Whoopie Cushions are funny. One quick gag of inspired placement beneath somebody and you've got a good two minutes of Bart Simpson belly laughs to roll around in. But 20 years?
Perhaps this is why Michael Winslow isn't really funny. The self-proclaimed "Man of 10,000 voices," who was sandwiched for years somewhere in between Bob Goldthwait's Tourette's Syndrome and Steve Guttenberg's mullet in the never-ending "Police Academy" series, just so happens to reside in our region these days ("let's just say I live in Central Florida" he unnecessarily cautions) and is on the phone with me, presumably to promote something.
"I've been pretty busy," he vagues. "We've got a whole bunch of new stuff on the burner, so I've just been trying to get myself organized."
Oh, I know. Making a career out of mouthing fart noises and car crashes has got to be a tough racket. I, after all, have done pretty much the same. But what made you, Mr. Winslow, grow into such a megastar of lewd ventriloquism?
"I didn't want to be like everybody else, because then I thought, at that point, I could kind of just sit behind a desk and work at IBM," he thinks too much. "I thought I wanted to be different, to have some kind of effect. Since I made all of these crazy sounds anyway ... "
"It's like my imaginary friends, y'know?" he imagines. "You know how your imaginary friend gets you in a lot of trouble? Same difference."
Beyond the standard recommendations for psychoanalysis inherent with such applied schizophrenia, have you ever sought medical advice on whatever it is that makes you such a freak of nature?
"I did have a voice doctor take a look at my throat one time and he said I'm in pretty good shape," he starts to bore me. Fart. "I am a friend of the check-up. I was in DC and I actually got Robert Plant's voice doctor. I don't remember his name, but he actually put a camera down there. He said I'm in pretty good shape. No lymph nodes to be afraid of."
No lymph nodes and no personality? Please tell me you hear voices in your head beyond this flat one of self-important reason.
"Lucky for me, those voices in my head have a very morbid sense of humor," he yucks. "I can at least get some comedy out of them."
Lucky for all of us, then. So do you think you'll ever outlive the expectations prompted by you mid-'80s "Police Academy" foolishness? Like, maybe you'll find a new gag?
"I was glad to be a part of it," he reminisces. "At least I didn't have "Miami Vice" hair. And, of course, we wore socks."
You had Philip Michael Thomas hair.
"And it's still not over yet," he warns. "I've been talking to the cast members and they're thinking about maybe doing some more stuff."
And that would make it No. 6 or No. 7?
"That would be 8."
You lost me at 3. Would that make it the longest-running loss of new ideas in Hollywood?
"We still got "Jason X" ...," he corrects. "And now you have "XXX". I don't know what all this X business is about."
Oh, shut up.
"It definitely had its effect," he measures. "Even when you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, they'll ask you to make a noise. So I ask them, 'How about the sound of a slower speed?'"
Please, make a funny noise and disappear. But not Winslow. He's riding the Carrot Top trail with a pay-per-view "Comedy Sound Slapdown!" coming next month and an appearance at the (yawn) Orlando Miracle half-time extravaganza. What, I beg you, does it all mean?
"Well it means that we're gonna help y'all forget about the rent! That's what it means: We're gonna load it up with enough stuff there that, after a while, you can get a release," he farts. "There's a lot of fantasy, a lot of one-man Broadway stuff and a lot of noises."
"Sometimes the audience gets lucky and Jimi comes back to earth for one night," he Purple Hazes.
Jimi and Tina Turner, I come to find out. Throw me some Tina, Michael.
"Well, 'Haaalllo SolDJAH! Heeee's not a MAN!" or something vaguely resembling big-haired Mad Max nose-curling purrs forth.
"Only problem I'm having is getting the right fabric for the Velcro dress.
"I'm gonna have to have a specialist come in," he slowly goes insane. "I got a new dress, but I'm having trouble matching materials. You know how it is. Costume changes are a pain in the butt.
"And I never thought that I'd find any panty hose that would fit me!"
Also known to sport women's clothing in desperate attempts at notice, Carrot Top is indeed a professional peer of Winslow's. Somebody pass the bomb.
"Oh yeah, I know Scottie," he ill-advisedly admits. "I just saw him a week ago. He was at the Home Depot preparing to build something weird. His hair looked so wonderful! He had it up in a bun, but I could tell he had done some work on it."
They're so dating.
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