Years ago, the internet was taken by storm by the adorable stop-motion character Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. A sequel to the original Marcel the Shell video came out shortly after in 2011, but a third video didn’t show up until this year. You can read the announcement for the third video, along with a Marcel the Shell movie announcement here, but you might also be interested to know where the Marcel character comes from. Jenny Slate, the actress who voices Marcel the Shell with no audio effects whatsoever, recently spoke about Marcel’s origins and even appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to sing a brief number in Marcel’s voice.
You can watch Marcel the Shell’s sad but hilarious song about the death of his mother in the video above, preceded by a story about how the Marcel voice came about. Jenny explains that she was with her husband and a bunch of other friends in a hotel room for a wedding. The room was so small that Slate started talking in a tiny voice, claiming she felt squished — which ended up being Marcel’s voice. Her husband then suggested that the two of them collaborate on a video for a mutual friend’s art show, which evolved into the first video for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Marcel was only intended for Slate’s friends, but they liked it so much that they uploaded the video to the internet. Since then, all of the Marcel the Shell videos have accumulated millions of views.
You can watch the third Marcel the Shell video below:
The third Marcel the Shell video was released in conjunction with a new children’s book centered around Marcel the Shell with Shoes On called Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been, which is available now from Amazon. Jenny Slate recently spoke with People about the new Marcel the Shell releases and about Marcel’s surprising viral success.
“When the video went viral, there were so many different things we could do with it. But what we wanted to do first was make the books. And to make beautiful things for children of all ages — whether you’re 7 or 77, there’s a kid in there somewhere.”
Slate works with her husband Dean Fleisher-Camp on the Marcel the Shell products, writing and directing the material together. Slate voices Marcel and Fleisher-Camp provides the questions to the character in a documentary style.
You can see Marcel’s talented voice, Jenny Slate, on the FX comedy Married.