City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Talking in the third person

Rodney Ho has decided that talking in third person is deeply amusing, especially from politicians and athletes and even the occasional puppet.

hullinger-bio719aOn Live Apartment Fire, WXIA-TV reporter Jeff Hullinger (right) mused about how Gubernatorial candidates Nathan Deal and John Oxendine were prone to talking about themselves using their own names rather than “I.”

I’m certain I’ve interviewed celebrities before who have referred to themselves this way but sadly, I can’t recall.

Bob Dole is one of the most famous politicians to employ this, to the point of self parody. A bit from a 1988 Time magazine story:

As Dole toured the South late last week, he seemed depressed and distracted. His press entourage had dwindled. Rally crowds were thin. In a Florida address, the ordinarily aggressive Senator was on the defensive. “Whatever you see on TV ads, Bob Dole is not going to raise taxes,” he said, once again employing the third-person syntax that is beginning to sound like self-parody. “Bob Dole has never raised taxes.”

This classic “Seinfeld” episode lampooned third person references with the character Jimmy inspiring Elaine and George to start doing it, too.

Rickey Henderson, the Hall of Fame baseball player, used to talk in third person but excused himself by saying he was sometimes just talking to himself:

A sample quote: A reporter asked Henderson if Ken Caminiti’s estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids was accurate. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”

Elmo does it, too. And the Muppet tweeted about it earlier this year:

“Someone just told Elmo yesterday was Talk in Third Person Day. Elmo doesn’t know what that is but it sounds fun. Can Elmo play?”

6 comments Add your comment


July 21st, 2010
4:32 pm

JTesla thinks every day should be Talk in Third Person Day, except Talk like a Pirate Day which would be Talk like a Third Person Pirate.

Nelson Goss Turner

July 21st, 2010
5:08 pm

Great article Rodney and Jeff. I miss Bob Dole and he sure was the one I remember with the “third person” speak. Cracks me up to this day and I still use it for emphasis, ie, “I don’t like well done burgers, Bob Dole doesn’t like well done burgers so nobody likes well done burgers”……..or something like that. Great memories in this article. Thanks Guys and keep up the great work…………..Nelson

Jon Lester

July 21st, 2010
5:54 pm

Patrick Stewart goes in and out of it in interviews sometimes, depending on his workload at the time, but at least he’s never aspired to serve in elected office.


July 21st, 2010
11:02 pm

jarvis was always amused by Rickey.

Rodney Ho Moe

July 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

Rodney Ho Moe loves him some sweaty blacks men


July 23rd, 2010
12:47 am

Is Rodney a homo? Or does he simply play a Filipino boy to make some extra bucks?