Best known for his easy money role as Larvell "Motormouth" Jones in the Police Academy movies, Michael Winslow has been taking beatbox requests for 25 years. In between Star Wars riffs on the comedy club circuit, the actor discusses karate chops,Spaceballs and surviving three marriages.
Is it frustrating knowing that the Couch Potato Nation knows you only as Mahoney’s loyal kung fu cop? Or do you smile, take the paycheck and happily move on with your life?
Actually, I thank you for asking. The answer for me is a little bit of both. Lately I have been happy for the fact that those potatoes have been asking what is coming up next. I don’t mind that they know mostly Jones.
With all the work you’ve done over the years, are you able to just walk in and do what you gotta do in two takes or do you still have oh-shit moments?
Maybe it is easy for someone like Brad Pitt, but even he would tell you it is not as easy as it looks. Every day it is a new page, a fresh challenge to address. [You have to] keep your A-game ready. Stay in shape, ’cause your kung fu better be good.
I once asked Bobcat Goldthwait if he is haunted by the fact that he always gets recognized for Police Academy. ‘It’s hard to be in a mood when you see how excited they are,’ he said, ‘but they don’t realize that I’ve had the same conversation three times already that week.’ Is it worse because people probably want you to beatbox for them?
People have actually come up to me with sounds of their own, which tells me that our lives are evolving. They’ve been getting really good at this lately.
Unlike the other original cast members, you’re the only one who has continued to partake in every Police Academy installment. Why?
Because these were great movies, because I wanted to be a part of something specially unique to itself, and I’m grateful… These days it is good to have a job, you know?
So you must be proud to know that you took part in arguably the best Police Academy bit in its entire franchise: The scene in which you karate chop a couple of dudes mugging a mushmouthed Korean grocer. I must know: Why are Asians so damn funny?
For the same reason we love Jackie Chan and Sammo Hong. True talent and experience there. It’s such rich culture that you want to be a part of it even in a small way.
So you’re living in Florida now. What’s it like getting work when you’re not living in L.A.?
There is a lot going on here, because Miami is really close by. Productions are happening all over and the competition is healthy.
You’ve had three wives in your life, and showbiz, surely, has always challenged family life. What has been your experience in handling this issue?
If you want to stay sane, do not live in Hollywood. Go there, work, leave. Look what happened to MJ.
I know earlier I asked you if all the work was a simple ‘in and out with two takes’ situation, but you must have been a little choked up when working for Mel Brooks. Right?
When it comes to Mel Brooks keep your mouth shut: watch, listen and learn. When he asks you something, you do your best and be cool, even if inside you are thinking, ‘Waaaaa! Wow! It’s Mel Brooks!‘
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