|“||A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.||”|
It's likely that he is, like the majority of Night Vale residents, human, describing himself as such in passing several times. He is also described by both himself and by Kevin as "a man" and has not, of yet, been mentioned as having anything other than the usual human features. He is also described from a photograph as being: "Not short or tall, fat or thin. With hair [resembling Kevin's], a nose [resembling Kevin's] and eyes [resembling Kevin's]". He also wears a tie, at least in the photograph of him. He lives in an apartment of currently unknown location in Night Vale and is also mentioned as owning a car.
Cecil appears in all episodes, and is the main narrator in every episode aside from The Sandstorm (Part B).
Cecil has somewhat of a dual personality - he can be by turns serious and cheerful, switching between extreme tones at the drop of a hat. He seems to be very fond and proud of the town of Night Vale, despite its many horrors (many of which he has experienced firsthand) and will often provide comfort for the residents of the town during times of uncertainty or danger. However, he is also quick to praise the City Council, the Sheriff's Secret Police, and their policies, no matter how draconian. His views on many social issues seem surprisingly liberal for a police state such as Night Vale, and he will even occasionally call out the town's crooked politicians on air, despite the . But, as fits his dual nature, he will also sometimes make strong conservative statements out of the blue too.
His broadcasts require a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance, as the information is often contradictory, contains impossible instructions, or is banned midway through and must be renounced. He occasionally gets in trouble with Station Management for describing things which are indescribable or discussing things that are not supposed to be discussed, and he openly worries that he might get in trouble with the police for his comments. Despite this, he remains enthusiastic about all upcoming events, even those involving death and destruction—so long as they are scheduled by the city's leaders, of course.
There are many times during his broadcasts when it becomes apparent how much Cecil is struggling with the cognitive dissonance required for even himself to believe what he saying. This is most pronounced during an episode following his teenaged self, where he continues to try and rationalize his family's strange, and seeming discompassionate attitudes towards him. This follows over into his adult broadcasts and the listener will often get a disconcerting sense that Cecil's personal thoughts differ from the words he's actually speaking, even if Cecil himself tries to repress it. It's often implied that he has gotten very good at ignoring the large discrepancies in his own memories, retaining his sanity by learning to not think too deeply on these things and actively destroying things that remind him of the fact.
Cecil is a very genial person and seems very well acquainted with the folks about town. At times, Cecil will report on events as they are occurring and it is mentioned he often receives faxes and phone calls from listeners on events, as well as updates from his surviving interns out in the field.
Cecil's sense of self preservation in the face of the many horrors of Night Vale is often as questionable as that of the town's other residents and he will sometimes casually put himself in situations that could well be dangerous. Notably, in episode Subway, where he leaves the studio to board the menacing Night Vale subway system, despite the fact that he hasn't seen anyone exiting it and his Intern never returned from riding it. However, Cecil is certainly not immune to Night Vale's horrors and is also shown to be rendered utterly helpless and genuinely terrified by other events that happen to him and those he cares about. Most notably when he is stuck in Kevin's hellish recording booth in Desert Bluffs, he becomes extremely distressed by the blood and viscera all over the room. He's also described cowering under his desk in fear while being hunted by his menacing boss(es), the Station Management, as well as cursing and crying over his helpless position at the radio station when Carlos' life is in danger at the Bowling Alley.
Cecil very likely was born and grew up in Night Vale. It's implied that he went to school there (he sings the high school fight song in the episode Cassette), he also has some acting experience from his school, where he played Pippin in their avante-garde production of the musical "South Pacific.", and he was a member of the Night Vale boyscouts, where he earned a Advanced Siege-Breaking Tactics badge at the age of 12, as well as earning a Subversive Radio Host badge at an unspecified age.
Cecil was interested in radio hosting from a young age, and, at 15, began recorded himself enthusiastically imitating previous NVCR host Leonard Burton on a cassette recorder. While making these tapes, he began to see a mysterious flickering being out of the corner of his eye and implied that the being was being made angry by his recordings. Eventually Cecil did land an internship at NVCR, and got to meet his idol, Leonard, however Cecil later had another encounter with the flickering being and it ended with Cecil screaming and strangled choking sounds heard as he was presumably attacked. What happened immediately after that is unclear as Cecil had very selective memories of these events, and none at all of others. Notably confused and slightly angered by the recordings of his younger self and the dissonance in his memories, Cecil destroyed the cassettes after listening to the attack.
He claims to have traveled to Europe during or after college and describes his travels in great detail, although it is unclear if those events actually took place given their bizarre nature and 'real-world' non-existent locations. Cecil specifically mentions the countries of Svitz, Franchia, Luftnarp and seems completely unaware that they don't actually exist anywhere in Europe.
Otherwise, he has never mentioned leaving Night Vale and seems unaware of conditions outside of it. He does not have much knowledge of astronomy, as he does not know what the moon is and doesn't believe in the existence of mountains. He often doubts his own existence and the existence of other people.
Recalling his perspective as a very young child, Cecil briefly talks about his mother, who is described as being as strange and disconnected as the other town residents. Cecil talks about her staring blankly into his eyes and saying, "Someday someone will kill you, and it will involve a mirror." He also notes that he misses her.
Later, from his perspective as a teen, he talks about his mother again. She apparently gifted him a cassette recorder for his 15th birthday, but other than that, is again described as being very disconnected and strange, something Cecil struggles to comprehend. When she hides from him for over 3 days (the longest she's ever been gone before), he is clearly confused by her absence, but tries to attribute this to her being proud of him and his recent internship at the station. Following from her eariler warning, Cecil's mother covers all the mirrors in their house before she disappears.
