I Was Pat Sajak on Family Guy

I don’t sound that much like Pat Sajak. You can take that for what it’s worth, I suppose. I have a very particular sound, and so does he, but I guess I got close enough, because I landed the role to play him for an opening scene on Family Guy.  The episode was “I Take Thee, Quagmire,” in case you are going to look it up on Hulu or something.

It was kind of a dream gig. I’d been a fan of the show since its earliest days in the late 90s before it was cancelled the first time, and was one of those people who scoured the internet for clips of the show when they first started popping up in the early 2000s. And, naturally, I was thrilled when the show was picked up again (in large part due to the popularity of those clips).

When I got the role, I was living in LA. I’d auditioned for a number of things on the show, mostly for various celebrity soundalikes, and had always hoped something might connect. For whatever reason, Pat Sajak was the one.

It was wonderfully surreal, going to do the recording. The place they produce the show (and write and produce it) is in this non-descript building on Wilshire right near the La Brea Tar Pits. Oh, and fun note about that: If you translate that from the Spanish, it’s literally “The Tar” Tar Pits. Also, in person, the pits stink of sulfur that bubbles up from the primordial ooze. You can smell it for blocks. This is one in a long list of things about LA that are way, way less glamorous when you actually live there. Case in point: The Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame is one of the most depressing places on earth.

I digress!

The Family Guy offices, when you get off the elevator, have these giant, two-dimensional cutouts of all of the main characters, which is just so dope. It’s also kind of weird to think that it all happens from a building complex that is also home to, like, random insurance companies, but, again, that’s LA for you.

The office itself was equally divided between the writing half, which was full of foosball tables and conference rooms, and the production half, where the (duh) producers worked, and also where they had a giant fishbowl-like recording studio, with an engineer console on one side of the glass, and a booth with four mics (for doing group reads with the cast) on the other.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to meet Seth MacFarlane when I did the session. He sometimes directed episodes back then, but not always. Sure enough, he was there for my recording. It went down very quickly. I did about four takes, which were more or less the same, and he seemed happy. There was one line, though, that he didn’t seem sold on. The last line, after Peter guesses the whole Wheel of Fortune puzzle with no letter clues.

And that was the one they called me back to reread the next week. And what a stroke of luck that they called me back, because while I was waiting, none other than the late, great Don LaFontaine came in and sat next to me. For those of you who may not know, he was the movie trailer guy who coined the phrase, “In a world…” He was well known in voiceover circles, so I knew right away who it was and was a little star struck, but I tried to play it cool.

Shortly after that, Mila Kunis came in and sat down. Equally tried to play it cool. I don’t remember what the three of us talked about. I think he talked about fishing, and she told me that she sometimes tended bar for fun at place called Bar None in the East Village, which was near where Lori and I used to live in New York. Seth MacFarlane was late for the session, and so after a while, Mila called him on her cell phone and said, “MacFarlane. Where the f*ck are you? Quit sleeping or whatever and get your ass over here.” It was actually really cute.

He eventually showed up, looking, it must be said, a little tired and unshaven. I read that one line about six different ways until he was satisfied, I left, and that was it.

The following week, they had me read the role of Osama bin Laden, but at the last minute, Seth MacFarlane decided he wanted to read the part himself (and he was, I must admit, far funnier at it than I was).

I’ve tried over the years to get back on the show, in part because—and this is absolutely true—that one cartoon voice gig is still paying royalties to this day, but also because it was a total thrill. Maybe someday, if they ever bring old Pat Sajak back, I’ll have another shot at it.

Promo Voiceover Is a Peculiar and Wonderful Beast

People choose to become voice over artists for any number of reasons. The two most common are, a) they’re constantly told that they have a great voice, or b) they’re told, Wow, you can do a lot of impressions!

