Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Is That What I Sound Like?

I have four podcast shows whacked up and ready to go and a bunch more waiting. It feels good; but that didn’t stop me from the opportunity to self-criticize. Yay, brain!

I’ve been hearing my voice through my headphones during editing and mixing of these podcasts, and it is a unique experience. I always used to tell people to consider writing in a journal because you may have a great memory for events that happened in your life, but that kind of private reflection (keep it OFF the internet, please!) written down helps you remember how you used to think. Although the podcast is purely for fun and entertainment, I get a sense of how I sound to the rest of the world. Since it’s not an act but a conversation, you would be surprised how you speak and even more surprisingly, who you sound like.

First, I thought I was over the word “like”. It was thrown around every third word when I was a kid and it is littered in American speech. But somewhere in my mid-20’s I heard myself say it three times in a sentence. I immediately sent my brain into exterminator mode and it had orders to search and destroy the word like from my vocabulary as often as possible. Well, it’s still around. It flops out when your eyes roll up and you are searching for the perfect word to say or you are accessing the ol’ memory banks. Its filler and I can’t believe I still say it so much.

The other word is way. I think its in there because when you are trying to be funny it is a game of extremes, and that word is such a basic element of superlatives. Way cool, way funny, way stupid. Yeah, it is way stupid. Gotta work on that.

The strangest thing to hear is my approach to humor. I’ve followed comedians for so long I can tell often where the inflections come from during certain stories and jokes. Inflections to humor are like guitar styles to rock bands. There are hundreds of ways to get there, but everyone can recognize who paved the roads. I can tell if someone listened to Dennis Miller in the eighties, or Bill Hicks or Chris Rock or David Cross or even Larry the Cable Guy. So my brain is a mush of 100 comedians and I never know who will creep to the surface. Even when it’s my dad.

It is difficult to deny that at least 30% of my funny comes from my dad and his brash, brazen approach to being funny. Bitter pill to swallow, but there you go.

One more little observance. This feels good. To speak into a mike means you are sure of what you are doing and saying. You must have a modest amount of confidence. You can write without confidence and fool people. I’ve done it many times. But this is nothing like writing. It feels more like doing.


  1. Good stuff so far. Can't wait to hear the others. By the way, for what it's worth, your dad was hilarious to those of us who didn't live with him 24x7.