Jimmy Pesto stands with his hands on his hips next to a busboy in 'Bob's Burgers'.

Jimmy Pesto Is Returning to ‘Bob’s Burgers’, but Who Will Play Him?

After a two-season absence, Bob’s nemesis and faux Italian douchebag Jimmy Pesto is finally returning to Bob’s Burgers in a new episode available to stream on November 5. But with no word yet on who they’ve chosen to voice the iconic neighborhood nightmare going forward, fans are left with a lot of questions in the run-up to the big day. That was probably what they were going for because now we’re all talking about it online where the algorithm can hear us. Well played.

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The reason Jimmy Pesto hasn’t been seen for a while is that his previous voice actor, Jay Johnston, was fired from the show back in 2021 for participating in the January 6th insurrection (I’ll take “sentences I never imagined typing back in 2016” for 500, Alex). Cue the jokes about Johnston having been playing himself the whole time, etc. Ever since then, Pesto has disappeared from the series, with no in-world commentary or explanation offered by the show. Pesto has just been absent in a way that seems to have merited no notice from anyone around him. On the one hand, this is a great meta-commentary on the relevance of people like Johnston, but it also implies that Pesto and his restaurant aren’t actually gone from Seymour’s Bay. Pesto is still out there, annoying as ever, only his interactions with Bob and the rest of the cast are happening off-screen, between episodes. Practically speaking, it’s a good way to handle a character you’re not sure what to do with. This gives the showrunners and writers space to think about Pesto before making any final decisions.

Well, they’ve made their decision now, and it seems to be the one fans were hoping for, as Pesto really is coming back. He’ll be voiced by (presumably) a brand new voice actor, although until we get some sort of official statement, we can’t say for sure. It seems highly unlikely that they’ll bring Johnston back on board, as Bouchard and the team have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to fire or recast voice actors on ethical grounds.

In addition to canning Johnston for participating in far-right terrorism, they’ve also recast the actresses who voiced Marshmallow, and Molly from Central Park, in order to have them voiced by women who share the Black, and in Marshmallow’s case trans, identities of the characters on screen. It seems really unlikely that they’d be willing to break this streak for Johnston of all people, as doing so would thoroughly alienate a good chunk of their established audience. What they might do, instead of recasting him or bringing Johnston back—and I’m aware this is an out there theory but still, bear with me—is have no voice actor for Jimmy at all. It’s possible (theoretically) that the reason we’re seeing no voice actor announced for Jimmy is that there isn’t going to be one. Maybe the character has somehow lost his voice, permanently or otherwise, in the intervening seasons, which would explain the lack of barging in and yelling. It would be an interesting twist for the character, and it would definitely avoid complaints about him not sounding the same anymore.

Though in fairness, I do recognize this is unlikely and they’re probably just planning to surprise us. It seems more likely that Bob’s Burgers will take a page from Rick and Morty, which recast co-creator and voice actor Justin Roiland with two new actors. The new actors weren’t announced until the premiere of the season 7.

Either way, it looks like we’re not going to get to find out for a while. Curse you, Jimmy Pesto!

(featured image: Fox)

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Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.