Led by Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, “Tuca and Bertie” sports a truly interesting voice cast with some genuine surprises in the mix, including Oscar nominees, Emmy winners, and British TV favorites. The animated adventures of two best bird friends, created by Lisa Hanawalt, takes some sad and dark turns, but the actors prove more than capable of handling the challenges, bringing out the inherent humanity in their animal creations on screen.
The large ensemble plays such a wide range of characters that it’s difficult to identify every single character that every single actor plays (especially since a number of them double up on roles). Beyond the cast members specified below for individual roles, credited cast members include Emily Axford, Shamir Bailey, Kate Berlant, Cole Escola, Jermaine Fowler, Karen Graci, Georgia Hardstark, Karen Kilgariff, Betsy Sodaro, Sheila Vand, Baron Vaughn, and David Wain, with Hanawalt and executive producer Raphael Bob-Waksberg also contributing voices. All of them help create Hanawalt’s fascinating and fun look at what it’s like to be female in a flawed world, delivering plenty of laughs along the way.
[Editor’s note: The following contains mild spoilers for “Tuca and Bertie” Season 1.]
Tiffany Haddish – Tuca
What’s so impressive about Tiffany Haddish’s voice performance here is that her inherent high-octane energy doesn’t undercut Tuca’s sadder or quieter moments; it only ends up enhancing them, in fact.
Ali Wong – Bertie
The stand-up comedian, writer, and actor plays a character quite different from Wong’s bold stage persona, but she not only leans hard into Bertie’s sensitivity, but is able to showcase how Bertie sometimes just needs to explode.
Steven Yeun – Speckles
What better follow-up to a critically acclaimed turn in 2018’s “Burning” than playing an animated robin? Yeun in truth is an experienced voice actor, and brings a kind patience in embodying Bertie’s patient — to a point — live-in boyfriend.
Nicole Byer – Various
Nicole Byer is all over nearly every episode of “Tuca and Bertie” in supporting roles, to the point where it’s nearly impossible to document every single one of her roles. But she still delivers.
Laverne Cox – Judge Sparrow, Ebony Black
In addition to a quick appearance as Tuca’s favorite daytime TV judge, Cox plays the investigating raven who heads up a sex bug-based trial at the local supermarket.
Michelle Dockery and Greg Wise – “The Nests of Netherfield” stars
Greg Wise (a regular staple of British television who was recently seen in “The Crown” and “Strange Angel”) and Michelle Dockery (the one and only Lady Mary of “Downton Abbey”) are two of the actors who help to life Bertie’s beloved show “The Nests of Netherfield.”
John Early – Dirk
An actor whose Twitter handle happens to be “@bejohnce” might not be the obvious choice for the resident sexual harasser in Bertie’s workplace. But Early proves more than capable.
Richard E. Grant – Holland
That distinct blend of gravitas and whimsy that fuels Bertie’s boss Holland comes straight from the mouth of the recent Oscar nominee.
Jenifer Lewis – Aunt Tallulah
The legendary “Dreamgirl” and Broadway legend plays Tuca’s wealthy and often-intoxicated aunt, one whose sparring with Tuca leads to some emotionally fraught scenes.
Jane Lynch – Coach Meredith
Bertie’s former swimming coach roars into the show in Episode 9, and proves instrumental in helping Bertie reach a moment of emotional catharsis.
Tig Notaro – Yeast Week MC
The stand-up and “Star Trek: Discovery” star brings her very specific energy to more than one role in Episode 7, but she stands out particularly as the MC for the Yeast Week circus.
Isabella Rossellini – Meredith’s Wife
The magic “hooooo” from Coach Meredith’s wife comes courtesy of Rossellini, who dispatches egg-based wisdom here just one year after her fun role in “Incredibles 2.”
Tessa Thompson – Sophie
As the younger member in the two-raven investigation team, Thompson plays the angsty daughter who also gets caught up in the chaotic legal proceedings after the sex bugs’ arrival.
Reggie Watts – Pastry Pete
The renegade pastry chef who’s the source of Bertie’s many mixed emotions is voiced by the “Late Late Show” bandleader.
“Tuca and Bertie” is streaming now on Netflix.