Yeardley Smith on being “recognized” as Lisa Simpson, and the inspiration for her hit podcast, ‘Small Town Dicks’

(NEW YORK) — Yeardley Smith has voiced Lisa Simpson since The Simpsons was just a series of very different-looking animated shorts that ran on The Tracey Ullman show in 1987.

While Smith’s natural voice isn’t exactly like that of her animated alter-ego’s, after 32 seasons of the show, which literally has generations of fans, it often gets her recognized in the “real world.”

“I laugh a lot like Lisa Simpson,” Smith says to ABC Audio, demonstrating that unmistakable cackle. “I mean…my laugh is a little bit deeper, but the cadence is the same. If they’re Simpsons fans, they know instantly.”

Though sometimes, they’re mistaken. “Actually I would say about 40% of the time people come up to me and go, ‘Oh, my God, you’re Bart Simpson, aren’t you?!'” says Smith.

Bart Simpson is also voiced by a woman, but it’s Nancy Cartwright.

Smith says, “I do think that Lisa Simpson is one of the best, funniest, most multi-faceted, interesting, deep characters in any medium, really, created for a female actor. It’s an incredible privilege to play her.”

In her spare time, Smith has also lent her voice to the successful true crime podcast Small Town Dicks.  Entering its sixth season, Smith is joined by identical-twin small-town detectives known only as Dan and Dave. The show has more than 13 million downloads and counting.

Smith says conversations between the brothers inspired the show.

“They would download their day or their week…and their Tuesday was so much more interesting and harrowing…than my *any* every day. Those kinds of stories are just ripe for podcasting…All of the stories are told by the detectives who investigated that case.”

New Small Town Dicks episodes are available every Friday.  The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

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