Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Man of 1,000 Slightly Different Voices

Posted on July 26, 2011

Thousand Voices

Thank you for booking Andy Ross, the Man of 1,000 Slightly Different Voices, for your next party or business conference. You have made the correct choice for your entertainment needs. Or, as we like to say, you’ve made the correct 1,000 slightly different choices.

This confirmation email will cover a few basics and expectations for your event with Andy. If you have any further questions after reading through this, please feel free to respond to this address.

First off, many people ask, “What kind of slightly different voices can we expect?” Excellent question. This is a very good question. Good job.

The answer is that you should expect the unexpected. Andy has spent decades as a dialogologist, carefully mastering slightly different voices from around the globe. For instance, during any given performance, Andy might do any or all of the following voices:

- Cockney scamp

- Cockney scamp with a head cold

- Cockney scamp with a stammer

- Drunk cockney scamp

- Cockney scamp who burnt his tongue on hot pizza

- Cockney scamp experiencing a minor stroke

- Cockney scamp who spent the summers of his youth with an uncle in Louisiana

- Cockney scamp doing a poor impression of a Canadian

- A Canadian doing a spot-on impression of a Cockney scamp

- Cockney flower girl

- Cockney flower woman

- Cockney scamp who got hit on the head and now thinks he’s Jack Nicholson, even though he’s never really seen a Jack Nicholson movie

- Overly-tired Cockney scamp

- Cockney scamp who took broadcast journalism classes to try to lose his accent

- Cockney scamp playing up his accent to impress an American tourist girl

- Cockney non-scamp

And, that’s just the first 15 of 1,000 unique, exciting, and slightly different voices you might hear from this master of mimicry.

Some of you might also ask, “Does the Man of 1,000 Slightly Different Voices actually use all 1,000 slightly different voices over the course of one show?” The answer is yes. Yes he does. However, the differences between the voices are incredibly subtle, and Andy may switch between as many as seven voices per sentence. Keep your ears and your minds open, or you might miss one.

“Does Andy ever repeat a slightly different voice?” others of you might be asking. Well, we don’t want to ruin it for you, so just picture us shrugging right now with an impish grin, as if we are saying, “Wouldn't you like to know?”

Still others of you might ask, “Does Andy ever do more than 1,000 slightly different voices?” No. Never. That's not what we do here.

“So, is this like a monologue or a conversation type thing? I mean, what? Is this guy just cycling through a bunch of voices, or is this part of some greater performance piece?”

Wow, that's a good question. We hadn't really thought about that one before. We guess he simply cycles through 1,000 slightly different voices. Just based on previous performances, it's mostly nonsense talk.

That said, please don’t try to engage Andy in conversation, or he might get thrown off and have to start over.

“What if, after the first 200 or so slightly different voices, we decide our party has had enough, and we don't want to hear the remaining 800 slightly different voices?”

Okay, well, you paid for 1,000 slightly different voices, so that’s what you’re getting. Once Andy starts a performance, he doesn't stop until it's over. Don't try talking over him or moving to another room, because that will hurt his feelings, and he’ll just dejectedly mumble the rest of the performance to himself. Possible in his car with the windows rolled up.

“Have we made a mistake in booking this guy for our event?” No no no no no no. This is going to be great. We’re not sure how this FAQ got so downbeat and judgmental. It's a great show. Super fun and silly. 1,000 slightly different voices---how cool is that?

So, yeah, this is going to be great. Your party or business event is in for a real treat. Don’t worry about it. Um… yeah, it’ll be great.

Again, if you have any questions, simply reply to this email address. Or call, I guess. Whatever works. We’re around.

1,000 (Slightly Different) Voice Productions, LLC


New OED Word Suggestion

Posted on July 18, 2011

Face Monster

Dear Oxford English Dictionary,

I noticed that you've recently released your second-quarter official list of new words added to the 2011 edition of your dictionary. These included understandable additions like "net neutrality" and "gender reassignment" along with some more questionable buzzwords like "ZOMG" and “urb.” That's fine. That's your prerogative.

