If you tell Brock Baker to impersonate your favorite character, chances are he can pull it off. In his first YouTube video uploaded six years ago on his McGoiter channel titled “The Man of 101 Voices,” where he imitated characters like Christopher Walken, Joe Swanson and Zapp Branigan in rapid-fire succession. That video became a hit and now stands at more than 8 million views.
Since “The Man of 101 Voices,” Baker claims to impersonate more than 400 voices and has a second YouTube channel called “Brock’s Dubs,” where he dubs anything he wants from old Saturday morning cartoons to Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” Now living in Southern California after moving from Colorado, NMR had a chance to talk with the YouTube voice impersonator recently about how he became the “Man of a Kajillion Voices” and his new life on the West Coast.
You do more than 400 impressions — what does it take to make a good impersonation?
Brock Baker: It takes a lot of practice. Like people ask me this all the time, “How do you do voices? How can I do voices?” It’s just a lot of practice. I grew up watching a lot of TV, so I was always mimicking the voices that I hear on TV. If you’re focusing on one voice, just like watch a lot of footage of that and like how it sounds in your head, record yourself, put it on YouTube, get people’s reactions; that’s how I do it.
Where did the McGoiter name come from?
It was the name from middle school. I made this comic about the adventures of Steve McGoiter, and it’s just a name that I found funny because I was a kid, and I thought goiters were funny. [laughs]
Do you have any cartoon characters you liked growing up?
Oh yeah, like I watched “Animaniacs,” “The Simpsons,” stuff like that. I was obsessed. There is always the dumb characters like Wakko and Homer. I think voice acting is different than stage acting. I can’t act serious; I always have to be silly on camera.
When you tried doing these impersonations growing up, did you get any good reactions from your classmates?
Yeah, I just didn’t think much of it. I’m like, “I’m not going to do this for a living some day,” you know, I always wanted to do my own cartoons. I didn’t even think of voices, but reactions were pretty good. I remember doing Mr. Mackey [goes into Mr. Mackey voice], “M’kay,” in I think 7th grade and people loved it, so I don’t know.” [laughs]
Tell us about how you got into YouTube?
Well, I went to college for animation, and I just didn’t like it, and then I took a class on video production, and I fell in love with it. And YouTube was fairly new around that time, and I think this was back in ‘06, like YouTube was a year old and people knew about it. I just started putting my school projects up on there and doing impression videos, and it just kind of took off from there.
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