Bad Lip Reading and Other Illusions

There’s a YouTube channel devoted to doing “bad lip-reading” – basically, taking video clips of public personas and re-dubbing them. The name is misleading, though, because it’s actually quite good. I laughed really hard all the way through this Mitt Romney video:

Because the voiceover is matched so perfectly, I find it surprisingly easy to trick myself into believing that Mitt is actually saying those words. It reminds me of some other cool audio illusions we’ve talked about here on Skepchick and over on Mad Art Lab. For instance, the “fa fa fa/ba ba ba” illusion known as the McGurk Effect:

There’s also the hilarious illusion that is auditory paredolia, which we covered before on Skepchick (thanks to Elyse for reminding me of this!) by way of this video of a less-than-articulate Joe Cocker:

Which is similar to the “Oh Fortuna” oldie but goodie (recently animated!):

Any other funny audio illusions? Share them in the comments!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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  1. September 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm —

    He’ll CHOP A SQUID?

    All right, he just lost my vote.

  2. September 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm —

    Say it ain’t so, PZ. I always figured you for a solid Romney vote, come hell or high water.

    • September 11, 2012 at 4:19 am —

      I’m guessing PZ is firmly in the high water camp rather than hell.
      a) It’s way more likely than hell, what with global warming and all…
      b) More habitat for all those cephalopods.

      PS: With global warming, maybe it’s even hell AND high water.. ;)

  3. September 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm —

    When I first heard the song “If I can be like that” by 3 Doors Down on the radio I heard “F*** me like that” I spent the whole time trying to figure out what they were really saying cause there is no way they would play it clearly on the radio. Every single time, “F*** me like that.” I had to ask someone else before I could hear it correctly.

  4. September 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm —

    Call the whippet badger!

  5. September 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm —

    OMG I just laughed so hard my abs hurt and my office mates are all coming over to see what’s going on.
    I guess it made more sense than what Romney really says sometimes.

  6. September 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm —

    “I’ll punch you in the back.” — So Mitt’s budget details finally come out.

  7. September 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm —

    This “Benny Lava” video made the rounds a couple of years back, but it demonstrates the same effect. It has subtitles in English of what the poster thinks is being said in a Bollywood style video.

  8. September 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm —

    Mine is from “Love – Building on Fire” by the Talking Heads. The line is “love, love is simple as 1, 2, 3,” but since the first time I heard the song, I always hears “love, love is syphilis, 1, 2, 3.”

  9. September 11, 2012 at 3:30 am —

    This reminds me of Hyakugojyuuichi, a video made by an online acquaintance of mine. Japanese lyrics “re-heard” as English words, to hilarious effect.

  10. September 11, 2012 at 8:32 am —

    My favourite, although it’s old, is Nightwish’s Hamster A Dentist

  11. September 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm —

    You have ruined Oh Fortuna for me! That cracked me up. :)

  12. September 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm —

    thanks for this

    the Mcgurk effect has made me scared to leave the house ,could that be the same effect as that thing M shermer did with the led zep # on that ted talk?

    and if Mitt had said just one of those things
    I would have voted for him ,as it is, what he says at the moment makes less sense

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