Must be Monday. New podcast! Just click on the fancy logo below.
This and other accent-related jokes don't make it into the reprint of this story.
(imitating the Australian Dr. Chase): "I'm so sorry! If only Dr. House had paid attention! He'd never even met her! He never does!" House:
And isn't Turkish."
Not the same as Fake Nationality
at all, this is when someone briefly imitates another accent, usually for comedic effect.
See also Just a Stupid Accent
and Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping
. If done unintentionally, the imitatee's Got Me Doing It
Film - Animated
- In Dawn of a Royal Day, Dawn is in a Princess for a Day situation, and very briefly copies Princess Salvia's pseudo-Brit accent. She doesn't keep it up, though, and Salvia doesn't try to imitate her. Oddly enough, people who aren't in on the swap (like Jessie and Salvia's butler) don't notice anything odd about this.
- In the English dub of R.O.D the TV, Nenene (played by an American) does a brief impression of her currently missing friend Yomiko (played by a Brit).
Film - Live-Action
- Fender (voiced by Robin Williams) in Robots briefly switches to a Braveheart-like Scottish accent when confronting Gasket. He does this while wearing a Viking outfit (complete with horns... and a skirt (which is, most definitely, not a kilt). Of course, Robin Williams loves imitating accents and does it every chance he gets.
- He also fakes a strange mix of French and German accents when pretending to be the servant of a European nobleman to crash a party.
- Jay Baruchel gives Gerard Butler's Scottish accent a go in How to Train Your Dragon.
- Towards the end of A Fish Called Wanda antagonists Archie (British) and Otto (American) exchange brief versions of the other's "national" accent.
- Kevin Kline does this a lot. Towards the end of The Road to El Dorado, Tulio (whose accent is Kevin Kline's natural American one) briefly mockingly imitates Miguel (who is voiced by Kenneth Branagh).
- National Treasure 2 has Nicolas Cage affect a truly horrendous amalgamation of various British accents in order to cause a rucus at Buckingham Palace allowing his friends to sneak into the Queen's private office. After a while he runs out of comments and just starts spouting words like crumpet and haggis.
- Used very briefly in The Dark Knight, with The Joker mocking the Chechen crime boss' pronunciation of 'freak'.
- Used pretty creatively in the Mr. Moto films, where Moto takes his own accent from vaguely Japanese to "Herro, officel-san!"-level to make the bad guys think he's much less capable than he really is.
- Jean Reno doing an Elvis impression in the big fake lizard flick.
- Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges mocks a Frenchman's accent:
"The alcoves of Koningin Astrid Park."
- In Shanghai Knights, Lord Rathbone briefly fakes an American accent when he mocks Roy and his secretly self-published books.
- In The Producers (2005 version), when Bialystock has a run-in with a stereotypically Irish police officer (Sergeant O'Toole), he pretends to be Irish in an attempt to get the Sergeant's sympathy and pass off as an innocent bystander. He introduces himself as "Ooo'... 'Bialystock", and proceeds to talk in an absolutely ridiculous accent, before he finally has to excuse himself "before my voice gets anee hiiiigher!"
- Hannibal Lecter does a quick imitation of Jodie Foster's West Virginia accent in The Silence of the Lambs, most definitely not for comic effect.
- Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan graces us briefly with his Sean Connery impersonation in the movie version of The Hunt For Red October. An actual Sean Connery impersonation, which is supposedly a Captain Ramius impersonation.
- Earlier in the film, he also mockingly impersonates Fred Thompson's Southern accent and deliberate way of speaking - "A Russian, son, doesn't take a dump, without a plan"
- Sean Connery is particularly sensitive to any impressions of him, and the one attempted by Peta Wilson as Mina Harker in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen just made it below the radar. When Wilson asked him what he thought about it later, he said "it's terrible! It's the worst impersonation I have ever heard, and it's perfect."
- Mel Gibson in What Women Want has some fun with Connery's accent while his character watches The Hunt For Red October on TV.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall: "Oh! I'm Aldous Snow! Boo-shit boo-shit boo-shit boo-shit!"
- Also done by Jonah Hill's character.
Aldous Snow: That stupid English voice, was that, me?
