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Super Mario Bros.

Voice Compare » Super Mario Bros. » Donkey Kong

Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Donkey Kong with sound clips and images.
He's the leader of the bunch, you know him well. He's finally back to kick some tail! His coconut gun can fire in spurts. If he shoots ya, it's gonna hurt! He's bigger, faster, and stronger too, he's the first member of the DK Crew!

Donkey Kong is one of the most famous characters in video gaming. He is a big, hairy gorilla who may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he is nonetheless brave and heroic. He made his first appearance in 1981's Donkey Kong.

There are two individuals who have used the name Donkey Kong. Introduced in 1994's Donkey Kong Country is the modern-day and arguably better known Donkey Kong, instantly recognisable by his red necktie. His grandfather, Cranky Kong, was the original Donkey Kong from the 1981 arcade game, the one-time nemesis of Mario.

The modern-day Donkey Kong is a banana-loving ape who lives on DK Island and enjoys slacking off with his best friends Diddy and Dixie Kong. His nemesis is the crocodilian leader of the Kremlings, King K. Rool, who almost always tries to steal the Kongs' precious bananas. DK is generally on good terms with Mario, but they do face off every now and again.

Created by Pokejedservo on Fri Aug 14 2009, 89 Comments, Add Comment
Special thanks to NCZ for additional sound clips.
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Donkey Kong (1983)
Donkey KongSoupy Sales
Soupy Sales
Donkey Kong Country (1998)
Donkey KongRichard Yearwood
Richard Yearwood
Donkey Kong 64 (1999)
Donkey KongGrant Kirkhope
Grant Kirkhope
Donkey Kong Country (1998)
Donkey KongSterling Jarvis
Sterling Jarvis

EDITOR'S OPINION

His English speaking debut was in the early 80's Ruby Spears series "Saturday Supercade", in the Donkey Kong segments old Kids show star Soupy Sales. While Donkey Kong didn't say a lot of words other than his own name but has said them before. However in Saturday Supercade Donkey Kong was more of a playful trickster than a dumb angry brute though Soupy did certainly come up with a way to make that work.

In the Donkey Kong Country TV series done by Nelvana he was voiced by Richard Yearwood. Now I know that the DKC series was not exactly a fan favorite (loosely based on the games, had a bunch of musical numbers) but I didn't think it was so bad. And that includes Richard's take on the character as well. Granted I know that some may question the validity in this since Cranky Kong is suppose to be the original Donkey Kong here. (And that supposedly the current DK we are seeing here is DK Jr. all grown up.) But while fortunately Nintendo didn't drop any sense of a backstory that RARE tried to do on the DKC series, this is still pretty much the main image of Donkey Kong that Nintendo is still using to this date.

Overall neither one are bad but I am thinking of going with Soupy a bit more here.

(Update: Grant Kirkhope voiced DK in Donkey Kong 64 and his fairly limited work on the role is actually pretty good. Grant's voice for the role does kind of sound like the late Soupy's voice except a bit lower and gruff which does work with the role pretty well. But anyways Grant's performance is pretty good as it does suit how DK is a big dopey but heroic ape. Overall all of these guys did well but I am going with Soupy and Grant the most with Richard at a close second.)


Pokejedservo

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HienFan
said at 10:19 PM on Tue Apr 28 2015
 1 Shout Out! [?]
And I'm back to Richard but Grant and Sterling are pretty good, I know Soupy was no.1 before Grant appeared but I didn't like his take
Bauglir100
said at 6:46 AM on Thu Mar 5 2015
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
You know, retroactively, I can't help but think Soapy's take should've been saved for a Voice Compare for Cranky Kong. I know, it's still called Donkey Kong, but Cranky Kong is the older version of the original DK from the arcade game, which the DK featured in Saturday Supercade was based on.

One could replace Soapy here with Frank Welker as Donkey Kong Junior, who's supposedly a younger version of the second Donkey Kong, who's the one featured in the Donkey Kong Country games and cartoon.

