At a time when there’s an ever-increasing number of ways to connect with people – phone call, text, WhatsApp, Skype, social media…), the answerphone message is something of an outdated art. But it is an art – or it can be, as depicted on various TV shows, films, and chat shows over the year. To celebrate Inane Answering Message Day (30th January), we’ve compiled some of the most iconic answerphone messages from popular culture.
Can’t Hurry Love
Deciding what you want your outgoing message to be might be harder than it looks, as shown in this scene from 90s sitcom Can’t Hurry Love. It is, after all, your poem to the universe (apparently). Succinct and professional or flirty and thriving? The choice is yours (or, as we see here, whichever friend manages to get hold of your voicemail settings).
Recording your outgoing message can, of course, go horribly wrong, like in this from hit US series, Supernatural. Follow the direction your voicemail gives you and remember that you are being recorded and this response will be played to people when they reach your answerphone. See the message here.
Of course, you could always opt for a celebrity voice for your outgoing message. A quick search on the internet will bring up ready-to-use messages in the style of Batman, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Neeson (a la Taken). There’s also this: a note of positivity from none other than Samuel L. Jackson. See the message here.
Perhaps one of the most iconic outgoing messages is from the celebrated sitcom, Seinfeld. George Costanza goes big (and stays home), listening to his answerphone pick up messages after his outgoing message plays in song. Upbeat, engaging, amusing, and contagious, this is a hook that’ll have anyone who calls humming long after they hear it. Bonus points to actress Kat Dennings, who after years of using this song as her outgoing message got Jason Alexander to record her a personalised version. See the message here.
Recording your outgoing message as music does have to require a backing track, as this scene from Frasier shows. Smart and silly in equal measure, this outgoing message repurposes an iconic melody to make leaving an answerphone message as entertaining as much as it is serving an actual purpose. See the message here.
Then again, you could always opt for realism, as this scene from Wedding Crashers shows. Does your outgoing message really matter? After all, text messages are easier than answerphone messages anyway, right? See the message here.
It’s not just deciding what you want your outgoing message to be that might prove harder than it looks. Leaving messages can be a struggle too. Just take a look at this scene from Community, in which Troy and Jeff try to leave Abed a voicemail saying Troy will meet him in ten minutes. Maybe it is easier to just send a text after all, huh? See the message here.
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