Matthew: (devastated) Unfortunately, yes.
- Used totally out of nowhere in Les Spécialistes: when thugs grab Carrela and pull them into their car, he very loudly says with a Belgian accent: "You must be mistaken, I'm from Budges!"
- In the 2007 version of St. Trinian's, Russell Brand's character Flash Harry briefly disguises himself as a German art collector...with a hilariously awful accent.
- Don Juan De Marco provides a rare instance of the trope being used with serious intent. The title character, though American born-and-raised, speaks with a Spanish accent in imitation of the original Don Juan. When he threatens to jump from a rooftop, the doctor sent to 'talk him down' affects the same accent, hoping to sound more persuasive (it works.)
- Rob Schneider does a brief imitation of Sly Stallone's accented phrase of "I am the law!" in Judge Dredd.
- Jon Hamm tries out Ben Affleck's working-class Boston accent during the interrogation scene in The Town.
- Captain O'Hagan's catch phrase in Super Troopers is "I'll believe that when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet" in a fake Irish accent whenever one of his troopers tries to bullshit him. Later on, Farva does an awful imitation of O'Hagan with this phrase and an accent. When O'Hagan drunkenly asks if he really sounds this awful, the others look uneasy.
- For reference, the actor playing O'Hagan, Brian Cox, is Scottish not Irish.
- In Die Hard, Alan Rickman fakes an American accent quite well as the German Hans Gruber pretending to be an American (Rickman is actually British). In Die Hard With A Vengeance Jeremy Irons likewise tries to fake an American accent as the German Simon Gruber pretending to be an American (Irons is also British). It is simply awful.
- In Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity, when Rob gets reintroduced to an ex he had been obsessed with for years, Charlie, he finds she now has all manner of massively irritating habits, including frequently attempting to lapse into foreign accents.
- Near the beginning of Spider Robinson's Mindkiller, the hero's sister returns to the United States after several years in Switzerland. Since Americans are not popular in Europe, she has taken to speaking English with "a Swiss French accent" and he has to remind her to speak like an American.
- Other characters on Babylon 5 occasionally ape Londo Mollari's Hungarian-ish accent.
Sheridan: As Londo would say, (puts on fake accent) The Narn are Barbarians...
- Adam Savage in MythBusters, but all the others bar Jamie do it too. Just not to the extent he does.
- Jamie's lack of doing this was a source of humor in "Fish in a Barrel". He declared "it's alive" on the "reanimated fish" in his normal accent. Adam chided him for not doing the Mad Scientist accent and promptly did it, with the post-production crew darkening the sky and adding a lightning effect.
- Adam and the rest of the team also imitate Jamie's "accent" on occasion too, complete with using their fingers as "whiskers."
- Adam spent the entire "Pirate Myths" special talking like a pirate and ended up sounding exactly like Ozzy Osbourne.
- He also did a very bad Russian accent for the first James Bond special, but soon gave it up as it was wrecking his vocal chords.
- He's also imitated David Attenborough narrating a documentary on the rare and elusive 'Hyneman' enough that its become a Running Gag and has prompted Jamie to ask "Is he doing his 'Attenborough' thing again?" on occasion.
- Tory also does this occasionally, usually affecting a faux Italian accent (sometimes Al Pacino style, sometimes not).
- Just Shoot Me!: After realizing that his personality has been stolen from another person, Dennis decides to be himself from now on. He then subconsciously adopts the Irish brogue of the bartender serving him, who doesn't take too kindly to being imitated.
- River briefly takes on Badger's east-end accent in the Firefly episode "Shindig."
- Detective Jimmy McNulty trying to affect a British accent in a second-season episode of The Wire... which is humorous, because while the character is from Baltimore, actor Dominic West is British.
- Proposition Joe also pulls this off (and much more effectively) when he's calling around the Baltimore Police Department to try to find out information on Herc, using three different accents (one for each operator he speaks to).
- In the classic episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" from Star Trek: The Original Series, there is a moment where a Klingon mockingly imitates Scotty's accent:
Scotty: Laddie, don't you think you should... rephrase that?
Korax: [faint Scottish accent] You're right. I should. [No accent] I didn't mean to say the Enterprise should be hauling garbage. I meant to say the Enterprise should be hauled away as garbage!