You know, like how we include voice compares for different incarnations of superheroes like Robin and Green Lantern instead of putting it all on the same page.
Bauglir100
said at 6:52 AM on Thu Mar 5 2015
@Bauglir100 Sorry, I meant "Soupy".
pete
said at 9:13 PM on Sat Feb 21 2015
Love Grant but if Charlie Martinet tweeked his voice with some more muscle it(and he could be on here), I'd go with him.
HienFan
said at 3:38 AM on Sun Mar 8 2015
@pete Unfortunately I think he was only in an ad in a low quality... Or I'd vote for him right away
Starscreamsfan
said at 12:11 PM on Thu Feb 19 2015
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
Sorry Richard, but Sterling is just so AWESOME!!!

1) Soupy Sales
2) Sterling Jarvis
3) Richard Yearwood
4) Grant Kirkhope
Anthony P.
said at 12:13 AM on Wed Feb 18 2015
 4 Shout Outs! [?]
"I'd shower you with coconut cream piiieeeessss... ~"
Kiryu2012
said at 6:54 PM on Tue Feb 17 2015
 2 Shout Outs! [?]
Sterling's just plain awesome as DK's singing voice, not gonna deny.
SpongeBat1
said at 9:37 AM on Tue Feb 17 2015
 1 Shout Out! [?]
So this whole time, Richard never actually sang?

Well, Sterling did a fine job anyway.
rosebr10
said at 12:38 PM on Wed Feb 18 2015
@SpongeBat1
Everything save "Monkey Business," yes.
Ross123
said at 3:40 AM on Tue Feb 17 2015
Huh, I don't normally do this but Sterling is my new 2nd place as I just can't get enough of that song he's singing.
HienFan
said at 5:46 AM on Sat Mar 7 2015
@Ross123 That singing is really good

You know if they ever had an English voice actor for DK again they should hire Charles Martinet, you can hear his voice on NCZ's link
Ross123
said at 8:24 AM on Sat Mar 7 2015
@HienFan Saw the clip. Had to skip through some of it just to hear Charles as DK's voice.

And he's pretty good. I don't think he's as good as Grant but still good.

I'd place him 3rd overall because I still can't get over Sterling's awesome singing. That's ma jam now, I think.
HienFan
said at 4:00 AM on Sun Mar 8 2015
@Ross123 90s song yo! That might be the first time I vote for a voice that never speaks only sing(Jim Cummings as Scar at least got a PS1 game)

Anyways what's interesting about Grant is from what I can figure is that Takeshi Nagasako his current VA seem to be channeling Grant
Ross123
said at 8:24 AM on Sun Mar 22 2015
@HienFan I rarely ever put a singing VA only on my favourites lists but this is an exception cause I enjoyed it so much.

Hmmm... maybe Takeshi is channeling Grant because his is voice is considered the best DK voice by a majority of fans.
HienFan
said at 6:54 AM on Mon Mar 23 2015
@Ross123 Grant is THAT good they must pattern it after him
HienFan
said at 6:56 AM on Mon Mar 23 2015
@Ross123 And I don't usually put singers on my vote unless it's THAT good
HienFan
said at 11:08 PM on Mon Feb 16 2015
Well for speaking voices anyway for the grunts as well it'd be
1 Charles Martinet
2 Richard Yearwood
3 Grant Kirkhope
4 Takeshi Nagasako
5 Sterling Jarvis
6 Soupy Sales
HyperVoiceActing
said at 5:54 AM on Tue Feb 17 2015
@HienFan - When did Charles voice DK?
HienFan
said at 5:58 AM on Tue Feb 17 2015
@HyperVoiceActing Mario Karty 64, the first seven Mario Party games from what I recall, unfortunately no actual lines just screeching
NCZ (Admin)
said at 6:31 AM on Tue Feb 17 2015
@HyperVoiceActing For the "Donkey Kong In Real Time" setup that was used by Nintendo at various expos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcdkFsVFzMI#t=3m40s

I'm guessing him being attributed to DK's monkey sounds in the N64 games is due to a misinterpretation of a line on his website.

"Charles' voice is heard in millions of homes around the world as the voice of Mario, Wario, Luigi, Donkey Kong and now the voice of Baby Mario in Nintendo 64 games."

