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Do I Really Sound Like That?
George: Why won't the doors lock?
X: Because I've taken control of the lab's computer systems. I also have control of the intercom system. Listen. "Attention all robots! This is George. Please come to the training room. X has something cool to show you."
George: Wow, do I really sound that nasally?

Alice encounters a doppelgänger or a recording of herself and is shocked as to the style of speech she uses, and how stupid it sounds, and inquires of her friends as to whether she really sounds like that.

Truth in Television. We hear our own voices through our own ears, which are interrupted by our brains' perception and we often perceive it as different than it really is and are surprised by the real thing. Part of this is because your voice reverberates through your own skull, making it sound deeper.

Compare with Reality Is Unrealistic.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Meru from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei stopped talking after some boys made fun of her voice, and she recorded her voice to hear what it sounded like. She was so shocked, she started communicating via text messages. Abusive Text Messages.

    Comics 
  • Robot Thor frequently repeats "Please tell me I don't sound like that." upon meeting the real Thor in The Ultimates Volume 3.
  • A The Far Side cartoon had two scrawny geeks listening to a tape-recorder: "Does my voice really sound that funny?"
  • In an early issue of Daredevil, Foggy Nelson impersonates Daredevil to impress Karen Page as the real DD looks on. Matt reacts to Foggy's attempts to sound like Daredevil with disdain. "Now there's a remark worthy of Spider-Man! I wonder if I sound that cornball?" Later, after realizing he actually does sound as silly as Foggy sometimes, he says "from now on I'm the old-fashioned strong, silent type crimefighter."

    Films — Animation 
  • Toy Story 2: Buzz encounters another Buzz who believes himself to be the real Buzz.
    Buzz 2: All Rangers are to be in hypersleep until awoken by authorized personel!
    Buzz 1: Tell me I wasn't this deluded.
  • A variation from The Emperor's New Groove: Yzma has been turned into a fluffy little cat and reacts to her voice sounding higher with "Is that my voice? Is that... my voice?!"
    • Of course, she is played by Eartha Kitt...
    • Apparently, this was Eartha's reaction when she heard what cat! Ysma's voice sounded like. They threw it in.
  • Inverted in Hoodwinked. Twitchy (Cory Edwards) is high on coffee and has to speak into a tape deck, which is played back at quarter speed to make it intelligible. His voice sounds just like Cory Edwards. Twitchy puts on a rather impressed, suave expression on hearing it.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training Ahmad cringes at watching himself give a quite respectable interview to at TV news reporter
  • Noteworthy variant in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Hermione gets a look at her past self:
    Hermione: Does my hair really look like that from the back?
  • In The 13th Warrior, as Ibn Fadlan is learning the Norse language, he catches the end of one viking doing an impression of another, to which the other says "I don't sound like that" in the exact same voice.
  • This sound test for Alfred Hitchcock 's "Blackmail"
  • A variation happens in Super Troopers, when Farva quotes O'Hagan's favorite expression in the same fake Irish accent. The (drunk) O'Hagan asks the other cops if he really sounds like that. Their expressions are priceless, as they try to come up with a good answer, especially since they're all pretty wasted.
    Rod Farva: [terrible Irish accent] I'll believe that when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet.
  • A variation from Casablanca; when Rick Blaine reads Major Strausser's dossier on him, he asks, "Are my eyes really brown?"

    Literature 
  • In the first book of The Thrawn Trilogy, Threepio's voice is modded to sound like Leia's so that he can act as a decoy. Leia herself, listening to him, wonders the phrase of this trope.
  • Emma Bull's War for the Oaks has the heroine under a spell that removes all glamours. A side-effect is that she can hear her voice as she sounds to other people, which is a bit disorienting.
  • In The Tamuli series by David Eddings, Sparhawk has this reaction when they magically disguise Berit as Sparhawk.
  • There is a novel (name escapes this troper) about the Communist-Nationalist war in China. One of the rebels produces a recording of another and plays it for him. The other character, who is unfamiliar with records, refuses to believe that it is his own voice, until the first rebel explains why this is the case.
  • In one of the Red Dwarf books Rimmer recalls being horrified at hearing his own voice on an answering machine, as he learned that what he'd imagined to be a clear and proper voice of command proved to be a heavily accented mumbling. He's remembering this because of meeting a hologram of himself, and seeing his own mannerisms and personality from the outside is 1000 times worse.

