyn Italian Jewish mom that everyone knows,” says Roberts. “It’s been so fun to play her and it’s been an extension of a character I started with years ago. To have come this far just keeps growing above my expectations.” Roberts says that his mother “subtly” gushes about the show—and her indirect role on it—to her circle of friends, and as one can imagine, the Emmy nomination will likely double-down her motherly pride.
Given that Bob’s Burgers relies heavily on its ensemble of five core actors as the five members of the Belcher family, Roberts himself was shocked to be the sole individual recognized from the deserving cast. “We’re such an ensemble, really, truly an ensemble, so you got me,” he admits. “But at the same time, I think Linda’s musical and fun and she’s quirky, and she loves her kids and she loves to drink. And she’s a good mommy. There are real, genuine family moments, and the character feels very real and alive.”
The upcoming season promises even more musical moments and unchangeable Linda stubbornness, Roberts teases, adding that guest stars like Henry Winkler, Zach Galifianakis, and Paul Rudd will all bring out the best of the Belchers.
And as for Linda’s now Emmy-nominated articulation, Roberts offers a tip for channeling your own inner Belcher: “Do it all through the top of your nose. Ahhhhhhh.”