I actually got in for a different reason. I had been told that I had a good voice, which was always nice to hear, but my real passion, right off the bat, was promo. Growing up, I loved hearing the guys (and gals) on TV who said “Coming up next…”

My very first agents tried to steer me away from that. Commercials are where the money is, I was told. And they weren’t wrong; there’s plenty of money in commercials. But—and I know this sounds crazy—there’s something better in promo: glory.

Think about it. The only commercial voice over actors most people can name are the celebrities. But promo actors have a SOUND. Even if you don’t know their names (and unless you’re in the business, you generally don’t), you know their voices. The reason is, you hear them more consistently. They brand a network.

Ernie Anderson (father of film director Paul Thomas Anderson) is probably one of the best known promo voices. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember his basso profundo talking about what was coming up next on “the Loooove Boat.”

Nowadays, you’re more likely to recognize Joe Cipriano (the original voice of Fox) or Roger Rose (CBS), who have instantly recognizable sounds.

What drew me in from the very start was probably that good promos are like music. (Did I mention that I was a musician for years after college? Ask me about it some time over a couple beers.) They have an intro, they build to a crescendo, they finish strong, and if they’re done right, they leave the viewer (or listener) wanting more.

Oftentimes when you’re doing a promo, you’re asked to do it “to picture,” which means you have to fit your lines in between the existing dialogue in the finished piece, which is sort of like being a lead singer. And you have to be able to keep one eye on the screen and one eye on the copy. It’s kind of a thrill.

Anyway, promo is my great love, and I love sharing my pieces here. Thought I’d post up one of my Fox spots from a couple years ago, which gives you an idea of what I mean about fitting my lines in between the dialogue (called “hitting posts” in voice over lingo). Happy Monday!

Voice of Ford for Seattle!


I have some news to share. As many of you know, I’m proud and grateful to have been the voice talent for Ford for Southern California for over a decade.

I’m now extraordinarily proud to announce that I’m now also the voice of Ford for Seattle as well! I really can’t take any credit for it—it’s the fine folks at Dailey Ads who did all the work, but I’m so happy to be representing.

As with Southern Cal, I’ll be doing all of the regional commercial voiceover, for both radio and TV. It’s extra sweet, as Lori and I moved to the Seattle area from New York two years ago. It’s a great place to call home, and I’m thrilled to be on the air here.

Hope your new year is shaping up nicely! As always, don’t be a stranger…

Super Bowl Ad Flashback!

Hello, fine people! As the playoffs begin (Go Giants!) and the Super Bowl approaches, I’m moved to share this VH1 tv commercial I did the voiceover for when the Super Bowl came to NYC.

I was living there at the time, and it was funny to see so many Seahawk and Bronco fans wandering the streets, trash talking each other.

In this ad, I play the subway announcer. If you’ve ever ridden the subway in NYC, the announcer has a really distinctive voice. I guess I got closest to matching it, because I wound up getting the gig. Anyway, enjoy!



(About me: I’m a voice over artist who’s voiced thousands of TV and radio commercialspromos, and political ads. I’m also a narrator for National Geographic, TLC, and A&E, and I do live event announcing. (You can also check out some of these funny voice overs, if you’re so inclined.)

Happy New Year! And some ha-ha for you…

Hey, all!

First and foremost, Happy New Year! Hope this finds each of you happy and healthy, and that you’ve all had a joyful holiday season.

So, look. I redesigned my page with the intention of blogging regularly. And then I realized recently (it was pointed out to me by my wonderful wife Lori, actually) that I have yet to post up a blog here.

New year, new resolutions. This crusty voice over talent is hereby resolving to blog here regularly, at least once every couple of weeks. Not that I’ll always have something earth-shattering to say, but we voice over actors are chatty types. We always manage to find stuff to say, sometimes even without a script and a microphone in front of us. In any event, it’ll be a nice way to stay connected with you.

Since it’s New Year’s and no one’s thinking about work much, I thought I’d begin by sharing a bit of funny voiceover Lori and I made recently. She wrote it, based on an automated customer service system she’d just done battle with, and then I voiced it and produced it.



Here’s to a great 2017! Don’t be such a stranger…