Laurel or Yanny: Meet the voice actor behind the viral clip

'Gotham' / Warner Bros. Television Distribution

If you were on the internet at all last week, you likely heard about the “Laurel vs. Yanny” debate, sparked by the viral audio clip that was dividing the nation.

It all started when an audio clip of the word “Laurel” being pronounced on began circulating on social media. Some people were sure they clearly heard “Laurel,” while others were sure the word being said was “Yanny.”

Now, the man who voiced the clip has spoken out on how he feels about the controversy. Jay Aubrey Jones says he finds the whole thing pretty funny — and that he was definitely saying “Laurel.” Listen to the clip to decide for yourself:

The debate was reminiscent of “The Dress” debacle in 2015, in which a photo of a dress — that some saw as blue and black, and others saw as white and gold — went viral.

For the record, the dress was actually blue and black, and there is a fairly complicated scientific explanation as to why some people saw it as gold and white. Here’s a photo of the dress posted by Twitter user Chris Ramsay:

Once again, science was able to explain the phenomenon in the case of Laurel vs. Yanny, and the way you hear it depends on factors like pitch and frequency.

For his part, when Jones first heard the now-viral clip, he told New York’s WNBC-TV that he didn’t actually recognize his own voice. The actor had recorded himself saying “Laurel,” along with around 36,000 other words and phrases, for the online dictionary more than 10 years ago.

Jones, who has appeared in Broadway shows as well as on TV shows like Fox’s “Gotham,” is not sure how his newfound viral fame will impact his career, but he’s glad to be a part of it. Listen to him talking to Time about realizing his voice was at the center of an internet sensation:

“Now I have to go onto IMDB to see how it’s listed so I can put it on my hardcopy resume,” he told WNBC. “I’m thrilled this is causing such recognition and such debate on how we hear and perceive things.”

Curiosity, Entertainment

About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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