'Family Guy' Youtuber Arif Zahir the New Cleveland ... Spot-On Impressions

"Family Guy" showrunners have found their new Cleveland Brown voice -- it's a Black YouTuber who can handle the role with ease, and probably a few others on the show too.

Arif Zahir has been cast to voice Cleveland for the 19th season come 2021-2022. The former longtime white voice actor for Cleveland, Mike Henry, will have his last go-round for the 18th season, which premieres Sunday. He announced in June he was dropping the role.

Zahir is a great pick ... for one, he's African-American, something 'FG' producers and Henry himself wanted in the new actor to take up the mantle. More importantly, the guy's spot-on with his impression ... something he's showcased on his channel for a while now.

He's famous for his impersonations, which include Cleveland, Obama, Trump, Ted, Stewie Griffin, 21 Savage ... and others. In case you didn't catch it -- that's THREE characters in the MacFarland-verse that Zahir can pull off no problem -- and he could probably do Peter just as easily. So, if Seth was ever sick during a recording day, Arif could potentially fill in.

The point is ... the dude's a catch-all talent, and Henry himself acknowledged as much. He says of the casting, "I welcome Arif to the Family Guy team. Arif’s vocal talent is obvious, but his understanding of Cleveland and his respect for the character give me confidence that he is in the right hands." He adds, "I look forward to getting to know Arif and working with him to make sure Cleveland stays every bit as awesome as he has always been."

Arif himself said he was eternally grateful for the opportunity, and promised fans not to let them down. The change comes on the heels of several animated shows -- including "The Simpsons" -- committing to casting actors of color for roles that coincide with their race.

Seth MacFarlane Classiest Political Xmas Party Ever ... NICE Detention, Orchestra

Move over, Jay Gatsby ... Seth MacFarlane's here to take the reins this holiday season as the most extra host in party-throwing, with a splash of hot button issues to boot.

The "Family Guy" creator threw an epic Christmas Party Saturday night at his Beverly Hills home, and it was decked out to the max with what appears to be a mishmash of themes -- including time travel, the 1950s, environmentalism and politics. Good mix, right?

Click through the gallery, and you'll see what we're talking about. Seth had elaborate set pieces staged all throughout his pad -- a N.I.C.E. Detention Center, Santa's Space-Time Super Sleigh, a single block of a North Pole glacier from the year 2091, and a lot more.

Christmas Party Guy
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Like we said, F. Scott Fitzgerald might've blushed at something like this. Speaking of Gats, we're told Leo was at Seth's party. He's big on climate change, so this is right up his alley.

As if all that wasn't class enough, Seth also had a full orchestra performing live throughout the night -- and, of course, the guy got up there himself and crooned a handful of songs. More like 10 or so, actually. Seth's a great singer, and we're told he put his talent to good use. The performance quickly became a family affair too -- his sis, Rachael, sang as well.

Eyewitnesses tell us one other big highlight of the night came when Seth honored a 100-year-old WWII veteran named Sidney Walton, who got a big round of applause.

Looks like a good time was had by all. Now ... take it away, Brian/Stewie/Peter/Quagmire -- er, we mean Seth.

Marlon Wayans Reopening the Cleveland Case is BS ... I Roast for a Living!!!

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GOTTA HAVE THICK SKIN
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Marlon Wayans is going back under a legal microscope for comparing a man to the "Family Guy" character Cleveland Brown a few years back ... and he ain't happy about it.

We ran into the comedian and actor Monday at LAX, where we got his thoughts on a potentially momentous decision by the CA Supreme Court to reexamine a lower court's 2015 ruling that he did NOT do anything wrong with the viral burn.

You'll recall ... while filming for the movie, "A Haunted House 2," Marlon tweeted that Pierre Daniel -- an extra in the flick -- looked like a dead ringer for Cleveland.

Pierre sued Marlon and the production company for the move shortly thereafter, claiming that not only had Marlon racially harassed him with the tweet ... but he also allegedly made a habit of roasting him on the set, which he says caused him great harm.

At the time, a judge said that Pierre did, in fact, look like Cleveland ... and, more importantly, that Marlon's antics were protected free speech. An appellate court upheld that ruling in 2017, saying Marlon's tweet was kosher if that was his creative process as a comic.

Family Guy Brian Griffin Returns From the Dead

Jesus Christ ain't got nothing on Brian the dog ... as "Family Guy" brought him back from the dead on last night's episode -- 3 weeks after he was left for roadkill.

Here's how Brian Griffin was resurrected -- Stewie cries to a mall Santa that he wants his best friend back -- and then through a wrinkle in the time-space continuum ... steals his broken time machine from another version of himself ... but before it was broken.

Yeah ... time travel is confusing.

Blah, blah, blah ... Stewie goes back in time, and pushes Brian out of the way of the car that ran him over.

After the episode ... Seth MacFarlane tweeted: "And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash."

Whatever. All we know is Brian's back ... all is right again.

Kelsey Grammer Brian Griffin's Gone But ... Sideshow Bob WILL Be Back

EXCLUSIVE

It's always darkest before the dawn -- "Family Guy" might have taken away our beloved Brian Griffin ... but Kelsey Grammer tells TMZ, Sideshow Bob WILL be making a triumphant return to "The Simpsons."

KG was out in L.A. this week when we got to chatting about Brian's death ... and conspiracy theories about the dog's return ... and Kelsey says Sideshow Bob ALWAYS comes back. "They've already killed him 20 times. He comes back a lot."

So will he be coming back for sure ... Kelsey says yes ... BUT WHEN??? Watch the clip.

'Family Guy' Death Strong Evidence ... Brian's DEAD FOR GOOD

EXCLUSIVE

Brian Griffin is dead and he's not coming back ... at least that's the way it appears ... because TMZ has learned, the dog that's replacing him on "Family Guy" has already been booked for several upcoming episodes.