From what I can tell, I think these events are what he was referring to.
HienFan
said at 7:51 PM on Tue Feb 17 2015
@NCZ Very cool, it makes me like his version even more
HyperVoiceActing
said at 8:23 AM on Thu Feb 19 2015
@NCZ I actually got a kick out of that video XD.

Kinda makes me think this is how the DK Show would be like if Martinet voiced him.
HienFan
said at 11:06 PM on Thu Feb 19 2015
@HyperVoiceActing Too bad it's just a commercial and in a poor quality too, if he could voice him for a real game, I'd vote for Charles in a heartbeat but for now Richard gets my vote for sounding close to the sound effect in the older Mario Party games
HienFan
said at 3:58 AM on Sun Mar 8 2015
@HienFan Listening now Richard's singing is really cool, he's second after Charles
HienFan
said at 11:06 PM on Mon Feb 16 2015
I was wondering what was going on then DK is in top 10

Sterling is okay, he's third place
Ghosty404
said at 5:32 PM on Mon Feb 16 2015
 1 Shout Out! [?]
Go for sno-cone?
NCZ (Admin)
said at 2:50 PM on Mon Feb 16 2015
 6 Shout Outs! [?]
Fun fact: Richard Yearwood actually didn't do his own singing in the Donkey Kong Country cartoon.

Well, most of it. In this interview, he states that he only sang on the first episode.
http://youchew.net/forum/index.php?/page/Articles/_/interviews/interview-with-richard-yearwood-the-voice-of-d-r625

A bit of googling various relevant keywords brought me to the biography of Sterling Jarvis, a Toronto-based actor and singer. According to them, he sang the theme songs for Donkey Kong Country, Zoboomafoo, and Wild Kratts.

http://site.sterlingjarvis.com/bio.html

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4219954-sterling-jarvis-in-role-of-oliver-warbucks-in-annie-/

The key link here is that the music for all three shows was handled by a company called Pure West.

Listening to the theme songs of Zoboomafoo and Wild Kratts, the singer sounds exactly like DK's singing voice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj9u6SGB_GY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAXMa3w43Dk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT0A3lPvzEU

So there you have it. He didn't get much credit for it until now, but from the looks of things, Sterling Jarvis was the singing voice of DK in the Donkey Kong Country cartoon!
tmnisaac
said at 4:22 PM on Mon Feb 16 2015
@NCZ (MIND BLOWNED) cool :)
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 12:37 AM on Tue Feb 17 2015
@NCZ
Somehow I knew what song you'd choose for Sterling even before I played the clip.
HyperVoiceActing
said at 8:24 AM on Thu Feb 19 2015
@NCZ - Still a good singing voice IMO
Starscreamsfan
said at 5:56 PM on Thu Feb 5 2015
1) Soupy Sales
2) Richard Yearwood
3) Grant Kirkhope
Kiryu2012
said at 6:00 PM on Fri Dec 26 2014
1. Takashi Nagasako
2. Grant Kirkhope
3. Richard Yearwood
4. Soupy Sales

I bet Jim Cummings would make for a pretty good voice for DK, considering sometimes Takashi's DK voice reminds me of Jim's voice.
SteelEthlan
said at 1:52 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@Kiryu2012 I can see that happen and also i personally want to see Dee Bradley Baker because of his talents at animal making sounds and human, alien, etc. voices.
Kiryu2012
said at 9:17 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@SteelEthlan That could be interesting.
SteelEthlan
said at 9:10 AM on Sat Aug 9 2014
I may be the only person that Dee Bradley Baker would make an awesome Donkey Kong voice.
Bombermanp
said at 1:42 PM on Wed May 21 2014
hell i dont think grant needed all thos grunts in stuff.. all he needed was "hey!.... Cool... OK!" and he would have still won XD
Yitsul
said at 4:28 PM on Sat Apr 19 2014
where's takashi nagasako?
Nightmare Crusher
said at 4:36 PM on Sat Apr 19 2014
@Yitsul He doesn't say actual words like the three guys here.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 4:41 PM on Sat Apr 19 2014
@Yitsul Richard Yearwood and Soupy Sales have full dialogue.

