Disney fans, gather around! Ever wondered why Pumbaa, our beloved warthog from “The Lion King”, has such a well-known penchant for flatulence? The inside scoop comes directly from the film’s original voice actors, Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, and it’s as humorous as you might expect!

Nathan Lane, who voiced Timon, and Ernie Sabella, the voice behind Pumbaa, shared with Entertainment Weekly the delightful origins of Pumbaa’s trademark flatulent noises. During their time recording lines for “The Lion King” in 1994, both actors were also performing in the Broadway revival of “Guys and Dolls.” Lane fondly recalls how Sabella would entertain him during early morning recording sessions by making fart noises, a little prank that eventually found its way into Pumbaa’s character. Sabella reminisces, “I just started making these sounds as he was reading his lines. He kept laughing, and I said, ‘I’ll stop’ — but I didn’t.” And hence, Disney’s first and only flatulent character was born!

Interestingly, these iconic sidekicks weren’t originally part of the plan. Lane and Sabella initially auditioned for the hyena roles but their hilarious improvisation and camaraderie led Disney to create Timon and Pumbaa specifically for them. Lane shared, “They said they were developing these new characters called Timon and Pumbaa for us, and that we would be the comic relief in this Shakespearean tale of lions.”

Despite being integral to Simba’s journey in the film, Sabella admitted that during their recordings, they had no idea what the overall storyline was. “We just knew that we were two funny guys and that warthogs and meerkats are small animals,” Sabella said. “I was doing a buddy movie,” imagining them as a comedic pair akin to Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

As “The Lion King” celebrates its 30th anniversary on June 15, now streaming on Disney+, it’s delightful to reflect on these behind-the-scenes moments that contributed to its magic. So next time you watch Pumbaa let one rip, you’ll know the genuine laughter and camaraderie behind those iconic scenes.

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