One question, though: Did you happen to get any of my letters regarding the word I coined---Face Monsters? Is there still time to add another word?

Again---in case my letters happen to have gotten lost in the transatlantic mail or if none of my many emails made it through---a Face Monster is any person whose overwhelming wealth creates a permanently shitty look on his or her face. For some, this could be the long-term results of cosmetic surgery from the early 1980s. Or, it might be from tanning trips to the Mediterranean. For others, it's just their shitty, snide attitudes.

Examples can be found any weekday around lunchtime at the corner 72nd and Park Ave on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I can supply photographs upon request.

It's a pretty great word, though, right? I was super excited to have made it up. Or did I? Perhaps the zeitgeist simply decided that it was time for the word Face Monster, and it placed it down into my brain.  I don’t know how language evolves; I’m just happy to play my small role.

Certainly, Face Monster is better than ZOMG. I mean, not to tell you how to do your jobs, but ZOMG? Face Monster paints a picture with words. It’s clean. It’s clear. It differentiates effortlessly. Isn’t that what coining a new word is all about?

I know you guys get new word suggestions all the time, so you must be really busy. Also, I saw how people are really going after the Oxford Comma lately. I say hold fast on that one.

Is it too early to have Face Monsters considered for the 2012 edition of the OED? I'm just putting that out there. I mean whatever. It’s fine. No rush.

Also, this is less important, but what do you think of the word “bumpers” to replace love handles? I saw that you guys went with adding “muffin tops,” which is okay, I guess. But, isn't bumpers more pleasant? Who doesn't love bumpers?

Alright, thank you for your consideration. Good luck with the comma thingy.



Deja Vu

Posted on July 15, 2011

Whoa, I'm having the most intense deja vu right now. It feels like all this has happened before. Remember last week, when I said I was experiencing deja vu? This feels exactly like that.

Remember? Last Tuesday, you were sitting over there, and I was right here, and I said, “Whoa, I'm having the most intense deja vu right now. Everything feels like it’s all happened before.” Am I crazy, or does this feel exactly like that? Super weird.

Of course, last week I was referring to a feeling of deja vu from two weeks ago, when I had really strong deja vu at the library. You were with me then, too. Remember? I was in the library talking about deja vu and... Holy moly, this is weird. Do you think we’re stuck inside some kind of time loop? Like Groundhog’s Day?

Wow, intense. It seems like every time we get together, you start talking about planning your wedding, and then I mention feeling deja vu about having felt deja vu during our previous visit, when you were also talking about planning your wedding.

I mean, what are the odds that I would always experience the same, recurring deja vu about feeling deja vu? And, that it would always interrupt you blathering on about how stressful it is to plan a wedding? It’s not like we could be having the same exact conversation every time we’ve seen each other for the past seven months since you got engaged. That’d be too extreme of a coincidence. Right?

Wait, where are you going? Are you stomping away in a huff? Again? Weird. Deja vu.


The Storage Space

Posted on July 14, 2011


In honor of my storytelling show Real Characters starting back up (the next show is August 15th at McNally Jackson Books), I thought I'd share another true story with you all. Here goes:

When I got out of college, my first job was painting signs for a Trader Joe’s grocery in Chicago. Mostly, it was coming up with stupid puns to write on chalkboard displays, like one for masala sauce that read, “Curry Simmer Sauces: Put These India Belly. (They Shere Khan Fill You Up.)” So, yeah, I was killing it at Trader Joe’s.

Every once and again, I'd get to paint a mural. I painted sticks of butter riding the subway or an onion at the beach, an old-timey ocean diver spearing cans of tuna. It was cartoony stuff done quickly, and that speed must have caught the attention of a higher-up, because I got asked to help open a new store in Minneapolis. They were on a tight schedule and needed someone to paint banners for a few windows.