Grant Kirkhope has phrases like, "Ooh, banana!" "Okay!" and "Cool!" in addition to his grunts.

Takashi Nagasako makes monkey sounds and doesn't speak English.
Ross123
said at 10:13 AM on Tue Apr 15 2014
My vote is changing to Grant for the best DK voice.
HienFan
said at 11:30 PM on Mon Apr 14 2014
1 Richard
2 Grant
3 Soupy
SmartyBoyboy
said at 7:32 PM on Sun Apr 13 2014
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
Fred Tatasciore should do a good DK voice.
Possibly Kevin Michael Richardson.
LordofEvil96
said at 6:18 PM on Mon Apr 14 2014
@SmartyBoyboy I don't know if that'll be likely since Nintendo seems to have a fear of using most voice actors from L.A. for the Mario and Donkey Kong games.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 8:06 PM on Mon Apr 14 2014
@LordofEvil96 It's not that they're afraid, it's because the voice acting in those games is nearly non-existent, so there's no point in renting out a studio in LA and hiring completely new voice actors just to record a few quips for each character, when there's nothing wrong with the pre-established local voice actors, both creatively and logistically.

Kid Icarus: Uprising and Fire Emblem: Awakening (as well as Brawl for the Metal Gear characters) prove that Nintendo are perfectly capable of getting LA talent for games that require it.
dhazzard
said at 3:56 PM on Fri Apr 18 2014
@LordofEvil96 We probably wouldn't have Kenny James as Bowser if they did, or any of the other actors for that matter.
Nightmare Crusher
said at 6:03 PM on Sun Apr 13 2014
 5 Shout Outs! [?]
I didn't think it would be less than a day before Grant overtook the poll.
Dark Kuja
said at 5:36 PM on Sun Apr 13 2014
 3 Shout Outs! [?]
I'd kinda like to hear John Dimaggio voice DK.
pete
said at 2:40 PM on Sun Apr 13 2014
If only Grant could do in cartoon, and get more material. Has potential to be so much more, still my favorite, nostalgia aside.
Dogman15
said at 10:23 AM on Sun Apr 13 2014
Now that Grant Kirkhope is an option, I've got to vote for him. Now, if Takashi Nagasako was added, that would really be a tough decision.
rosebr10
said at 10:00 AM on Sun Apr 13 2014
Sorry Richard, you're the "Banana Slamma'," but you can't beat the godly combination of

"Oh, Banana. Don. Don. Donkey Kong. Yeah!"
rosebr10
said at 10:40 AM on Sun Apr 13 2014
@rosebr10
Is it just me, or is that clip self-aware?
(rhetorical question; do not answer)
NCZ (Admin)
said at 9:45 AM on Sun Apr 13 2014
 1 Shout Out! [?]
For the cartoon voices, Soupy Sales sounds more like a real gorilla, but Richard Yearwood is so fun to listen to, especially when he sings.

Grant Kirkhope gets my vote overall though.
HienFan
said at 9:39 AM on Sat Feb 1 2014
I'm going with Richard

Although I prefer Charles Martinet the most
pete
said at 11:52 AM on Sun Apr 13 2014
@HienFan Did Charles even voce him, or are you thinking of Grant?
NCZ (Admin)
said at 12:41 PM on Sun Apr 13 2014
@pete Yes, if you look at DK's page on the site you can see that Charles Martinet voiced him in Mario Kart 64 and a few others.
FUNiman
said at 2:15 PM on Tue Jan 21 2014
Takashi Nagasako is the best, but out of this list I GUESS Sales is the best out of this not so good list.
Christopher10006
said at 6:43 PM on Sun Dec 1 2013
#1. Takashi Nagasako
#2. Kevin Bayliss
#3. Charles Martinet
#4. Dex Manley
#5. Soupy Sales
#6. Richard Yearwood

P.S.:Dex Manley voiced him in Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and Mario vs. Donkey Kong, 2: March of the Minis, Minis March Again!, Mini-Land Mayhem he was silent in Minis on the Move.
CatsTuxedo (Moderator)
said at 6:56 PM on Sun Dec 1 2013
@Christopher10006 I'm pretty sure DK's voice in those games was recycled from Donkey Kong 64, in which Grant Kirkhope voiced DK.
rosebr10
said at 8:11 PM on Sun Dec 1 2013
@Christopher10006
No. I'd say Dex Manley is most likely the announcer. Neil is too young for Manley so he must be done by Trevor Smith. Then there's Ella by Heidi Darschke (straightforward enough).

