You might not have to ride public transit to work right now, but if you’re one of the many workers who still commutes in New York City (or if you’re someone like me who fantasizes about their old commute), you’ll now have some new celebrity voice talent to keep you company on your bus or subway ride, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced Friday.
Normal transit announcements can easily fade in the back of riders’ minds. They’re either too garbled to be understood or you’ve heard them so many times that they don’t even register. But that might be different if, say, Whoopi Goldberg was the one reminding you to wear a mask on the bus.
At least that’s a theoretical benefit of the MTA’s new announcements rolling out today, created in partnership with director and Instagram star Nicolas Heller (@newyorknico). There are 25 “iconic New Yorkers” set to speak over the intercom on New York City transit, so if Whoopi isn’t your speed, Jerry Seinfeld is reading some announcements, too, as are Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson from Broad City, Edie Falco from The Sopranos, rappers Cam’ron and Jadakiss, and someone who’s been having a bit of a moment lately, Fran Lebowitz.
Getting celebrities to read reminders to wear masks and social distance may not be the best use of the MTA’s resources or time, but according to what Heller told the New York Post, “there was no budget for this.” So whether it’s a charming commute distraction or yet another reason to put in your headphones, at least Awkwafina reminding you to wear a mask didn’t cost taxpayers anything. In fact, the project produced some real gems:
Ey yo check it out it’s Harlem’s own Killa Cam. Look—I don’t care if you from uptown, downtown, Harlem, Switzerland, wherever. I don’t care if you a chicken or a duck. And you know what? Covid don’t care either. Are you wearin’ a mask? Ya, well is it covering your mouth and nose? Then good, you’re doing great. Remember not only wearin’ a mask is the law—it’s the right thing to do.