Trader Joe’s flew me up to Minnesota to take measurements and reference photos. It turns out it wasn't simply a few windows; it was forty-three giant windows of varying sizes. Each one was around four feet wide and hovered between three and six feet tall. The store had built freezers around the interior perimeter, so anyone looking in would see backs of machines instead of an inviting grocery. I had two short months before the grand opening to fix that.

I flew back to Chicago and bought rolls of pre-primed canvas, which I cut to size and numbered. A coworker’s wife was a seamstress, and I commissioned her to sew loops at the tops and bottoms for wooden dowels. [As an aside, those two were the most adorable young Baha’i couple. Most people who marry young, I’d worry about. But, these two seemed so happy and serene. Anyway…] While she was doing that, I had to look for a larger workspace, because as it was, I had been painting at a picnic table behind the wine cases in the storeroom. Art is glamorous.

Someone suggested the storage facility on the floors above our store. The entire city block was one huge former candy factory built in the 1920s. It had uneven floors and thick cement pillars every twenty feet, so above the first floor, storage was pretty much its only viable option.

I explained to the storage facility manager that I wanted to rent a space for painting. He said that’d be fine as long as I followed two rules: I couldn’t bring any combustible materials in there, like oil paints or turpentine, and I wasn’t allowed to have a hotplate. That second rule was steadfast. It was meant to keep mentally unbalanced squatters from living inside the storage units. The manager admitted to that having been a problem in the past.

Now, it was mostly storage for pharmaceutical saleswomen, whom the manager pointed out were always incredibly gorgeous. [Another aside: It’s true. They are.]

I ended up renting a ten foot by ten foot space on the fourth floor. It had corrugated aluminum walls and a large vinyl garage door. The ceiling of the space was made of chicken wire, which let in fluorescent light from the hallway. It wasn’t the best painting conditions, but I planned on mixing my paint downstairs and applying flat blocks of color, so it didn’t matter. I thought.

When the canvases came back, I stretched them on sheets of plywood using coat hooks and broomstick handles. [Pretty clever, I think. I mean, not to toot my own horn, but I do enjoy a good round of problem solving.] I was aiming to complete one per day. I’d close the storage locker door behind me, plug my iPod into tiny speakers, and apply multiple coats of paint to each banner. And, as I completed each one, I’d hang it from the chicken wire ceiling to dry.

Every twenty minutes on the dot, I’d have to pull open the door and wave my arm out into the hallway. The facilities were huge and filled with labyrinthine grids of hallways with their lights connected to motion detectors. No motion in the hallway for twenty minutes, and the lights went out. But, that was fine. I couldn’t lock the door from the inside, so I didn’t have to unlock it or anything. Other than that small inconvenience, things were moving along really well.

I was painting coffee beans the size of footballs. Bread, olive oil, flowers. It was all in nice, bright candy colors, and even though it was simple and lacked depth, I was proud of my progress.

After the first week, however, I realized that the room was closing in around me. Literally. As I hung one banner in front of another, I had less and less space to work. Soon, there was only a tight, three-foot aisle between banners. Also, less of the sporadic fluorescent light could make its way in from above.

I was working nine hours a day in poor light and cramped spaces with no one to talk to. I got depressed. Severely depressed.

Add to that a creeping suspicion that I wasn’t alone. I kept hearing noises, which I knew were just pretty pharmaceutical sales ladies stocking up on Viagra samples. But, a door slamming in the distance always caught me off guard and made me fear the worst.

I was feeling logy and bringing home an air of defeat at night. Something inside me decided that the best way to combat depression would be to work faster to give myself time for naps. I’d race through the mornings, and at noon I’d curl up on a pile of drop cloths in the corner. It seemed to work.

One day, as I was getting close to finishing the project, I woke up with a snort, which meant that I had been snoring. The lights in the hallway had gone out, so it was pitch black. Off to the side---I couldn’t tell how far away---I heard a voice. It was angry.

“I hear you,” it said. “I hear you, asshole. I can hear you breathing, you cuntface motherfucker! You cuntface motherfucker, you can’t be living in here! THIS IS MY HOUSE, YOU CUNT! GOD FUCKING FUCK, YOU CAN’T BE LIVING IN MY HOUSE, YOU FUCK!”

