Top 10 Most Annoying Voices
June 10, 2010 | Celebrities
For the price of a small sedan you can roll out of your plastic surgeon’s office with all the standard features – a nose that looks sculpted and not by someone on academic probation at the community college, hair as thick and lustrous as the finest pole dancer’s wig, and breasts that could double as a flak jacket.
But while a few thousand bucks can get a better looking face grafted on to the mug genetics gave you, a new voice – at least one that doesn’t sound like Stephen Hawking – is harder to come by. You’re pretty much stuck with the terrible sound that you hear when you check your outgoing message unless you take on vows of silence as part of the monastic life or a loveless marriage.
Some people are fortunate enough to have terrific, resonant voices that make their careers. Vincent Price, for example, would not be able to hold up a bank while incognito, both because he’s dead (sentient mobility being an integral part of any escape plan), but because even the most terrified clerk would recognize him immediately as “that guy from Thriller”. James Earl Jones too is another one who could call you up and keep you entranced for hours while reciting the dinner specials at the Four Seasons.
Then there are these people, the tormentors of the blind and bed-ridden who are left with no other distractions. These are people who make one grateful for the Spanish audio track option even if you don’t speak the lingo. It’s a marvel that these people have managed success in their various fields, most of which require them to expel more air than normal for a living. So shove in the earplugs as we present 10 answers to James Lipton’s end-of-interview question, “What’s your least favourite sound?” Here are the Top 10 Most Annoying Voices!
Cage speaks slower than a phone sex operator with a thyroid condition. As Kathleen Turner put it (black pot, meet kettle) “Oh, that stupid voice of his and the fake teeth!” We’re not sure if these are related.
Here he describes a voice role where he was channeling Mel Blanc which, if you were playing word association with the phrase “Nic Cage”, would come right after “hedge trimmer” in prevalence.
Bellowing blowhard NFL commentator Berman never met a reference to 70s rock he didn’t like—the Grateful Dead being an integral cultural reference for a field goal or diving catch.
9. Rachael Ray, TV Chef.
Dubbed a ‘bobble-head’ by Anthony Bourdain, nerves are grated along with cheese on her show –it’s her Upstate New York by way of New England pack-a-day husk and catchphrases like E.V.O.O. (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and yummo! Fittingly, her husband plays in a rock band called The Cringe. Probably not quite as deserving of web vitriol as some other celebs (we’re looking at you Bono), though we would not want to be walking through the woods with her during mallard mating season.
Honorable Mention: Gilbert Gottfried. Gilbert gets a bit of a pass here as a great stand up and killer guest on Howard Stern, besides telling splendid rendition of the Aristocrats joke.
The first person on this list who might require putting what he does in quotation marks, Romano is proof you don’t need to be a tin-pot dictator to get your own TV show, but that the forces of sheer dumb luck can sometimes prevail. Romano’s nasally New York accent was featured on an inspired Family Guy as a guest panelist alongside Kermit the Frog, Harold Ramis and Al Michaels, each indistinguishable from the other. As Muppet and SCTV fans (and because we can’t have more than two sports commentators on a list without violating some kind of established list decorum) they get honorable mention here, with Romano the Top Dog (or in this case frog).
7. Harvey Fierstein, Actor, Playwright.
Broadway notable Fierstein once opined, “I think the average voice is like 70 percent tone and 30 percent noise. My voice is 95 percent noise”. He was possibly not being generous enough as he sounds like he adopts a daily regimen of yelling “fire”, primal scream therapy and gargling with industrial solvents.
6. Dick Vitale, Basketball Analyst.
You’d be forgiven for thinking al Qaeda has struck again or that scientists have finally solved the mysteries of alchemy given the wild hysterics Vitale goes into describing amateur athletics from the US Midwest.
5. Rosie O’Donnell, TV Host, Comedian.
One of the dauphines of dimwittedness (see our list of 9/11 Crackpots) that graced the View, which, as far as views goes should be an obstructed one (Liz Hasselbeck excepted) O’Donnell, in addition to having a strident maw, is a one-woman argument for upgrading basic cable. She is presently the host of “Rosie Radio”, which at least means there’s no visual component.
4. Richard Quest, Journalist CNN.
As it says in his bio, Quest “is one of the most instantly recognizable members of the CNN team”, perhaps because the Liverpudlian articulates through clenched teeth and gets completely wound up discussing central banks and using bar props to elaborate macro-economic principles.
3. Fran Drescher, Actress.
Drescher had a scene-stealing turn as A&R rep Bobbi Flekman in This is Spinal Tap, but The Nanny and Living with Fran set a TV gold standard for annoying voices that has yet to be topped, unless a variety talent show featuring impressions and the following members of this list is green-lighted.
2. Chris Tucker, Actor.
Google the words “ruined Fifth Element” and Chris Tucker’s name appears prominently among the hits and deservedly so as he ruined that otherwise decent film with his perpetual motion machine of a mouth. In Dead Presidents, he played a character called “Skip”, which is what we make a mental note to do when a trailer promises that a film will include his high-pitched antics.
1. Henry Kissinger, Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State
Legend has it that back in the 1970s, bombing campaigns in Southeast Asia were extended by hours simply because of how long it took Henry Kissinger to croak out the orders to call them off.
He has the kind of guttural baritone one associates with a late-night caller who is in a darkened apartment in the high-rise across the road, watching with binoculars while wearing nothing but a raincoat.