The TLC’s latest “Talking Taxi” series features Yankee Paul O’Neill, the Muppet Elmo, and the Rockettes. Here, the deputy commissioner for public affairs, who’s responsible for the buckle-up-for-safety recordings, defends his actions.
Q: Well, what do you have to say for yourself?
A: I’m proud to do something that adds to taxi riders’ safety. It might not be popular with everybody, but I think it’s a real service.
Q: Cab owners are required to pay $75 for the basic device, and $5 to $10 for every set of new messages. Do you think that’s fair?
A: Safety enhancements are an accepted cost of doing business in this or any industry – it is absolutely fair.
Q: Which is your favorite recording?
A: Eartha Kitt. That was my best writing.
Q: Elmo has quite a rep as a diva. Was he difficult to work with?
A: No, Elmo was a complete pro. I’ve taken to calling him “One-Take Elmo.”
Q: What’s the most bizarre thing that’s happened during a recording?
A: We were with Adam West at the bar of the Parker Meridien. The piano player went on duty, so we ended up recording in the men’s room.
Q: Eew. Who’s your dream celeb?
A: Neil Armstrong.
Q: What would his script say?
A: Hmm. “Buckling your seat belt may be one small step for a passenger, but it’s one giant leap for safety.”
Q: You’re good. Do you always buckle up?
A: Yes, I do.