I couldn’t tell where this guy was in the building. I heard him banging on the storage unit doors, but all the sound filtered down at me from above. Plus, the hanging canvases muffled the voice as if I had blood pumping in my ears. Clearly, the manager had been wrong referring to crazy squatters in the past tense.


That seemed to be coming from the complete other side of the building. At this point I could hear the guy moving around in one of the hallways, closer than before. I curled up into a little ball, just on the inside of my unlocked door. Most likely, it was the only one on the entire floor without a heavy padlock. If anyone were looking for that, it’d be pretty obvious.

I held my breath and tried not to make a sound. All I knew is that I wanted it to stay dark. Because, if the hallway motion detector switched the lights back on, that’d mean whoever was looking for me was right outside my door…

That’s the end of that story. Whew, cliffhanger right? It is 100% true. In trying to remember the number the number of banners, I even looked up the Minneapolis Trader Joe’s on Google Street View. And, the banners are still hanging there! So, that’s nice.

If you want to learn how the story ended up, you’ll have to ask me in person at the next Real Characters on August 15th at 7pm. Was I found and murdered? Am I now a ghost who doesn’t even know he’s dead? Was it not a psychotic homeless man but rather the mythical Minotaur, itself? Or, most likely, none of those things? You’ll have to come to the show to find out.

See you there.



Posted on July 13, 2011

Alright, new guys, I'm running low on nicknames, so you're gonna have to take whatever's left. I'm sorry, but I've met a lot of people in my life, and I've given every single one of them a nickname. The choices are kinda slim at this point.

Speaking of slim---you are tall and slender. I've already used up Slim, Beanpole, and Skinny Steve. I guess I'll have to call you... Obelisk. Which is also something tall and thin. You're welcome.

You nickname will be StrongJaw.

Yours will be Mr. Magoo. No, wait; I have a Mr. Magoo. Your nickname will be Squints. No wait, Pinchface McSquints. That’s more appropriate.

You’ll be Gomer.

You will be Goober.

Your nickname will be The Old Goat. I like your white beard and your vigor in chewing gum, by the way.

You're going to be called Banana Hands.

Your nickname will be Turkey Bacon. Because you have hands the size of a bunch of bananas, and you smell like turkey bacon.

Your nickname is going to be... No Glasses Guy. Because you look like a guy I worked with named Glasses Guy, except without his glasses. Do you wear contacts? No? Good.

You'll be named Fat Steve. I already have a Skinny Steve, and need to balance that out. I hope you understand, Fat Steve.

You will be nicknamed Guy-Next-to-Fate-Steve.

You---wear this beret for a second. Alright, your nickname from now on is Pierre. Never take off that beret, or I might forget your name.

You will be Barnum.

You will be Blue Shirt.

Your nickname will be FaceDude.

You will be nicknamed Bowie, because you are David Bowie. It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Bowie. I'm a huge fan of your music.

You shall be Blue Shirt Number Two.

Alright, all the rest of you who haven’t gotten nicknames yet, wait here. I am going to go grab a thesaurus and some name tags. Bowie, you can go. I’m sure you’re very busy being David Bowie.

Be back in a sec. Hold down the fort, FaceDude.


Ironic Marching Band

Posted on July 11, 2011

Marching Band


Wanted: Brass and percussion players for ironic marching band. Must appreciate choreographed movement, John Phillips Sousa, and an arch sense of superiority.

Details: I am forming an ironic marching band to perform at zombie/superhero pub crawls and during halftime at adult Red Rover tournaments. We will be playing contemporary "classics" like Livin' la Vida Loca and Mambo Number 5, as if we actually enjoyed that kind of "music." We will also march in real, local parades in a mock imitation of the kind of pseudo-fascist, patriotic brainwashing that goes into precision military-style formations.

