Utopia executive producer Jon Kroll first met Dan Piraro, creator of the subversive comic strip Bizarro, a few years ago at San Diego’s Comic-Con International. The two hit it off, and even developed a TV pilot together for the Travel Channel. That show never made it to air, and Piraro gave up on his TV dreams.

But when Kroll was casting a narrator for Utopia, Fox’s social experiment about strangers thrown together to create a new society, he remembered how much he liked Piraro’s voice. He asked the cartoonist to throw his hat in the ring, and Piraro eventually beat out hundreds of contenders for the job.

Kroll then put Piraro on camera — and Utopia creator John de Mol fell in love with him, as did Fox’s executive vice president of alternative series, Simon Andreae. “He’s Teddy Roosevelt meets Sigmund Freud in the 21st century,” says Andreae, referencing Piraro’s unique look: A handlebar moustache, vest and hat. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Kroll and Piraro to get the backstory on Piraro’s big break.

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