Farmer's first job, at the age of 15, involved doing voices, especially those of Western stars like John Wayne or Walter Brennan. He and his friends would sometimes go through fast food drive-thrus and order foods in his character voices. Bill attended the University of Kansas, and is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In college, he found work in radio and TV and then moved on to stand-up comedy as an impressionist until he moved out to Hollywood, where he began voicing Goofy in January 1987. In 1982, while he was still doing stand-up comedy, Farmer worked at a comedy club called the Comedy Corner in Dallas, Texas. He continued to work there until his move to Hollywood in 1986.