Eventually, the line between irony and genuine love of marching will blur. We will get very serious about practicing and mastering our steps. The smiles on children's faces in the crowds will warm our hearts, and a gentle nod from an aged veteran will bring a collective lump to our throats. This will lead to a sense of pride in our work that chips away at any judgement and sarcasm.

Soon, our marching band will lose any irony at all and simply "be." At some point, I assume we'll be replaced by an "ironic" ironic marching band, but we won't care. We'll be too focused on our families and building a strong, proud community at that point.

Requirements: Must commit to two hours of practice twice a week, including synchronized steps and sneering eye rolls. Must purchase own marching uniform, including those lame chinstrap helmets which are so awesome. Must be willing to grow mustache and/or severe bangs.

Serious inquiries only.


Reasons I Might Hate You

Posted on July 8, 2011

If you are a stranger, and I have just handed you this business card, it means that I hate you. To understand the specifics of why someone you have never met before hates you, please refer to the list of reasons in small print on the back of this card. One or more may be circled.



- You have mentioned Harvard unprompted.

- I am tired, and you don't seem tired.

- You are a teenager.

- You are muscular.

- You have brought up your food allergy in a non-dining situation.

- You seem too "into" your “lover.”

- You have mentioned the Hamptons unsolicited.

- You have not given up your subway seat to a pregnant woman.

- You are a pregnant woman who seems insufficiently grateful that I gave up my subway seat for you.

- Your sunglasses cost more than a movie ticket.

- I don't like your voice.

- You are playing football with your shirt off. [See also: any other sport.]

- You have not said thank you to my holding the door open for you.

- You claim to not own a television.


- You are clearly coming from yoga at 3pm on a weekday.

- You are looking over my shoulder for someone more important.

- You have reclined your airplane seat the very first opportunity.

- You are wearing Tom's shoes, which I know shouldn't be a thing, but I kinda hate people who wear those. I know, I know---it shouldn't be a thing. But, they sell those shoes at Whole Foods, for Christ's sake. Also, the guy who started the company wears a summer scarf in an American Express commercial. Super gross.

- You have eaten the last appetizer off a tray right before I could.

- You are slowly repopulating your purse at the checkout counter.

- You have contradicted me during party conversation. [Subset: You have pointed out that I misquoted a New Yorker article at a party.]

- Your child has an old man's name. Or is named after an herb.

- Your blog got a book deal.

- All of the above.


Non-Costume Party

Posted on July 7, 2011

Hey, Debra, thanks so much for having me at this party. It's been a lot of fun.

Uh… I guess I should probably explain my appearance. I had thought this was a costume party. And, actually, it's kind of weird that no one noticed I was dressed up as Harry Potter.

I mean, what does it say about me that I came to a party filled with my closest friends, and nobody thought twice about me wearing a cloak and glasses? Am I trying too hard to get attention in life? Am I the guy who wears a cloak to a normal, non-costume party?

The invitation said to “dress up.” Does that not mean costumes? To me, that means “wear a costume.”

When I first got here, I assumed everyone else's costumes were just super subtle. Like, I thought Phil was dressed as Where's Waldo. But, then it turned out that his wife had bought him a new shirt. Which explains why he looked at me funny when I said, “There you are! There’s Waldo!”

When I finally realized that I was the only one dressed up, I got really confused as to why nobody was calling me out on it. I mean, sure, people were giving me a hard time, but no harder of a time than normal.

Was everyone ignoring me being in costume on purpose? Was it a prank? Like a “don’t encourage him” kind of thing. But, it wasn’t that. People genuinely didn’t seem to notice that I was dressed as a boy wizard. So, I started dropping hints. Like saying lines from the Harry Potter movies and pretending to cast a spell on the punch bowl. But, nothing. People honestly didn't realize I was in costume. Honestly, that's fucked up!

It's not just that you guys are unobservant, which you clearly are. I mean, let's share some of the blame here. But, more importantly, it says something about me. It's says that I'm that guy.

