LOS ANGELES - In the unlikely event Seth MacFarlane comes looking to you for a job, it might be simpler to sort through his qualifications by asking what he can't do, rather than what he can.
TV's animation king with "Family Guy," "American Dad!" and "The Cleveland Show," MacFarlane adds to his renaissance man resume as writer, director, producer and voice star of "Ted," a raunchy but warmhearted tale of a grown man (Mark Wahlberg) and his best buddy, a talking teddy bear.
Leading up to his big-screen debut, MacFarlane has been a TV hit-maker and animation voice star since his mid-20s, a career whose roots go back to when he started drawing at age 2. He's done sold-out live musical comedy shows, which led to last year's Grammy-nominated album "Music Is Better Than Words," with MacFarlane crooning Sinatra-style orchestra standards.
He's even a bit of a science nerd, growing up on Carl Sagan's books and now overseeing "Cosmos: A Time-Space Odyssey," a follow-up to the late astronomer's documentary series about the nature of the universe.
So what can't MacFarlane do?
"I'm a terrible tennis player. Terrible, horrific," said MacFarlane, 38.
"I tend to like to try things that I haven't done before, for better or worse. I go into new things not afraid to fail. I went into this project ("Ted") with that in mind, I went into the album project with that attitude. I like things that scare me a little bit."
Loaded with MacFarlane's weird, irreverent humor, the potty-mouthed "Ted" has the ingredients of a sleeper hit amid the summer's superhero flicks, action tales and animated family franchises.
Rated R for its language, "Ted" allows MacFarlane to push beyond the limits of what he can do on network television while maintaining a twisted sweetness to the story. He likes to think of it as a family comedy for families whose parents don't mind swearing around their kids.
MacFarlane studied animation at the Rhode Island School of Design before creating the "Family Guy" pilot for Fox in the late 1990s.
To pump up his performances for musical numbers on "Family Guy," MacFarlane later trained with professional voice coaches.
A fan of "talking creatures that have no business talking," such as the cows in Gary Larson's "Far Side" comics, MacFarlane originally conceived of "Ted" as an animated TV series.
As digital cameras and animation expanded the possibilities for film, MacFarlane decided to try it on the big-screen in a live-action movie, instead.
"I had seen a lot of use of that technology in action movies and adventure movies but never in a comedy," MacFarlane said, "and I wanted hopefully to break some new ground."
And add a few more things to the list of things he knows how to do.