Awesome is the only word that can be used to describe comedian Michael Winslow’s show at the Pittsburgh Improv.
Winslow, who caught the attention of viewers as the kooky Larvelle “Motor Mouth” Jones in the “Police Academy” franchise, proved that he is a well-rounded performer who enjoys sharing his unique talent for voice impressions with audiences around the world.
Winslow’s first television appearance was on the “Gong Show” where he did spot-on sound effects of Benji the movie dog, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”
But he is best known for his work on “Police Academy.”
“The part of Motor Mouth was written for me in ‘Police Academy.’ At the time I was opening for Count Basie and his orchestra and the people from ‘Police Academy’ wanted to see what this noisy guy was all about. That was supposed to be a summer job so that I wouldn’t have to live in my car in Venice Beach.”
That summer job turned the noisy Winslow into a cult phenomenon. The “Police Academy” franchise birthed seven movies and a short-lived television series. The eighth installment of the movie is currently in the works.
He debuted his own iPhone Touch apps earlier this year. ThatsKungFu generates Winslow’s fighting sounds when the phone is swung in a fighting motion. The NoizyMan phone contains videos, sound effects and games all created by the Spokane, Washington native.
“Technology had to catch up with me,” Winslow laughed.
After the success of “Police Academy,” Winslow landed roles in “Gremlins,” “Spaceballs” and “Far Out Man.” Following those successes, the talented comedian took his unique show overseas. He also did a commercial for Geico. He is currently working on a project with Bill Cosby and is producing a children’s program.
“Everyone has a strangeness about them and this is mine. My dad was a Tuskeegee Airman and I got the chance to see a lot of places. Even though I don’t know how this voice thing works, I learned by doing,” said Winslow, 51, who lives in Florida.
Pittsburghers were amazed at how Winslow’s voice worked during his performance.
He took people on a trip by doing the dialogue and voices to one of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” movies, a Led Zeppelin piece. And Jimi Hendrix’s guitar during his historic “Woodstock” performance—complete with afro wig was mesmerizing. The bit singing Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” left the audience in wonder. The only thing he didn’t attempt was the sound of the air we breathe. But if he puts his mind to it, he can do it. Winslow got three standing ovations during his hour-long set.
“My job is to get people to forget about the rent. Sound has no language barrier and even if a person is hearing impaired they can still hear the vibrations so I am communicating with everyone,” he said.
The comedian said he is touring around the world to show people that he is still around and relevant.
With the jaw-dropping performance he gave here in Pittsburgh, It’s clear the Man of 10,000 Sound Effects will be around for years to come.
(For more information on Michael Winslow, visit www.michaelwinslow.net.)