Few people can claim they created a music genre, but Michael Winslow, the “Man of 10,000 sound effects” is credited with developing beatboxing. This makes sense. Winslow is a human sound effects machine. He can crank out everything from birds chirping to police sirens to a Cajun southern drawl. He has even mastered slot machine noises and has been courted by casinos to do ads for them.
- From the Calendar
- Michael Winslow at Bonkerz Comedy Club
- April 30-May 3
You may know Michael Winslow from Gremlins, at least that’s one of his roles that made the largest impression on me. On my first date with the boy next door at around age five, I was so terrified of the voice of Michael Winslow’s character, Mogwai, that I watched the film in pieces through my fingers covering my eyes.
Chances are Winslow’s performance this weekend at the Bonkerz Comedy Club inside Palace Station April 30-May 3, won’t be quite as terrifying. The Police Academy actor will be airing on the side of funny, and if his show is anything like our interview with him, it’s bound to be a good time.
When you first discovered you had these talents, did you ever think about getting into rap as a beatboxer?
Well, actually, I did the first one. They’re crediting me with being the first one to do beatboxing because of Police Academy 1. If you look at the first Police Academy, the scene where Mahoney and Jones meet for the first time, Jones was beatboxing, and no one had ever seen that before. It was an absolute accident. I was lucky to even be in the movie. … When I finally got into Police Academy, they kind of just let me freestyle that scene.
- Sounds from the master
Did you ever think that might be your career after it caught on?
After that, everybody started doing it. Then came The Fatboys and Doug E. Fresh and I was glad to hear it. I didn’t realize it would become an art form. It’s still a part of my show. I do a lot of music in my show.
Do you ever use your sound effects to woo women?
No, because Mrs. Winslow wouldn’t allow that.
What about back in the day?
Oh you mean like (in his best Issac Hayes voice) “You never thought about love baby? Because I love you….” How do you think I met her?
Do you have a favorite sound effect?
It’s like asking which one of your kids you like better; I love them all. For me, it’s the body of work. I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to do this kind of career because this is unique. I didn’t want to be everybody else. I’ve accepted the responsibility that my job is to help people forget about the rent.
Do you ever get annoyed that people refer to you as “the guy from Police Academy with the sound effects?”
Every so often I’m in the supermarket and someone will walk up saying, “You’re that fellow that makes those noises” and I have to say yes. Actually people have noises for me, they’re making sounds at me.
You’ve been compared to Bill Cosby, who do you admire in the comedy world?
I really do like Cosby. He’s a really great guy and he’s helped me out a lot. He financed my first children’s television program. We just finished it; it’s in postproduction now. It’s called Win’s World. I hope you like puppets as well as live action. I miss the old Kaptian Kangaroo type shows, I’m trying to bring that back.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Well, I would like to expand my production company here in Orlando. I look at folks who have done very, very well like Tyler Perry in Atlanta. It’s time to make your own things. We reach overseas a lot and they’re begging me to give them something to look at. It may be comedy, it may be music, it may be music and stand up. I learned from Aaron Spelling when I worked on The Love Boat that it’s variety, variety, variety like in real estate it’s location, location, location.