- And in a Season 3 episode Nurse Chapel also makes a comment to Scotty while imitating his accent.
- Kirk imitated Scotty's accent once during the flight over to the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- Michael Westen of Burn Notice will quickly jump into an accent necessary to perform his spy game. Sometimes to imitate a foreigner like South African, but usually to maintain a sort of Obfuscating Stupidity by imitating Texan or deep Californian.
- And once ended up subverting the assumptions used in Obfuscating Stupidity by playing "Homer" as very clever Deep South white trash.
- He also uses an Irish accent briefly when Fiona's brother (and various other IRA folk) show up; they all know him by another, more Irish name. When he says "I'm in Miami now, I need to talk American" and drops the accent, the brother says something to the effect of "That accent is terrible."
- Top Gear: The three (British) presenters occasionally slip into Russian or German accents, usually when a car from that nation is up for review. The gefingerpoken flew especially thick and fast during a crossover with the hosts of German motoring show D Motor.
- Jeremy commonly does an American one whenever the US comes up (which succeeds in sounding like a mid-western American trying to imitate a southerner.)
- Supervillain Sylar on Heroes seems to have a knack for using fake accents to convince people he's someone that he's not.
- Played with to hilarious effect on Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Spike (a British character played by an American actor) at one point put on a terrible American accent and claimed to be Xander's cousin.
- In season two, Buffy briefly imitates Kendra's Jamaican accent.
- In an episode of Doctor Who, David Tennant appeared to slip from a fake Scottish accent into his "natural" English one. But, this was in fact the opposite.
- Likewise, Amy Pond imitates the Doctor's accent while reading his post-it notes in footage from the online History Hunt.
- The first time Amy meets the Doctor again as an adult, she puts on an English accent, so he doesn't work out she's the Scottish little girl he met (for her, 12 years ago, for him, less than a minute).
- In "Let's Kill Hitler" Rory imitates Amy's accent.
- "Clues? What clues?" (Complete with head bobble.)
- In the same episode where the Doctor "fakes" a Scottish accent, Rose tries to do the same... much worse. To the point where the Doctor tells her to just stop.
- The Cyber-Planner in "Nightmare in Silver" does the Ninth Doctor's northern accent (as well as his catchphrase of "fantastic!") while mocking some of the previous Doctors.
- In Dollhouse, when Victor is given the Lubov imprint, he uses a Russian accent. Not that he's aware of it.
- Same when Echo is given the imprint of a young Russian woman. And yes, she's horrible at it.
- Dexter had this to hilarious effect with Deb snarking her brother's girlfriend. "No, see, I made coffee, then I had a cup, and then Dex had a cup, and then I had another cup, and we kept having coffee like that (begin overexaggerated British accent)until the pot was empty." Textual descriptions scarcely do the scene justice - Jennifer Carpenter's wonderful sarcasm really has to be seen to be appreciated.
- Lovejoy when talking some ex-soviets into a deal.
Lovejoy: Because the customs man is, you know, one of us.
Tinker: I think he means "Bent"
Lovejoy: I prefer coor-ved.
- Done often in sketches of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Also often done very badly.
Greg: Oh, you're from another land?
- In Veronica Mars, Veronica has a knack for accents and vocal impressions, which she uses both to impersonate specific people on the phone and to assume personae in the flesh.
- Sherlock does this sometimes in the new BBC series, usually when putting on another persona to get something out of someone.
- In Modern Family, after Jay points out too many of Gloria's mispronunciations, she starts speaking in a stilted American accent to spite him.
- In another episode, Mitchel and Cameron try to get Lily into a prestigious preschool, and Cameron is so nervous about not being diverse enough to be accepted that he starts affecting a Native American accent, claiming that he's part Cherokee.
- In an episode of Leverage, "The Rashomon Job", the characters are telling stories that involve each other. Different characters' accents change based on who is narrating that scene, and eventually Sophie and Eliot devolve into mocking each others' accents (English and Southern, respectively).
- Sophie's accent, in particular, gets butchered by every other character, except for Nate.
Sophie: (to Hardison's impression of her) I sound like one of the dwarfs in Lord of the Rings.
