The Art of the Pause

11 Jan

     Sometimes ya just gotta know when to use a pause to its best effect.

     Radio/TV/Comedy legend Jack Benny knew that better than anyone.  He even let his writers poke fun at it in what turned out to be a classic exchange on his radio program, when confronted by a holdup man played by Mel Blanc.

Jack Benny and Mel Blanc on the Christmas Show. Different Script. Different Pauses.

Mel:     Okay, buddy, this is a stick up.  Now come on:  yer money or yer life!

(LONG PAUSE….AUDIENCE BEGINS CHUCKLING)

Mel:     (Yelling)  LOOK, BUD!  I SAID ‘YER MONEY OR YER LIFE!’

Jack:    (Yelling Back)  I’M THINKING IT OVER!!!!

(AUDIENCE ROARS)

     Most pauses aren’t that funny.  Like the one I finally gave into today.  After an insane workload leading up to the end of last calendar year, January has been calm to say the least.  And what I have done, I notice doesn’t have the level of sharpness and energy I’d like it to have.  Today, with the community iced-in, and even the phones silent, I should have used the pause to finally work on my studio clean-up…or begin tax prep…or get on the phone and start trying to make new contacts.

     Instead, I gave in, and spent the most productive hours of my day on the recliner, under a blanket, with sinus medicine, the ever-present diet coke, and one cat sleeping on my legs and another cat sleeping next to my head.

     Sometimes a voice talent just needs to know when to be quiet, and use the pause.

     …a status which I’m going to return to right now.

— over and out —

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