I admit it – I am scared of some dog people.
I never understood the people who talked to their dog until I became one. It seemed silly to say whole sentences aloud to a dog, since they don’t understand words beyond the basic commands. I quickly realized that we’re not talking to our dogs. We’re talking to ourselves and our dogs happen to be there. I find that walking my dog is very therapeutic, and so talking to her is more me just getting my thoughts out than trying to carry on a conversation.
I never understood the people who talked for their dog until I became one. It seemed silly to act as if a dog has human thoughts, since their thoughts are mainly to eat, sleep, and shit. I hope that most humans think beyond that. But I quickly realized that it is funny to extrapolate on a dog’s actions, and I often do it to entertain my wife. I will say things like “Bea must be plotting how to keep us awake tonight” knowing full well that Bea keeps us awake just by instinct.
But I will never, ever understand people who talk as their dog.
My publicist recently sent out a message to some dog blogs announcing that I have one of my own, and set up a few interviews. It will be fun for me to talk to other dog owners, and it’s a good way to get the word out that I’ve become one. Most replied with friendly “welcome to the team” type messages, and some kind words about my writing and or standup. But a few replied as if they were actually dogs.
Yes, I know that many people write blogs from their dog’s perspective. It’s cute, and no stranger than when the Bronx Zoo cobra had a twitter account. But when someone can’t even answer an email as a human being, that starts to scare me.
I get playing a character – I’m a comedian after all. But you don’t have to stay in character when it’s completely inappropriate. Do you think Sascha Baron Cohen talks to his agent as if he’s Borat? No – because that would be terrible for business. And when he’s done with his art, he becomes himself again.
The emails were also not addressed to the dogs – they were addressed to the people running the blogs. So it wouldn’t even be breaking character to answer them as people. But even if you’re playing a dog, be true to the character. What is the character you’ve built? A dog who can use a computer? If so, you’ve got way more important things to write about than what you’ve been eating. Like how you learned to use a computer.
But the tops for me is the one that wrote back in broken/simplified English – as if the dog can speak English, just not that well. Ahh, theatre.
By the way, if this applies to you, don’t get all offended. Bea was the one who wrote it anyway.