- In How I Met Your Mother, Barney attempts to sound English to disguise the fact that he's interviewing himself on his video resume.
- After Lily watched a marathon of James Bond movies, she spoke in an English accent for a month. She was aiming for an upper crust accent, but came off sounding Cockney instead.
- In another episode, Lily adopts a ghetto accent and dialect whenever she's with her high school friend Michelle. Lily is completely unaware that she's doing this; that's just how she spoke as a teenager, and seeing someone she knew as a teenager brings back old habits.
- Beakman imitated the accent of the Famous Dead Guys he was disguised as...at least, the most stereotypical of them. For example, he did Alfred Nobel in a Swedish Chef-style lilt...and he even got his assistant doing it...
- On Parks and Recreation, Leslie did this while drunk:
- In the midst of an already hilarious ''Comic Relief'' sketch, Catherine Tate, while harassing David Tennant as an annoying student, briefly takes on his Scottish accent (which she had teased him about earlier).
- Ash Morgan, as fixer for the long con team in Hustle can sometimes get through half a dozen of these an episode as he short-cons his way through getting the team the cars, rooms, identifications, excuses and innumerable other things they need for their latest scam.
- In later seasons, Emma also shows a talent for this, doing the female voices that Ash cannot.
- In Friends, Ross quotes Emily, who is English, when talking to Monica. Monica quickly asks him to stop doing the accent.
- In an episode of House, Wilson puts on a (pretty good) English accent while pretending to be House's next-door neighbour as part of a Zany Scheme. Later, House phones Wilson and gives him a brief "Hellew, ewld chap!" Although Hugh Laurie's natural accent is very proper upper-class English, he delivers the line in a perfect imitation of the typical terrible attempt at an upper-class English accent often used by American actors.
- Seinfeld: Jerry goes into a Cockney accent ("Nawt blooody LOIKE-ly!"). Kramer thinks it's lousy, but his own attempt is just as bad.
- In The Big Bang Theory, imitating Raj's Indian accent is attempting by a good deal of the cast, memorably by Howard once when pretending to BE Raj and coming across sounding "like a Simpsons character." Penny also imitated his accent when trying to wonder what made him think rooming with Sheldon would be a good idea "Krishna, I got to get me some of that!" Raj himself has been shown practicing an American accent, once making fun of Leonard and another time not wanting to sound like he is making fun of tech support when calling them.
- An episode of Scrubs has JD and Turk told about an unconscious man being brought by his brother from Ireland. Turns out that the "brother" is played by Colin Farrell. When they ask if he's really from Ireland, he tells them (in an American accent) that he's from Boston. A few seconds later, he breaks out the brogue and psychs them.
- In That '70s Show, Eric tries to mock his (female) teacher by pitching his voice high. Hyde mockingly claims that he couldn't tell it was an imitation, since (he claims) that was how Eric usually sounds.
- Murr from Impractical Jokers does this with a stereotypical Jamaican accent to a shoe-store customer.
- QI: Happens on occasion, such as one where Lee Mack mocks the Scots then asks what they thought of his Scottish accent (David Tennant: "Oh, was that a Scottish accent?"), and another where Alan Davies puts on a heavy mock-Mexican accent when discussing the Aztecs, after which Stephen points out that the Aztec society in question was before the Spanish colonization.
- Robert McCall (The Equalizer) once puts on a NooYawk accent for comedic effect when repeating to a colleague what a very rude and unhelpful New Yorker he was interviewing for information said to him.
- When Todd In The Shadows reviewed Pitbull's "Give Me Everything", he asked why Ne-Yo speaks "Let's do it tonight" in an Australian accent. (Todd even speculated it would be "Let's do it to annoy...")
- Roger Miller sang about the fun of a trip to England in "England Swings" - "Try to mock/the way they talk/fun but all in vain"
- The opening of the second act of One Touch of Venus has this as a throwaway gag: a maid walks onto the scene and gushes in a fake Irish brogue. Molly, annoyed, asks the maid where she's from. She answers, "Council Bluffs, Iowa, but the employment agency recommends a touch of dialect."
- In Of Thee I Sing, Wintergreen and Mary make preposterous attempts at imitating Diana Devereaux's Southern accent in their meeting scene.