    Live Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: "Ready, Aim, Marry Me" Michael asks Tobias to record and listen to his own voice in order to hear himself. Tobias does notice something unusual in his style of speech but still manages to completely miss the point.
    • Specifically, Michael wanted Tobias to notice that almost everything he says is an Un Entendre. Instead, he realizes he sounds conceited. As an added bonus, his reaction to this realization is itself an Un Entendre: "Tobias, you blowhard!"
  • Lois and Clark episode "Virtually Destroyed": Clark is bemused by the Virtual Superman's style of speech, using cheesy terms like "Good Day Citizens!" and asks Lois if he really talks like that.
  • Lampshaded mercilessly on Friends. Ross starts insulting Russ's diction, totally unaware that Russ speaks exactly as he does (if a bit more exaggerated). The others are clearly trying their best not to break out in guffaws, but Chandler manages to calmly ask whether that's annoying. Cue Ross using exactly the same diction to reply "... Yeah!"
  • The West Wing: "Anyone else do a good Bartlet?"
  • Another variant in MST 3 K, "Invasion of the Neptune Men".
    Mike: [as Japanese scientist looking at blurry photo] Is that really what I look like?
  • On one episode of MythBusters, Grant recorded the "Coming up on Mythbusters!" pre-commercial thing on one of the oldest voice recording machines, and after hearing it played back asked if he really sounded like that. Then the next several things he said were all in a deliberately deeper voice.
  • Averted in an episode of Get Smart, when Sigfried has captured Max to replace him with a duplicate (also played by Don Adams). Max remains calm until the duplicate demonstrates he's also got the voice down.
    Max: They'll never fall for it, Sigfried. He may look like me, but I have a very distinct and unique voice!
    Fake Max: You hear that, Sigfried? He has a very distinct and unique voice!
  • The visual variant shows up in Doctor Who's 2011 Comic Relief special, with Amy Pond.
    Amy 1: Do I really look like that?
    Amy 2: Yeah. Yeah, you do.
    Amy 1: Mmm... I'd give you a driver's licence.
    Amy 2: I'll bet you would.
  • In The Nanny, Fran usually seemed absolutely oblivious to her nasal goose-honk like voice. One time, when hearing herself on TV, she said there must be something wrong with the set because sounded so nasal. However, later, when she's trying to climb out of a stuck elevator, she screams.
    Fran: Oh, my God.
    Max: What is it, another rat?
    Fran: No, there's an echo in here. I just heard my own voice.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory Bernadette has become tired of hearing about Howard's trip to space and suggests he find something else to talk about, later he tries to bring it up at a Halloween party but he's afraid she'll tell him to stop and he gets upset, when she asks him what's wrong he responds while mocking her high pitched voice and she replies in a completely different voice "I don't sound like that!".
  • Supernatural. When Sam meets his soulless self in a Battle in the Center of the Mind, Soulless!Sam asks if he's really that gawky.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Edge and Randy Orton impersonated D-Generation X, Orton (playing Shawn Michaels) imitated Michaels' "dancing" to the ring. When the real DX came out, the first thing Michaels says to Triple H is "You gotta tell me: do I really look that stupid?" HHH's reply? "Shawn, I'm not gonna lie to ya. (to Edge and Orton) What's with you guys?"

    Radio 
  • In a Z100 Phone Tap, a woman yelled a lot of insults and curses, then hung up. Then the radio hosts called back and played back a recording of her very same yelling. It was hilarious as she didn't realize that she was arguing with, well, herself.
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who episode Caerdroia, the Doctor gets a Literal Split Personality and comments that he thought he was taller, which doesn't really make much sense, despite being rather funny and endearing because he really isn't all that tall. (As far as playing this trope straight goes, the three versions all speak quite differently)

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect
    • During Thane's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2, Captain Bailey mentions that there's a Shepard VI—and you get to see it in Mass Effect 3. It's an exaggerated version of Shepard's canon "personality" - the Paragon version is ridiculously cheery and gung-ho, while the Renegade version suggests you tear it out of its socket and run off if you can't pay.
      Paragon VI: There's nothing in this galaxy we can't beat if we work together! [beat] Except the Reapers. Ever seen the size of one of those things?
      Renegade VI: I find the best advanced battlefield strategy is to have more bullets than the other guy.
      Shepard: I don't really sound like that...do I?
    • The Citadel DLC mission takes this one step further - the villain is an evil clone who borrows Shepard's infamous "I should go" before sealing the team in a vault. Guess what Shepard's biggest concern is?
      Shepard: Do I sound like that?
      Liara: I think it was one of the first things you said to me.
      Shepard: How come nobody told me about this before?! I'm open to feedback here!
      Liara: You could try "I'll be seeing you." That might spice things up.
    • If EDI and Wrex are present during that scene, EDI will claim that she's heard Shepard utter those words 216 times since she first met them in the second game, while Wrex claims to have been under the impression that "I should go" was some kind of traditional farewell amongst humans.
    • If Garrus is present, he'll admit he doesn't have much room to criticise after being told how often he uses the word "calibrations".
  • In one of Max Payne's drug-induced dreams, he gets a phone call from himself, where the other him is firing off an really off-color Private Eye Monologue. Max never realizes that it is himself talking, and thinking it is a load of gibberish he dismisses it as a prank call, but he still can't help but get a nagging sense that the caller sounded familiar.

