I find it entertaining to try to make someone I’m working with laugh whenever possible. Comedy is just one of my favorite things, I guess. And it makes the time pass quicker if there’s someone around who shares your sense of humor.


Right now, I work at a job where all my immediate coworkers do the same thing to get through the day, and we end up laughing lot. We’re about the same age, think the same things are funny and we’re all musicians. And we work a job where listening to music is mandatory (terrible, right?) on each of our elaborate desktop audio systems.

So all day, we’re constantly trying to coax a giggle out of each other via music, and recently, we’ve stumbled upon a method of doing so that I just had to share.

My coworker Dan Delellis did it first, coming up with the idea over a beer one weekend. Without our knowing, on Monday, he quietly downloaded Audacity (the free audio editing software that’s been around forever), looked up a Nickelback song on YouTube, copied the link for it into the website “YouTube to MP3” (Google it), opened the resulting file in Audacity and slowed it down by about 40 percent using one of Audacity’s included effects plug-ins — “Change Speed,” I believe.

When he started playing the well-known — and, in our musical circle, desperately hated — former No. 1 hit of the world by the Canadian mainstream rockers, at slow speed, all of us thought he was putting on another crazy doom metal band, as he is occasionally wont to do.

It wasn’t until the chorus came in that we started laughing so hard we might have peed a little.

Once he let the cat out of the bag, we all had to download Audacity and see how far this thing could go.
If you haven’t recognized what we’re doing yet, it’s a modern “thing” — the only way I can put it — that people are doing online, which is called “chopped and screwed.”

Search for it in YouTube and you’ll see so, so many examples of this, using almost any kind of music. We’ve found that the genre really doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that it’s funnier if the singer on the original track had a high-pitched or waif-ish voice to begin with.

One of my favorites to “chop and screw” is Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” which becomes this almost-convincing baritone ballad at about 30 percent down. You can also “Change Pitch” without changing speed, or you can change the pitch and then speed it up so the song is faster than the original but Dolly still sounds like a giant.
Other great tracks for this include “Believe” by Cher, Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5,” “Blue” by Eiffel 65, “Waterfalls” by TLC and — one of my favorites — “Friends In Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

Basically any ear worm or groan-inducing pop mega hit would be perfect for that slow transition when “WTF am I listening to” becomes “OMG.”


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