Maybe we were being a bit ambitious thinking that a chat with Michael Winslow could ever translate into a salient magazine interview. The Motormouth comic ducks almost all of Scout’s obdurate questioning, and spends much of our 20 minutes together in the sun leaning in towards the Dictaphone and doing accents: English, Scottish, Cuban – or else grabbing the thing and mimicking the incessant background sounds that surround us in the beer garden of the Udderbelly on the South Bank: helicopters, children screaming on a fairground ride, a Latin band practising next to us in that bloated, up-turned purple carbuncle – this year the cow looks more ill than ever.
“I need to go to Maplin’s later,” Winslow fires at his patient tour manager Dom, who shoots a small smile in return. “I love to switch everything on – even if it’s not plugged in.” What does he need to buy? “A new microphone!”
The so-called ‘man of 10,000 sound effects’ was in London exactly a year ago. He met Joey Essex when both of them shared one of the most surreal moments ITV’s Daybreak sofa has ever witnessed. “I loved his hair, I helped him style it!” says Winslow, before impersonating all the sounds of the hairdressers. “The girls loved him for sure.”
Winslow is back to do some shows at the Udderbelly before heading up to Edinburgh Festival in August. “Oh I can’t give too much away about the show,” says Winslow with unusual coyness. The straightest part of our chat is when Winslow chats about his recent return from Egypt. “We did Alexandria and then the American University in Cairo,” he says with obvious pride – and why not. “It’s only recently that you could even say those things there, to make comedy.” Was he scared of the government spies watching the shows? “They were laughing too!” he hits back.
But it is for Police Academy that Winslow is best known. The 53 year-old from the Pacific Northwest of the US played hyperactive sergeant Larvelle Jones with the energy of a tornado crashing through the set. Now an eighth Police Academy picture is on the way, as he explains, sipping from a bottle of mineral water: “Yep New Line Cinema are going to do it. The director has promised me something special too.”
Although it was an American comedy that propelled him to fame, Winslow is an Anglophile at heart. “I grew up watching Monty Python on PBS, and The Young Ones.” He’s taken with Keith Lemon at the moment. “I remember being on his show last year. I think we should do a cop movie together.” He yells this bit, impersonating how the movie might sound: “SOMEONE’S FILLED THE MAYOR’S SWIMMING POOL WITH BEROCCA!” and that prompts me to laugh at how the whole crummy enterprise might look. Someone should should greenlight it immediately.
Michael Winslow: Man of 1,000 Voices
June 20-22, Udderbelly
Jubilee Gardens, off Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Nearest tube: Waterloo