    Western Animation 
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Persona":
    Chameleon Spider-Man: How 'bout a taste of Spider-PUNCH!
    Spider-Man: Please tell me I don't sound like that, or at least that I offer a higher-quality quip.
  • Invader Zim had Dib comment on how boring his explanations are when he meets a future version of himself. Played with in that it's actually Zim talking through a robot duplicate. He even lapses into his usual speech patterns at one point.
  • Transformers Animated
    • In the episode "Along Came a Spider": Sari dresses up as Optimus for Halloween.
      Sari: Oh look at me, I'm Optimus Prime, I'm scared of spiders.
      Optimus: That's not what I sound like.... Is it?
    • Then she can't resist borrowing his "Transform and roll out".
  • South Park: After a dragon is summoned from everyone overusing the word "shit", it sounds exactly like Cartman.
    Cartman: Man, that voice is lame.
  • Futurama, "A Head in the Polls": Nixon hears a recording of himself and says...
    Nixon: My god, do I really sound like that? I thought my voice had more of a Clark Gable quality!
  • Family Guy
    • Lois hears her own voice when she speaks into a microphone.
      Lois: Oh God, is that my voice? God, it's all whiny and nasally and... egh.
    • In an earlier episode, Lois has this reaction when she sees Fran Drescher playing her in a reality show based on the Griffins.
      Fran: [as Lois] Oh Peter, you promised you wouldn't drink at the stag party. Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe...
      Lois: Ugh, I do not sound like that!
  • The Simpsons
    • Marge.
      Marge: Testing, 1, 2, 3... oh my! Do I sound like that?
    • And again with Homer in another episode. Bart tells him his voice sounds perfect for a cartoon, and...
      Bart: Haven't you ever listened to your own voice?
      Homer: No.
      Bart: Here, speak into this. (pulls out a tape-recorder)
      Homer: (into the microphone) Hi. This is Homer Simpsons saying hello to all you ladies in Springfield. (Bart rewinds and plays the recording) AAH!
    • They also subverted it in one episode, where Bart plays a recording of a "conversation" he "had" with "Marge" (it was Bart doing both the voices, poorly imitating his mother's) about whether Otto could live in their garage.
      Homer: Marge, how could you?!
      Marge: That's not my voice!
      Homer: Oh, everyone says that when they hear themselves on tape!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    Zuko: They make me look totally stiff and humorless.
    Katara: Actually, I think that actor's pretty spot-on.
    Zuko: How could you say that!?
    Actor!Iroh: Let's forget about the Avatar, and get massages!
    Actor!Zuko: HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT!?
    • Subverted with Toph, who finds the depiction of herself as a deep-voiced macho man very flattering.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation CGI parody Sev Trek: Pus in Boots, Lieutenant Barf is impersonated by a shapeshifting Alien of the Week who he takes on in a dramatic batleth duel while exchanging the usual insults and puns. Later Barf pours out his troubles to the ship's counselor.
    Barf: To destroy myself in combat brings me dishonour as a Klingoff warrior. And does my voice really sound that funny?

    Real Life 
  • In addition to the obvious pitch changes, it appears that you don't notice your own accent when speaking normally, but you do when you hear yourself in a recording.
  • Sometimes band singers are actually advised not to listen to themselves in recording, because being self-conscious of one's voice can throw off the song horribly when the singer tries to compensate for something like an accent or percieved nasality (or even for something like a key change that actually enhances the song) or even leave the singer unable to sing in fear of how awful they "really" sound.
    • This is a problem for especially beginning singers, and not primarily because of what they "really" sound like, but for getting past the fear of what one really sounds like. This can be difficult, especially if surrounded by people who are convinced there is only one sound a "real singer" can have or being stuck in a genre focused on absolute vocal perfectionism (e.g. opera, a capella singing).
  • Allegedly, regarding the voice actors' impersonations of them in Yellow Submarine, each of The Beatles believed that his own voice was slightly off, but the other three were perfect imitations.
  • This was a variation on Ventrilo Harassment called Nerd Confusion, where the soundboard was stocked with recordings of the occupants of the channel. Shit, as they say, was so cash.
  • The actual Dom once blogged on the MegaTokyo website that having appeared once on Jeopardy!, he could never watch the tape because his recorded voice disturbs him too much.
  • C. S. Lewis once noted his dismay, upon first hearing a recording of himself, at realizing that his Ulster brogue had faded during his years in England.
  • According to this interview, the voice actress Andrea Libman, most recently known for her role as Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy in the My Little Pony reboot My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, isn't very fond of listening to her own voice.

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