Saturday, July 4, 2009

DIY Jonathan Schwartz

My handy tips on how you, too, can sound just like the anti-avuncular host of the Saturday Show & Sunday Show, as heard on WNYC:

Tips for the DIY Jonathan Schwartz impression:

1) As much lip smacking as possible, as if you were broadcasting from the depths of the Gobi.

1a) And keep it low and husky.

2) Remember: your opinion is FACT.

3) Speak slowly, and reiterate endlessly. ("This great work... this masterpiece... if you will...")

4) Don't hold that emphasis in reserve. You've got eight hours of airtime to fill every weekend, so liven it up with pause and inflection for effect ("This great WORK... this MASTERpiece... if you WILL...")

5) No anecdote should have an end or a point.

6) As George Carlin notes about his Ed Sullivan impression: it's not so much how accurate your vocal stylings are - it's all in the bizarreness of the act. Your typical Schwartz anecdote begins with a rambling quasi-history of the song/artist, which then morphs into a defensive insistence that you know how to use email - or something like that.

Putting it all together:

"Frank SINatra... ladies and gentlemen... does it GET any BETTER?... (slurp) ...a recording... not heard for... oh... 1972... forty YEARS... with a superb Nelson Riddle arrangement... Octopus's GARDEN. Locked away... unseen by human EARS in ... TWO generations... A song my FATHER called, ... he considered it 'pure melodic diamond SOUP.'... (slurp) Now... here's something WONDERful... Maude Maggart with... a beautiful... REVELATORY... version of 'Brand New KEY'... (slurp)"



Karl said...

Your points 1 and 1a are good, but don't get to the technical aspects of how he accomplishes his offensive mouth noises. The trick is to speak softly, as if you were a little kid who should be sleeping but is instead talking to his sibling in the next bed over. Then, since you are almost inaudible crank up the gain on your microphone and lean in close. That way you are sure to capture every little dry lip, tongue sticking to the roof of the mouth, air bubble between the lip and gum sound you make.

Dave Kopperman said...

Yeah, true. "Low and husky" doesn't quite convey the effect on my part.


shaunian said...

I have no doubt that this would be hilarious if I knew who you were talking about.

Dave Kopperman said...

You're giving me far too much credit.