I always worried I was that guy. Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew I liked attention a little too much. And, part of me understood I have kind of a “goofy younger brother” thing going on. But, Jesus Christ, am I the guy that everyone just assumes is always wearing a costume? So, that when I actually do wear a costume, nobody notices?

I had a full-born panic attack about that when Charlie was blowing out his birthday candles. That’s why I was sitting on the coffee table with my head between my knees. I don’t think anybody saw me. Or maybe they did. Maybe they thought I was being my normal, weird self…


… It feels like the floor is dropping out from under me. I don’t mean to be a drama queen here. Am I a drama queen? I guess only a drama queen would ask that question.

So, yeah, I’m gonna head out. Maybe take some time to think about stuff. Maybe join an ashram or something. Unless that’s attention-seeking as well. It probably is …

Anyway, nice party. Tell Charlie happy birthday for me. G'night.


My Etsy Site

Posted on July 6, 2011


Things I have for sale on my Etsy site:

- Knitted ukulele cozy

- Jewelry shaped like cupcakes

- Cupcakes shaped like jewelry

- Knitted cupcake cozy

- A computer keyboard made of recycled buttons and brooches

- Steampunk costumes for pet ferrets

- Handwritten list of bands you should check out

- Knitted bike seat cozy

- Felt bike seat cozy

- Trivets made from recycled past Etsy purchases

- Leggo iPad dock shaped like a squirrel wearing an ugly Cosby sweater

- Knitted skateboard cozy

- Messenger bags made out of old headphones

- A chair Mod Podged with magazine photos of Zoey Dechanel

- Knitted knitting needle cozy


Spy vs. Spy Toy

Posted on July 5, 2011

Spy vs Spy CloseUp

Hi, you guys. I’ve been lax in updating this blog over the past week, which I know has many of you suffering pretty severe withdrawal symptoms. I apologize. The reason is that I was asked to contribute to an amazing project for MAD Magazine. I just handed it in, so I can finally show it off.

Dave Croatto over at MAD is spearheading a huge celebration for Spy vs. Spy’s 50th anniversary. He sent dozens of six-inch plastic toy blanks around the world to some super talented artists, designers and toy makers, and somehow I was lucky enough to be included. Each contributor had free range to modify the toy however he or she wanted.

Here’s the process that went into my contribution:

Spy vs Spy Blank

The six-inch plastic blank…

Spy vs Spy Pieces

Disassembled into its component parts.

Spy vs Spy First Coat

Applying my first few coats of Flashe paint. Each color needed about five coats. I had never painted a model before; It’s painstaking but that much more satisfying.

Spy vs Spy Pumpkin

Here I am hardening a pumpkin I made out of a ping pong ball and Sculpey. I had never worked with Sculpey before. Normally you bake it, but I couldn't risk the ping pong interior melting in my toaster oven.

Spy vs Spy Final Coat

The final coats of paint.

Spy vs Spy Spray Finish

Up on my roof, applying a few passes of protective spray finish. (Coincidentally disturbing my neighbors’ last romantic sunset before they moved upstate. They seemed nice. I wish I had met them before they moved away.)

Spy vs Spy Glow Tape

I designed a skeleton template on the computer. Then, I scored through the printout to create decals out of theatrical glow tape. I also made some bombs out of Sculpey and cotton twine that I forgot to photograph.

Spy vs Spy Front

My finished Spy. His Halloween bucket is filled with smaller bombs, so the name of the piece is “Trick or Trick.”

Spy vs Spy Right Profile

Left and right profiles.

Spy vs Spy Glow Front

The side-by-side of him in the light and glowing in the dark.

Spy vs Spy Glow Back

Same with the back.

It has been a real honor to be included in this art project. I had a hard time handing it over after two weeks of sneaking in painting and sculpting after work or shows.

But, turning it in, I got a chance to see some of the other finished spies, and they are terrific! So proud to have mine alongside them.

They’ll be on display at the DC booth at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. If you have a chance to see them, I highly recommend it. Otherwise, you can see more now at MAD’s blog The Idiotical.

Now, I promise to get back to writing stupid puns and stuff.

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