ICYMI: Aptos replaces Calibri

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Victor Mather, "Microsoft Word’s Subtle Typeface Change Affected Millions. Did You Notice?", NYT 2/28/2024:

When you read — a book, a traffic sign, a billboard, this article — how much do you really notice the letters? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably not at all.

I'm mostly like most people, though there are font and size limits to my tolerance (e.g. …)

And @ellecordova's skit about the default typeface change is definitely funny, even if many of the participant fonts are not in my "really notice" category:

I've wondered for a long time whether there's a word for this (increasingly common) kind of video skit, where the same person plays multiple parts, typically with different clothing, hair, etc. We've previously featured examples from Jeff Wright and Dr. Glaucomflecken, among others.

A term might well not have been invented yet, because it was only recently that the technology became available to create and distribute such performances easily and cheaply.


  1. Stephen Goranson said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 3:02 pm

    Thanks. I think that Elle Cordova bit is brilliant.
    I don't know much about this, but the earliest video skits of this type that I encountered
    (and enjoyed) were from HappySlip by Christine Gambito on YouTube.

  2. AntC said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 4:54 pm

    I can recommend Julie Nolke or Ryan George "for this kind of video skit". (Social commentary rather than language-specific.)

    I think that Elle Cordova bit is brilliant.

    De gustibus, I guess. I watched most of that skit when it came out, but abandoned as just not well done. (I don't use Ms Word any more — for which I'm very relieved, so the message didn't get through what the skit was about.)

    I agree with myl this multi-role single-person skit is increasingly common. Most of the performers are not professionally-trained actors; nor does the script set the mise-en-scène first; nor do they have professional post-production; nor do they have any social observation worth sharing. (There's a episodes-in-the-life flight attendant I'm thinking of particularly. Doubtless her tiktok colleagues find it hilarious.)

  3. J.W. Brewer said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 5:20 pm

    Professionally shot big-budget movies with name-actor professional casts have occasionally featured a single actor playing multiple characters, including in scenes staged through camera trickery where the two different characters that are actually the same person appear to be interacting with each other in real time. Confrontations (this is now over a quarter-century ago) between "Austin Powers" and "Dr. Evil" are an example that springs readily to my mind, but the gimmick is much older than that. I don't know if it has a conventional name in the movie industry that could be extended to lo-budget amateur DIY versions distributed via social media.

  4. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 5:33 pm

    I've spotted this Aptos intruder in Excel but not yet in Word. I'm not sure it's an improvement. Calibri has been a decent default for me because it can do IPA diacritics very reasonably, including the combining left angle above for "inaudible plosion", one that most fonts struggle with (including Aptos).

  5. Tim Leonard said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 6:58 pm

    In the theater world, it's called a "one-person play" or "solo performance." In cinema, it goes at least as far back as 'The Playhouse' (1921), in which Buster Keaton plays 20 parts (though there were other actors playing other parts, too).

  6. AntC said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 7:05 pm

    @JWB the example that springs most readily to my mind is Dr. Strangelove 1963, with Peter Sellers playing three parts. I don't recall any scene with multiple Sellers characters interacting, though. Did the Dr. share a scene with President Muffley at any point?

    I guess Sellers/Kubrick are just extending the idea from the Goon shows (in full technicolour on your wireless set) with a handful of actors voicing a cast of thousands.

    Also Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949 with Alec Guinness playing eight parts — but those were each distinct episodes/no interacting.

  7. AntC said,

    March 2, 2024 @ 7:13 pm

    Wow! @Tim, thread won. What's more you can see the whole movie on Youtube.

    And the Filming sounds excruciatingly hard work.

  8. Gregory Kusnick said,

    March 3, 2024 @ 12:51 am

    Patty Duke did it on TV in 1963.

    A more recent tour de force is Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black (2013-2017).

  9. Philip Anderson said,

    March 3, 2024 @ 7:32 am

    @J.W. Brewer
    ’The Parent Trap’ and its remake (1961 & 1998) both featured a single actress playing both twins, and I expect there are other films where this was preferred to working with real identical twins.

  10. Frans said,

    March 3, 2024 @ 1:18 pm

    Dutch people may also recall André van Duin performances like Bim Bam from… '85? Though not quite the same style.


  11. Frank said,

    March 3, 2024 @ 7:35 pm

    For the thespian equivalent to the literary concept of heteronym I would suggest heterodyn if the word were not already taken.

  12. Roscoe said,

    March 3, 2024 @ 9:01 pm

    TV Tropes calls it "Acting For Two":


  13. Joshua K. said,

    March 3, 2024 @ 11:12 pm

    Another YouTube example is Ryan George's "Pitch Meeting" series:

    In a typical episode, Ryan plays the only two characters — a writer and a studio executive — distinguished by their clothing and voices, and with the writer wearing glasses.

  14. Francois Lang said,

    March 4, 2024 @ 12:02 pm

    "Acting For Two": @loic.suberville is hilarious poking fun at the many quirks of both French and English.

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