Also from his perspective as a teen, he mentions his brother, who he had a strained relationship with. It's not mentioned whether he is older or younger, but the way he is spoken of implies him to be older. His brother was apparently "disappointed" with him and told him he would never make it in radio because he didn't have the right voice for it. He's also described as glaring at Cecil from across the breakfast table with hollow eyes and howling. Adult Cecil claims not to remember him at all.
Cecil later says that his mother and brother are "gone now". He tries to shrug it off as being normal, but still sounds decidedly confused as to why or where they've gone, although he tries to hide it. Their fate remains unknown.
Cecil never mentions who his father is and it's unknown if he was ever part of Cecil's life. In the episode Cookies, it is shown that he is related to Steve Carlsburg, whom he has shown a great dislike for in the past. He is the step father to Cecil's niece, Janice, who is part of the girl scouts.The mother, Cecil's sister, appears to be out of town during this episode.
Carlos the Scientist: Carlos is Cecil's current boyfriend.
Cecil fell in love with handsome new scientist in town, Carlos, instantly in the first episode, and Cecil's open and complete adoration for him features prominently on the show, with Cecil frequently gushing in lyrical prose over his beautiful appearance and great intellect. It's made very clear that Cecil isn't simply admiring Carlos from afar and does in fact wish to date him, even giving Carlos his home phone number in the hopes he will call. Carlos, however, is initially either unaware of Cecil's affections, or willfully chooses to ignore them, only ever contacting Cecil on matters of business. It's only after a near death experience in episode 25 that Carlos finally calls Cecil for "personal reasons" and, after sharing a tender moment together in the Arby's parking lot, the two finally begin dating.
Scout Master Earl Harlan: Earl Harlan was Cecil's childhood best friend. They were in the Night Vale boyscouts together. It is implied in episode 23 (Eternal Scouts) that Cecil probably had been (or was about to be) in a relationship with him. Earl grabs Cecil's arm during an interview at the station and sadly tells him, "We could have had something, Cecil. Always remember that." Earl is later dragged away by strange mute children, but Cecil wistfully mentions later that he often thinks about Earl's last words to him.
The Beautiful Young Man From Luftnarp: Cecil talks about meeting with a "beautiful ashen faced young man" in a local alehouse in episode 21 (A Memory of Europe), with whom it's implied he was on the verge of being in a relationship with before they parted ways at the end of the episode. The man sees Cecil off as he boards the bus home and, as the man turns to leave, Cecil wistfully laments over, "this thing between [us], that seemed so possible now already and forever never was."
Intern Dana: Cecil seems to have a fond friendship with Intern Dana, the only intern he shows any prolonged concern for. They are Facebook friends and keep in contact via text and phone calls when Dana is trapped in The Dog Park and The House That Does Not Exist.
Old Woman Josie: It's mentioned that he used to go bowling with Old Woman Josie and the two used to play on a team together. They speak to each other like old friends, although it seems they haven't been keeping up with each other as much since the bowling alley was invaded by tiny people and Cecil and Carlos started dating.
Cecil harbors a deep disgust for the following: Desert Bluffs, presumably because of town rivalry; the Apache Tracker, for being a racist and culturally appropriative "asshole"; Steve Carlsberg, who has an annoying habit of pointing out what he considers the flaws in such noble municipal projects as government-approved clone sandstorms and the construction of a drawbridge in the desert, and recently revealed to apparently be Cecil's brother-in-law, and a deadbeat step-father to Cecil's niece, Janice (along with accusations of Steve being a gambling addict,a dn having horrible taste in shoes); and Telly the Barber, for cutting Carlos' beautiful hair short. He has also had a major distrust of new station owners StrexCorp, while never publically stating so on air (aside from a brief pirated message), he has tried to subtley show his displeasure with their rise to power. This has seemed to hit a new peak after their StrexPet severely injured Khoshekh, an event that clearly left Cecil highly disturbed, and implying a desire for revenge.
- He shares his first name with his voice actor, stage actor and director Cecil Baldwin (pictured right), who lives in New York. As of Cassette, we find out that he does not share the rest of his name with the real-life Cecil, which many fans had previously assumed was the case.
- Cecil Baldwin said in a Nov 15 2013 interview, that the character's surname of Palmer was chosen by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor as an homage to David Lynch's cult classic horror series, Twin Peaks. Presumably it is a reference to the character Laura Palmer, whose murder the series revolves around.
- He claimed to be fighting lyme disease during Station Management, though we haven't heard anything else about it since.
- He seems to enjoy alcohol, and is mentioned getting tipsy on cheap wine during his college days while in Europe and leisurely drinking brandy while on the phone to Carlos.
- He seems to be fond of westerns, he mentioned enjoying the 1965 western comedy movie Cat Ballou so much that he's unable to tear himself away and misses an important phone call, and Carlos suggested that they could rewatch The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
- He also mentions being glad that he got to see how popular TV series, Breaking Bad ended.
- He has admitted to owning a hamster with an unknown name, but the hamster died two weeks after being in Cecil's care.
- He claims to be a dog person and not fond of cats, but has grown very attached to Khoshekh, the floating cat in the men's bathroom at the station and he is also heard gushing over the cuteness of a cat video he saw on the Internet (presumably the YouTube famous 'Maru-chan').