Robert Downey Jr. has a lot going on, from playing Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to winning over Twitter with his charming, witty and hashtag-filled tweets. Still, the actor isn’t looking to lessen his workload anytime soon — or give up the opportunity for a pristine dad joke — and informed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that he would love to be the voice of Zuckerberg’s new AI bot, Jarvis.
“I'll do in a heartbeat if [Paul] Bettany gets paid and donates it to a cause of [Benedict] Cumberbatch's choosing,” Downey Jr. wrote. “That's the right kind of STRANGE!”
There’s a lot to deconstruct, but it would be a mistake on our part not to acknowledge the fantastic, A+ level dad joke Downey, Jr. threw in at the very end. His reference to actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s Marvel character, Doctor Strange, and his pun on the last name is nearly perfect on its own, but its the capitalization of Strange that drives the joke home. If we’re being honest, we’ve all used the same technique to make our own lame pun jokes seem funnier than they are, and like Downey Jr.’s, it sometimes works.
But one of the best things about his offer to voice Jarvis is just how quickly he ropes in other Marvel colleagues. He’s not just offering to do it because he wants to be the voice of the AI helper, which Zuckerberg announced he wanted to build earlier this year. Downey, Jr. wants his Avengers: Age of Ultron co-star Paul Bettany (Vision) to get paid for the work that the Iron Man star does, but wants the newest MCU member (Cumberbatch) to pick a charity to donate said money to. It’s an odd joke that no one quite understands, but we’ll let that slide.
There are two things that should be noted here. The first is that the actors within the MCU have a long history of challenging or picking arguments with each other in the name of charity; just look at Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy’s Starlord) and Chris Evans’ (Captain America) Superbowl bet from 2015. The second is that nowhere in Zuckerberg’s post did the Facebook founder say he was going to pay someone to use their voice, but it’s that type of confidence and unwillingness to back down until his co-workers get paid that make Downey Jr. the man he is.
Zuckerberg has not responded to Downey Jr.’s offer to voice the bot that’s largely inspired by the films the actor has starred in, but based on a few of the 42,000 replies Zuckerberg has received, it seems like it would be a bad decision not to give the actor what he wants.
Both Bettany and Downey Jr. can be seen together on screen in Avengers: Infinity War, due out May 4, 2018. Cumberbatch will make his debut in just under a month, when Doctor Strange hits theaters on Nov. 4.