Last week, I auditioned for the 25th Annual Chicago’s Biggest Liar Contest. I didn’t make it (alas), but I still had a great time and everyone should go see the show on May 3.
But, since I didn’t make it, that frees me up to share my amazing lie, which involves local commercials, ferns, the phrase “super-glottal” and the village of Stickney, Ill.
As an absolute disclaimer: All of this is fake and not only have I never met the person in this story who I make seem like a bit of a jerk, he’s actually a really amazing person who was a volunteer cook for rescue workers at Ground Zero after 9/11. I don’t mean to tarnish his good name; I just wanted an excuse to do my impression of him at a liar’s show.
With that caveat in mind, I give you the biggest lie in Chicago!
You probably haven’t seen me, but you might have heard me. I’m a voice actor, or at least I’m trying to be. These are the men and women who do your video games, commercials, cartoons. And I’m trying to break into that world. I’ve just always loved it – the Maurice LaMarches, the Rob Paulsens, the Tara Strongs. Other kids wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to be Billy West. I wanted to be Stimpy.
So far, I’ve had a few local commercials. “Hey, Kids! Let’s go to Santa’s Village!” “But Doctor, I can’t afford Lasik.” “MoooooOOOOOooo and OIIIIINK!” that’s me. It’s not exactly Mark Hamill work, but I’m going places, you know?
About eight months ago, I get a call. Now I’m not supposed to talk about it, but it’s big. They need some new singers for, well, I won’t say the name but… 588-2300. So I end up in this waiting room in Stickney of all places. Little studio, practically someone’s house. Ferns everywhere. There are like four ferns, which considering the waiting room is like the size of a Winnebago, that’s a lot of ferns. I’m the first one there, but it’s an invitation-only call, so I’m thrilled, you know?
I’m doing my Titze exercises, which basically help me train my vocal folds to put more power from my glottis to my lips. I’m working on my semi-occluded phonation, which is where you work on balancing the air pressure between the sub-glottal and the super-glottal.
I’m humming the star spangled banner through a straw. I’m humming the star spangled banner through a straw in this awful waiting room full of ferns in Stickney and this really tall, skinny guy comes in. He’s about 60 and with this sort of wiry sandy colored hair and he’s got this old, mottled cowboy skin. And he just owns the place. He walks in and actually slaps one of the ferns just because he can and then he sees me.
He takes two steps over and says in this really raspy voice, “Go home, kid. I’ve got the job.”
“Go home, kid. I’ve got the job.”
Uh, I think the casting director might have something to say about that. And he just glares at me. He’s staring me down.
“Go home, kid,” he says. “I’ve got the job.”
OH yeah? OH YEAH? Who the hell do you think you are?
And he just smirks. He smirks and looks me in the eye and I realize where I’ve seen this guy before. It’s Kevin Conroy. The legend. BTAS. Arkham Asylum. Arkham City! I worshipped this man and I just asked him who the hell he thinks he is. He smirked.
“I am vengeance!” he answers. “I am the night! I AM BATMAN!”
I went home. He got the job.
Weird reference roundup:
- Titze exercises/humming “The Star-Spangled Banner” through a straw
- 588-2300 (but you really can’t be a Chicagoan if you don’t know this one)
- Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen, Tara Strong, Mark Hamill and Billy West
- MoooooOOOOOooo and OIIIIINK!