As we reported, former "Sopranos" star Tony Sirico will be voicing Vinnie -- pictured above -- after Brian was killed off in Sunday night's episode.

There's been a lot of hopeful speculation that Brian's death was a one-episode gimmick -- and that the dog will inevitably come back -- but that doesn't seem likely. A rep for Sirico tells us, Vinnie the Dog has already been voiced for another 6 or so episodes.

We're told there's probably even more to come after that, too. Translation: Brian's not coming back ... at least for a very long time ... and probably never.

Sirico doesn't exactly have a clear conscience about all of it though -- his rep says the actor feels horrible that Brian was killed off because the death of any character is sad ... especially a fan favorite ... but c'est la vie.

As for why Brian got the chop, a producer for the show said they just wanted to shake things up.

'Family Guy' BRIAN GRIFFIN DIES

R.I.P.

Seems Brian Griffin won't get a shot at a 3rd novel ... 'cause the martini-swigging, chick-bangin' family dog DIED on "Family Guy" last night.

Brian -- who's been on the show for all 11 seasons -- was hit by a car in last night's episode ... and died from his injuries.

Stewie tried to save his pal by going back in time and preventing the accident -- but he had JUUUST taken apart his time machine, and was unable to rebuild it before Brian croaked.

Brian was replaced by a new dog, Vinnie -- voiced by "Sopranos" star Tony Sirico.

Unclear if Brian will somehow come back to life in future episodes -- but we wouldn't be surprised if he did.

Brian was a good dog. He was an Iraq war veteran. a porn director, coke addict, police dog and (of course) a passionate writer.

Brian was 7ish ... or 49ish in dog years.

Levi Johnston I Want 50/50 Custody Of Tripp Palin

Breaking News

Bristol Palin's baby daddy Levi Johnston is tired of getting squeezed out of their son's life -- TMZ has learned, he just filed court docs to obtain 50/50 custody of 4-year-old Tripp Palin.

In the docs, Levi says he wants Tripp to be in his life as much as Bristol's because it's in their son's best interest. Bristol currently has full custody of the child, but now Levi wants Tripp on alternating weeks. (They both live in Alaska.)

Meanwhile, Bristol's attorney is insinuating it's simply a move to reduce Levi's child support payments, saying Levi owed roughly $66,000 in back child support as of October -- and now he wants to pay less.

In the docs, Levi says he's willing to pay whatever child support amount he's ordered to, but urges the court to be fair "as I have a wife and daughter to support." It's unclear what Levi is currently required to pay Bristol.

James Woods 'Family Guy' Candy Joke Made NO SENSE to Me

EXCLUSIVE

It's almost incomprehensible ... James Woods' infamous "OOH A PIECE OF CANDY" joke on "Family Guy" was nearly a bust ... because he tells TMZ, he didn't think it was all that funny when he did it ... at first.

Woods -- who said he loved playing himself on FG "more than anything you can imagine" -- tells us, the joke just didn't make any sense ... and then it occurred to him ... that was kinda the point.

And the candy joke is just the tip of the iceberg ... Woods says some of the stuff that went on backstage with Seth MacFarlane should've landed him in jail.

Check out the -- OOH A PIECE OF CANDY!

Robert Loggia Loves the "Family Guy" Joke

Legendary actor Robert Loggia doesn't just have a good sense of humor about the classic "Family Guy" joke about him -- last night outside of Toscana in Brentwood ... he recited part of it himself!

Everybody loves Robert Loggia!

Bieber's 'Family Guy' Necklace Worth $25,000!

Justin Bieber dropped $25,000 on his new Family Guy-inspired necklace -- which contains over 12 CARATS of rubies and diamonds-- and TMZ has learned, the singer helped design the whole thing.

Famous Beverly Hills jeweler Jason Arasheben tells TMZ, he and Bieber designed the Stewie pendant together -- adding, Justin "had a specific vision for how he wanted it to look."

Jason tells us, the necklace contains 12 carats of precious stones -- including multi-colored rubies and white diamonds -- and they're all set on 14-carat gold.

Victory shall be Bieber's!

'Jerry Maguire' Kid -- 'Family Guy' Diss Was an Honor

Jonathan Lipnicki -- who played the cute kid in "Jerry Maguire" -- has no hard feelings after getting his ass shredded on "Family Guy" Sunday night ... telling us, "I'm honored to be made fun of on that show."

Lipnicki, 19, and his hot date -- Mama Lipnicki -- hit up Mastro's Steakhouse in L.A. last night, where the former child star also performed a dead-on impression of The Situation from "Jersey Shore."

Dude has a lot of experience getting ripped.

Seth MacFarlane Rollin' Like Marty McFly

Seth MacFarlane is one Flux Capacitor away from being able to travel back in time -- because TMZ has learned he's the proud new owner of an exact replica of the DeLorean from "Back to the Future."

Seth's people confirm the "Family Guy" mastermind purchased the DeLorean earlier this month. A source tells us Seth is having about $20,000 worth of customized equipment installed ... making it the coolest thing on wheels since the motorized bar stool.

One source -- who was lucky enough to sneak a peak at MacFarlane's unfinished DeLorean -- said the car already looks "insane."

Note to self: Don't bet against MacFarlane on any sporting events from now on.

'Family Guy' Star Party Over Here!

Because it's always awesome to hear an actor go from their regular voice to that of their famous cartoon counterpart, here's Mike Henry -- doin' the Cleveland Brown.

After leaving a "Family Guy" party at Avalon nightclub this weekend, Mike confirmed the obvious: It's "not bad" to roll in Seth MacFarlane's crew.

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