Wintergreen: Down Carolina way we're all a-crazy about good looking gals, but we-all don't like 'em talking that-a-way.
Mary: How do you-all like 'em to talk, sure enough?
Wintergreen (abandoning the accent): Say, that's terrible, isn't it? If she wins would I have to listen to that all the time?
- In The Man Who Came To Dinner, Beverly does an excellent imitation of the stuttering, "very British" speech of an Upper Class Twit by the name of Lord Cedric Bottomley.
- In the Zero Punctuation Tales Of Monkey Island review, Yahtzee does part of the review in "A ridiculous oirish accent".
- He later did his Far Cry 2 review in a South African accent.
- And again in BioShock-related reviews, poking fun at Atlus's accent whenever he says "sploicers"
- In Homestuck, Kanaya claims to have done this during an instant-message conversation with Eridan. She also does it in text, by imitating Eridan's typing quirk.
GA: Has It Occurred To You She May Have Blocked You Because You Are Vvery Ovverbearing
GA: I Just Said That Aloud Now In Your Silly Accent And Had A Private Moment Of Enjoyment
- Whateley Universe, "Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy", when Tennyo tries a bad Australian accent a la Steve Irwin:
Tennyo: Crikey, she’s a byoo-tee! Looka the choppers on ‘er! Tonoit we’re jes gonna watch Ol’ Killer Goodkind as she stalks the wild Chaka in its native habitat. The shoe store. When...
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Man mocks supervillain Shocker's accent in this way. He has good reason to, because while Shocker's real name may be Montana (he's the Enforcer by that name, rather than Herman Schultz as in the comics), he sounds more like your stereotypical Texan.
- Parodied on The Simpsons where Bart mentions in a Cockney accent that he's going to become a chimney sweep, only to have Homer object that "No son of mine is going to be a 19th century stereotype."
- "Y'mean it ain't me noggin, it's me peepers? Well, that's just luverly!"
- Bart also adopts an old prospector accent when making fun of Homer's barbershop quartet. "That ain't been popular since aught-six, consarnit!"
- Avatar The Last Airbender: Zuko does this on a couple of occasions when imitating Iroh, whether wondering what Iroh would do or trying (and failing) to tell a joke. Especially odd because Iroh is one of the few characters on the show that does not have an American accent.
- On The Penguins of Madagascar, Marlene imitates King Julien's accent while offering him a drinking cup of himself as a replacement crown.
- In Sam And Max Freelance Police, Max's voice actor was a great impressionist and so did this a lot, dropping into hillbilly accents or doing impressions of famous people apropos of nothing. It worked with the character well enough that the creator, Steve Purcell, worked it back into Max's canonical character. The entire purpose of the ventriloquist dummy in The Devil's Playhouse, for instance, is to make him do this, although Sam complains that he makes Scottish Grandpa Stinky sound like 'an Irish pirate'.
- While listening to his British WWI-veteran valet and a war buddy plan a defense of his apartment involving Lewis and Vickers machine guns, Archer shouts (in an English accent) "Mustard Gas! Zeppelins! No, we're not doing that."
- This is a habit of Mr. Towes from My Life Me. Often it doesn't even seem to have any relevance to whatever he's talking about. It seems like his voice actor's just having fun.
- The Marx Brothers grew up in a poor part of Manhattan, in and around 1900. Since the area was dominated by Irish and Italian immigrants (the Marxes were of European Jewish descent), Chico taught himself to fake an Italian or Irish accent so he'd be able to pass as a member of either group at need.
- John Barrowman adopted an American accent when his family moved to the United States when he was a child, and uses that accent as his default. On occasion, he has been known to accidentally slip back into his original Scottish accent, such as in the Torchwood outtakes.
- He also uses his native Scottish accent with his family.
- There is a real life phenomenon where a person will, upon talking to someone who speaks with an accent, will unknowingly and reflexively begin mimicking that accent. When it is pointed out, the person will invariably begin speaking again in their own accent... but if they continue to speak to the person with the accent will inevitably begin mimicking again. Psychologists and linguists still have no idea why this happens.
- Talk Like A Pirate Day.