Alex: Are there other people in your family who are considered fast talkers?
Fran Capo Answer: No. I always joke though that my sister, who taught herself how to speak 3 languages speaks them slow, so to make up for it, I speak one, really fast.
Alex: You are the official – Guinness World Records acknowledged – fastest-talking female, having broken the record twice. Is your current record speaking 603.32 words in 54.2 seconds?
Fran Capo: Yes. I broke the first record, 585 worlds per minute on The Larry King Live Show (CNN) on March 4, 1986. I broke the second record, 603.32wpm on June 5th, 1990 at the Guinness Museum in Las Vegas.
Alex: To become the world’s fastest talking female, how did you train/practice for it?
Fran Capo: I had a teacher in the sixth grade that would always ask you questions on the spot and get you nervous. So I used fast-talking as a way to answer this. Like if he said, “Who was the 14th President?? I’d rattle off, Lincoln, Washington, Pierce…you figure it out?” The class laughed and I figured 1 out of 3 was a good shot.
The thing is, becoming a fast talker was never really a conscious decision on my part. I was working at a radio station, WBLS in NYC doing comedy bits. Joking around I said, “I could do a really cool Mae West Impression, but that I called the character, June East, (Mae’s long lost sister.) The DJ, flung the weather and traffic copy at me and I went on air for 30 seconds. A reporter from the Daily News happened to be listening and was doing a story on weather and traffic people. She called and asked me how long I had been doing it. I wasn’t going to say, “30 seconds”, so I said, “Oh a while.”
Then she asked what I was planning on doing next. I didn’t have a next but I had on the line from the Newspaper so I said, “Oh I’m thinking of breaking a world record.” She asked, “For what?” But I couldn’t tell her, because at that moment I didn’t know. I told her I’d call her back. I ran out, bought a Guinness Book looked at all the world records and saw fast-talking. Since people always told me I talked fast I figured, what the heck, I’ll go for that. I called her back and told her. She asked, “Well what’s the present record at?” I said, “552 words per minute.” She said, “And what are you at?” I said, “550, those last two words are a killer.” She printed it in the paper and the very next day the Larry King Live people called me and asked me to go on their show and break the record. At first I didn’t even know who Larry King was. I heard cable, and I thought, “Is this some kind of porn?” She said, ‘No honey this is a national show.”
So I figured what the heck, what’s the worst that can happen? The worst is that I look like a fool on national TV and the best, I break a world record. I gave it a shot. I called Guinness they said to break the record I had to read something from Shakespeare or the bible. Me and Shakespeare never got along, so I chose a psalm from the bible. The Larry King live people told me they’d have a limo at my house in 5 hours. So for 5 hours I practiced and practiced, making sure I enunciated every single word, having my dad time me to the 100th of a second. I broke the record then on his show doing 585wpm on March 5th, 1986.
Read the rest of Fran’s Invterview at Celebrity English