Lion King Lion King


Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Shenzi with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Lion King

Created by Pokejedservo on Jan 3 2010
The Lion King (1994)
ShenziWhoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
Timon & Pumbaa (1995)
ShenziTress MacNeille
Tress MacNeille


Well folks its been a little while since the last time I did this but we will be having a new Disney VC and this time its from the Lion King and it will be the leader of the 3 Hyenas namely SHENZI!

In the 1994 classic movie Lion King she was voiced by known comedic actress Whoopi Goldberg. Like I said before Shenzi whom is the only female of the trio is the leader because as for actual Hyenas the Females are actually the dominant gender and Shenzi is also the "Smart One" of the group. (Though of course that's not exactly saying much...) While Shenzi is the leader of a trio of vicious carnivorous Hyenas those 3 are still at heart Comedy Relief, granted Evil Comedy Relief but Comedy Relief nevertheless anyways Whoopi's voicework certainly did fit the role overall. Whoopi's performance did certainly suit Shenzi's overall persona well and had good chemistry with Cheech "Banzai" Marin, not one of the best "Celebrity Performances" in a Animated Disney Film but a good example nevertheless.

In the Hyena's other voice-acted appearances Shenzi was voiced by VA Tress MacNeille and "Stand-In" Voices for Animated Disney characters are usually lukewarm at best and this is no exception. Now don't get me wrong Tress is by all means a fine VA and this performance is not really bad but it was kind of uneven. How so you ask, well sometimes as you can tell here Tress has done fairly good attempts at trying to make her performance in spirit with Whoopi's but also Tress did occasionally slip into her usual "Evil Grandma" voice as Shenzi before as well. But in Tress' defense when it comes to "Stand-in" voices of characters whom were originally voiced by Celebrities I have heard much worse. But still while Tress' work as Shenzi was OK but its by no means one of the best examples of her handiwork.

So overall yeah I admit I am going with Whoopi on this one for sure.



Add a Comment

said at 4:31 AM on Mon Sep 25 2017
Definitely Whoopi Goldberg. She sounds quite sinister but still goofy as Shenzi. I wonder why she doesn't do more voicework.

Tress MacNeille is nothing special. Decent but still lacking compared to Whoopi.
said at 8:27 PM on Sun Sep 24 2017
1. Whoopi Goldberg: Goldberg's voice is very fitting for Shenzi. She fits the sarcastic, vindictive and violent character quite well.
2. Tress MacNeille: MacNeille is okay at best, but at times she kinda slips into her Queen of Hearts voice.
said at 7:39 PM on Tue Jul 25 2017
Whoopi wins. No contest.
said at 1:57 PM on Fri Jan 27 2017
 1 Shout Out!
Whoopi Goldberg, no contest.

Tress MacNeille's impression is good, though.
said at 11:35 AM on Sun Feb 7 2016
 4 Shout Outs!
Whoopi Goldberg voicing a comic relief villain....this is a fantastic example of playing against type. The attitude that she just brings to the role is great and strikes a nice balance of bumbling comic relief and being a legit vicious type of villain.

Tress MacNeille does a pretty good job at emulating Whoopi and still making the character her own.

I like both but I'm ultimately giving this one to Whoopi Goldberg.

FUN FACT: Tommy Chong was originally going to voice Shenzi, yeah Shenzi and Banzai were gonna be Cheech and Chong as Hyena's. A part of me wishes that happened but I'm content with Whoopi's portrayal.
said at 12:14 AM on Wed Mar 11 2015
 5 Shout Outs!
Yakko and Dot are the replacement Banzai and Shenzi!
said at 10:16 PM on Wed Aug 6 2014
Both sounds really similar I will consider this a tie
said at 6:41 PM on Sun Jun 1 2014
 3 Shout Outs!
Anyone else amused by Yakko and Dot voicing Banzai and Shenzi? All we need is Jess Harnell as Ed and we'll have he Warner Brothers(and the Warner Sister, Dot).
said at 1:20 AM on Sat Jun 27 2015
@Bookman230 Since Cummings is a VA full time, as opposed to the celebs Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin, I suppose he'll always be the voice of Ed.
said at 1:45 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 2 Shout Outs!
Whoopi, obviously. Though didn't Tress's Whoopi impression improve by KH2?
virtual revenger
said at 1:10 PM on Tue Aug 20 2013
Whoopi is more like Shenzi since she is acts more similar to what the female hyenas are like the more dominant sex.
said at 4:43 PM on Wed Jul 17 2013
Whoopi is funny while Tress did ok.
said at 10:44 AM on Thu Jun 6 2013
Whoopi making better villain. I decide for her.
said at 4:21 PM on Thu May 16 2013
Whoopi was the better cause she more into Shenzi
said at 7:28 AM on Sun Apr 21 2013
 1 Shout Out!
As far as I'm concerned, Whoopi Goldberg was Shenzi. She was able to make Shenzi not only a villainous sidekick, but she was able to make her sexy, vicious and darn threatening. Plus it is always great to hear actors who have done live-action venture themselves into the world of animation.
said at 12:05 PM on Fri Jun 1 2012
I like both but of course Whoopi was the best. I liked Tress' voice a lot though. "I'm there!"
said at 4:18 PM on Fri Mar 30 2012
 1 Shout Out!
Once again the voice casting for the Lion king was impeccable here, Whoopi was hilarious as Shenzi, pretty much gave her that personality!

Tress was commendable as well, no complaints here.
said at 9:38 PM on Wed Aug 31 2011
Tress actually has improved her work with Shenzi why in Kingdom Hearts II you couldn't even tell it was her
said at 3:58 PM on Fri Jun 3 2011
Whoopi is better hands down
Not to mention Shenzi is modeled after her
said at 6:58 PM on Wed Feb 9 2011
OMG, Tress would kill me but I voted for Whoopi. She nailed it and she is one of my favorite characters from movie. (The reason I said Tress will kill me is because She is my favorite voice actor.)
said at 7:52 PM on Mon Jan 4 2010
I understand where your coming from but are you saying that administrators such as Jackson and I should keep our opinions to ourselves? If that is what you mean I am not certain whether if I agree whether if administrators should never give their opinions on the VCs. I mean the point about VCs are that everyone can give their opinion on them. But I will speak with site owner Foxwolf about this to see what we will do.
Jackson_H (Admin)
said at 3:45 PM on Mon Jan 4 2010
hmm interesting point. I sort of agree with you and I'll update my VC right now. :)

I'll still leave in the basic info like who voiced the character when and some character background info. :)

Also we never know when a character might get a new VA in the future. It would save trouble from constantly updating the description. :D
Jackson_H (Admin)
said at 11:25 PM on Sun Jan 3 2010
Both did good but I personally like Whoopi a little better.

btw the Whoppi clip is a some static. I could get a clearer version for you if you want? Some lines and everything :)
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Who do you think has been the best from these Shenzi voice actors?
Whoopi Goldberg
Tress MacNeille