The Red Guy from the Cartoon Network series Cow And Chicken was arguably one of the greatest cartoon characters ever created. For me he’s up there with Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and Foghorn Leghorn.
Created by David Weiss, Cow & Chicken and the spin-off show I Am Weasel were brilliant cartoons that appealed not only to young kids but also teenagers and even adults. These two cartoons built on the groundwork laid down by the likes of Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy and MTV’s Beavis & Butthead, and they possessed a wonderful mix of of zany, surreal, slapstick, and sometimes darkly comedic content and stood out from other, safer, more typical children’s shows.
Cow And Chicken had some hilarious moments and nine times out of ten it was when the The Red Guy showed up. The Red Guy if you don’t know was an ever-present character and source of all angst, conflict, and adventure on the show, he slipped into various guises and with a quick wardrobe and name change he was the same yet different character each episode.
Sometimes sliding into scene, sometimes “butt walking”, and sometimes rolling towards the camera, The Red Guy was a constant source of hilarity. His unique, cheeky yet slightly pervy laugh was very amusing and let’s not forget his constant buttock-genitalia-underwear-related pseudonyms such as Rear Admiral Floyd, Major Wedgie, Mrs. Barederriere, Geraldo Rearviewa, Larry Lackapants, Baron Von Non-Leiderhosen, and Lance Sackless to name but a few. Everything The Red Guy said and did was side-splittingly funny.
The Red Guy popped up in almost every episode to torment Cow, Chicken, Weasel, and Baboon and eventually lead them into all kinds of hijinks and chaos, for instance giving Chicken a credit card and then pestering him for payment for a single piece of chewing gum or putting Cow and Chicken through military hell like a toon version of Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey.
The Red Guy was of course the devil; the source of all mischievousness, strife, and general evilness, but when he changed his outfit and entered the plot as a different character ranging from an Admiral to an Air Stewardess, he went unnoticed by the other characters on screen, a fantastic cartoon convention of being oblivious to the obvious.
Every single Reg Guy alter ego was hysterical, from The King And Queen Of Cheese to The Orthodontic Policeman, and even his “Dead Ghost, Coast to Coast” brilliantly parodied Cartoon Network’s own Space Ghost, Coast To Coast. When he played Bunny the Flight Attendant in episode “Chicken’s Don’t Fly”, his endless, replayed walk down the aisle followed by him serving Cow And Chicken their in-flight meal consisting of a live owl, is an example of his surreal antics. Safe to say that every time The Red Guy showed up it was priceless comedy.
Voiced by Charlie Adler (who also played Professor Monkey-For-A-Head in Earthworm Jim amongst other things) The Red Guy is a classic character and it would be great to see something as witty and daring as both Cow And Chicken and The Red Guy back on Cartoon Network, because at the moment, all the lame, lacklustre, hipster-enticing shite they have airing on their channel is a real turn off, quite literally.