This weekend the film Lucy will be released with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman – and this week, Freeman has promoted the film with helium. He’s also promoted his TV show Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. That’s where Jimmy Fallon got the idea to have a Morgan Freeman on helium segment for The Tonight Show.
What you’re going to see here is mostly a chat between Fallon and Morgan speaking about how they’re going to do the helium bit. It’s only the last minute or so that they actually inhale the gas. Watch the full clip anyway, it’s worth the giggles you’ll get.
You’ll also see Morgan Freeman on helium in the following clip. Here he’s actually doing the show segment that inspired the segment above. Watch out for silliness.
For those of you wishing to know how helium changes your voice, we’d also like to take this moment to dispel some myths.
1. Helium does not change the pitch of your voice.
2. Your vocal cords don’t vibrate any faster with helium than they normally would with oxygen.
3. Helium is not dangerous to inhale in small amounts.
What happens with helium is that the resonant frequency of your throat and mouth are increased with the gas’s escape from your body. This changes the quality of the sound as it leaves your body, making you sound like a much mousier person.
Increasing the resonant frequency of your mouth amplifies the highest frequencies from your throat, resulting in helium voice. All of the same sound is still there, it’s just that the high points take over and dominate.