However, DK in all those games is Grant Kirkhope recycled from Donkey Kong 64 (as is Kevin Bayliss' Diddy Kong). Just because he isn't in those games' credits doesn't automatically mean he was replaced. Stuff like that was why Bardakoff, Spindler and Maruno's roles were attributed to Martinet and Ibe until these past couple years. You need to pay attention to where the sounds/voices were first heard/originally came from and keep tabs on which sounds are used in each game to be truly effective in determining who did what voice in which game.

For example, for the Toads in the Mario Strikers series, just because Sam Kelly (who now voices both Peach and Toads) is credited in Charged doesn't mean she started voicing both characters then. Peach: yes. Toad: no. The Toads reuse the clips from Strikers done by Kelsey Hutchinson. There is no need to credit Hutchinson again in Charged because nothing new was produced.

There's your crash-course in Nintendo's voice actor crediting history.
CuriousUserX90
said at 10:34 PM on Sat Oct 11 2014
@Christopher10006 The voice of Lubba, Lakitu, ROB 64, Falco and Peppy never voiced DK.
Ross123
said at 9:20 AM on Fri Oct 11 2013
Soupy has 2 be the best, 2 be honest his voice is not what I expected DK 2 sound like.

Richard wasn't great.
Galactic_Cyrus
said at 11:53 AM on Mon Oct 7 2013
Richard Yearwood is REALLY miscast, IMHO. Soupy Sales sounds more like an accurate fit for the character.
HyperVoiceActing
said at 8:15 PM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
Since I have a guilty pleasure attachment to the DKC show and I never saw the Supercade in my life, I'm going with Yearwood.

My suggestion for a new DK actor would be Frank Welker. Yes it's a typecast, but the man's so great at going roles like this it's hard to not pick him.
TrueMyriad
said at 7:00 AM on Fri Oct 4 2013
 1 Shout Out! [?]
I changed my mind, Travis Willingham would be perfect fit for Donkey Kong.
mdalsted
said at 9:43 PM on Thu Oct 3 2013
How about we put in the video game actors? I believe they are, as other commenters have pointed out:

Takashi Nagasako (Jungle Beat onward)
Grant Kirkhope (DK64)
Charles Martinet
Kevin Bayliss

(I have to ask, though, in what games did those last two play DK? o.o )
NCZ (Admin)
said at 9:49 AM on Fri Oct 4 2013
@mdalsted For the most part they don't talk, they just make gorilla noises.
CuriousUserX90
said at 7:45 AM on Fri Aug 15 2014
@mdalsted Bayliss wasn't DK, he was Diddy and King K. Rool.
mdalsted
said at 1:27 PM on Fri Aug 15 2014
@CuriousUserX90 Ah, right, sorry. >.< Yearwood played DK.
rosebr10
said at 3:48 PM on Fri Aug 15 2014
@mdalsted
No, no, no.

Bayliss was originally all the voices in DKC1. Gorillas, Kremlings, and everything in-between.

He was later joined by Eveline Fischer as Dixie Kong for the rest of the trilogy.

