Thursday, January 6, 2011

Okay, Mmm, Hold On, Back This Circus Train Up Just a Minute...

The 'Homeless Guy with a Golden Voice' video that has been tearing up the webwaves this week features a homeless guy who doesn't sing?

Turns out everybody's favorite hero, Ted Williams (no relation to the now less-famous asshole baseball player), was not just some tragic homeless guy who found his resolve in teaching himself to sing the paint off a barn, but rather a homeless former radio announcer who had fallen on hard times due to drug and alcohol abuse, arrogance, the changing face of media, etc. Huh. No way around that being a disappointment when I hear the phrase "golden voice."

She hates when people use teleprompters
(exceptions include John McCain, Sarah Palin, and herself)

If there is one successful type of person in this world who deserves to be homeless, it is "actors who read anything you tell them to say on camera and tell you they are journalists."

If there are two, I would add "radio and television announcers/hosts" to the list. How many of the oft-ridiculed "Pig & Mike in the Morning!" ass-hats--and the vain, less-talented hacks who were paid to "announce them"--were out there in this country before the radio bubble burst and 90% of radio talent got the axe? [This is a wild, unsubstantiated estimate. -Ed]

If you ask me, there were a lot. New York. Chicago. Cleveland. Milwaukee. Detroit. Cincinnati. Memphis. Miami. Boise. Reno. There are a whole lotta cities in this country, there were a whole lotta radio stations, and there always seemed to be a few rivalries going on in each city for "Kings of the Airwaves."

"Bill & Monkeybutt are grossER in the morning!"

Let's just estimate and say the hills and dales of our fair land were once roamed with impunity by an awesome, vigorous herd of Penn & Teller-ish wannabes at least an unfathomable thousand-strong.

And I must stress that this near-utopian reality existed as recently as within my lifetime (the past 0-2 million years). [Sorry, but that is as specific as we can get here, folks (for various reasons), but do not let that vast range comfort you--your people have no conception of what time really is and you're actually much, much older than you previously thought. But push on, folks. Work harder, die younger -Ed] So where have they all gone? Well, many of them are now homeless. Or working at your local Champps sports bar as they slowly drink themselves to death.

How catastrophic their demise must have been, within certain circles--strip parlors of all shapes and size going out of business all over the region, hot-tub-limousine services going belly-up, bookies starving to death in the streets, the local prostitute encampment packing their teepees and heading for greener pastures.
"Should I finally try New York?"
"I've been thinking about moving to LA anyway..."
"Cindy, Tracy, and I are moving to Silverlake and starting an upscale cupcake parlor."
-Actual quotes from actual prostitutes I made up just now
And let us now dive further into the madness, if you dare, to consider the gainfully-employed, velvet-voiced fellas who worked in the same dirty little studios as that thousand-strong herd of blabbermouth lazy '80s stoner shockjock divas who loved to be offensive "cuz it always gets a laugh."

These gentlemen were not paid anywhere near as much as the more free-form, content-providing shockjocks because they were being paid to use the only talent they've ever had in their entire lives--the quality of their voice when reading aloud. They didn't need to be able to do anything remotely creative or useful.

They didn't even need to be attractive, for cry-eye, which is the only reason they could not become a newsreader. All they had to do was read people's names, the names of upcoming shows, some advertising copy. It was really easy stuff. They could roll out of bed drunk and do just fine. They could never remove their pajamas and nobody would care. All they had to do was read the lines with that voice of theirs and everything would be fine.

If one of them could substantiate a legitimate 'ad-lib' claim to a celebrated local catchphrase, that man could parlay that one brief moment of creativity into a harvest of coveted industry awards, the hearts of lonely women across the city, and millions of dollars in salary for his continuing work as one of America's leading "on-air personalities," with special distinction for his ability to "deliver the full package--writing, acting, directing, producing," coincidentally also the title of the most popular installment of his locally-available How-To... series on VHS tapes. [DVD availability currently unknown - Ed.]

A successful radio announcer, circa 1992

But very few announcers ever achieved success of this or any other kind beyond cashing their generous paychecks on the way home from work each Friday--even before they hit the drive-through liquor store--in case their bosses would come to their senses over the weekend and stop payment.

You see, they always knew the bosses of the various radio stations were never far away from realizing they could cut announcer salaries to janitor-level with no discernible dip in talent quality and have more than enough money in their budgets to tear out a few walls and put a Jacuzzi in each of their offices at no additional expense to their companies by end of fiscal year.

Before the bosses came to that conclusion, however, their corporate overlords (read: media conglomerate executives, hedge funds, etc) realized they could reduce everybody's wages to janitor level and nobody would care; and so they did and so many people who used to have ridiculously easy jobs hit the streets with a thud, with no useful talent to market.

Photo courtesy Goodtime Charlie Archives

The one announcer in three who finished a bottle of vodka in the bathroom one morning and "risked an ad-lib, damnit" inevitably got fired for objectionable material of some kind (dirty, racist, political, unfunny), like a common newscaster who veers off script and manages to offend both the entire, sizable Hispanic population and all mothers everywhere within a mere five-second moment of honesty.

[Unfortunately, these newscasters are never honest again, even about superfluous details, and they either wind up Tom Cruise or some droll rummy shouting on a street corner about how he was screwed over in life by somebody else and trying to get you to care. -Ed.]

But the announcers are often a tad more clever and can usually parlay their gaffe into a niche market. Did I offend blacks? I'll hit up some conservative powerhouse in Jackson or maybe Atlanta. Did I offend women or humanitarians? I'll see if I can talk Rush Limbaugh into having a sidekick with a golden voice.

Or maybe they just parlay it into a modest 'homeless beggar' career because they weren't all that clever in the first place.

The famous Ted Williams

Which brings me back to where all this started:

Within the last few days, a video of a homeless man pretending to be a radio announcer in exchange for a $1 payment went viral, he became instantly famous, and he landed a well-paying job that came with a free haircut and hose-down--all because his voice sounds pleasant when he speaks.

Homeless Ted Williams didn't even have to sing! He didn't even have to dance or play an instrument or paint like VanGogh or write a hit play! There has got to be WAY more talented homeless people out there and this dude strikes gold? I'm gonna piss all over this otherwise heartwarming news, thank you very much.

- Disgruntled Consumer


1 comment:

pierre said...

Absolutely there are plenty of homeless and jobless radio announcers with far more abilities than this clown, and without the felonies, the mother's boy syndrome, and without playing the race card or victim. I'm one of them and I know of plenty more, some of whom I've worked for and some of whom have worked for me. There are others with whom I've worked are unemployed or underemployed in another field, but they've been told not to bring a mother to the application process, and if you get an offer, don't insist on a free trip to see your mother before you decide.