They carry on into DK64 as Diddy and K. Rool (as mentioned above) and Tiny, respectively.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 5:59 PM on Fri Aug 15 2014
@rosebr10 You know, I had always believed this was the case but I could never find a source for it... I would have added those by now if I could verify them 100%
TrueMyriad
said at 6:50 PM on Fri Jul 5 2013
Personally, Diedrich Bader(voice of Fiskerton Phantom)would be the best voice for Donkey Kong.
Toady_12
said at 12:10 PM on Sun Apr 21 2013
1. Takashi Nagasako
2. Grant Kirkhope
3. Charles Martinet
4. Kevin Bayliss
5. Soupy Sales
6. Richard Yearwood
Metabad
said at 2:34 AM on Tue Apr 17 2012
I like Richard Yearwood the most, his voice gives Donkey Kong more personality and I like his more laid back performance which fits him quite well.

Honestly, the only thing I found sort of off about his performance was his singing, not that he was a bad singer, oh no, quite the contrary I think his singing was too good to be coming out of DK, a giant monkey having such a great singing voice seemed really funny and rather unfitting to me. But the guy is a great singer and I hope he continues to sing and act.

As for Soupy Sales, he just portrays him as a dumb brute, to be fair it does fit DK in that cartoon and the original arcade game rather well, but otherwise its pretty generic and I couldn't see this voice fitting him now especially in his more heroic roles.

Richard might not be perfect, but I could see him fitting DK in the games moreso than Soupy.
TheBlackHawk
said at 6:16 PM on Tue Apr 3 2012
(Should have mentioned this in my first post)

Honestly, I can't pick between any of them; they're all so great, including his four video game voice actors: (in debut order)

--1994 Kevin Bayliss: DK Country series, DK: King of Swing
--1996 Isaac Marshall: Nintendo 64 Mario spin-offs, Game Boy Advance Mario spin-offs (2001-2003), Mario Party 1-7, Super Smash Bros. (64 & Melee), Mario vs. Donkey Kong (only the "burp" effect from Smash Bros.)
--1999 Grant Kirkhope: Donkey Kong 64, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario vs. Donkey Kong
--2004 Takashi Nagasako: Mario Power Tennis & Donkey Kong Jungle Beat onward

I think they're all great! They all really fit DK in the games they appear in!
TheBlackHawk
said at 3:59 PM on Sun Aug 12 2012
@TheBlackHawk [Correction], Isaac Marshall never voiced Donkey Kong; Charles Martinet voiced DK in such games as MK64, Mario Tennis, Mario Parties 1-7, etc.
SmartyBoyboy
said at 10:49 PM on Sun Feb 19 2012
 1 Shout Out! [?]
My votes are:
1. Takashi Nagasako
2. Grant Kirkhope
3. Kevin Bayliss
4. Soupy Sales
5. Richard Yearwood
pokemastanumba1
said at 7:39 PM on Fri Oct 7 2011
Takashi Nagasako FTW. Nobody else can do this.
TheBlackHawk
said at 2:16 PM on Thu May 26 2011
Tie for me. I can't pick between them; they're both hilarious!

Soupy Sales - DONKEEEEEEEY kong. XDD "Row row row the plane, *unintelligible noises*" XD
Richard Yearwood - "Got any banana cream pie?" XDDDDD
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 1:02 PM on Tue Nov 30 2010
Saturday Supercade is a cartoon from the early 80s that featured video game properties like Donkey Kong, Q-Bert and the earliest version of Mario.
dtemplar
said at 2:03 PM on Wed Nov 4 2009
R.I.P. Soupy
SCP21
said at 12:34 PM on Thu Aug 20 2009
 1 Shout Out! [?]
I loved the 3D show of this. Would love to find episodes somewheres.
Metabad
said at 12:03 AM on Tue Sep 11 2012
@SCP21 I know its been a few years since you've said this, but you can find some of the episodes on Youtube now, just search for the episode titles on Youtube and you're bound to come across them. I think there's even a channel for them called "DonkeyKongCentral" or something along those lines.
SCP21
said at 10:03 PM on Sun Sep 30 2012
@Metabad Oh awesome, thanks! Loved that show back in the day despite the camp.


A favorite Voice Compare
for 15 members.
Latest Reason:

"He is gaming's greatest Gorilla."

- Dan2funny89
BTVA POLL
Who do you think has been the best from these Donkey Kong voice actors?
Soupy Sales
Richard Yearwood
Grant Kirkhope
Sterling Jarvis