Most sane human beings will do everything in their power to stay away from the agony of endless robotic customer service calls, but for writer Joe Veix, that agony is the driving force behind his new project 1-855-LADYFUN, a real number you can call that Veix describes as “a massive audio choose-your-own-adventure game in the guise of a corporate customer service line.” The huge phone tree/automated maze took Veix a year to assemble and features a bunch of bogus corporations like MovieZone, DataCore, Chumsanto, and Titan Industries (and yes, there’s a sex hotline too), with some of the voices provided by Jezebel’s Madeleine Davies, Best Week Ever’s Brendan McLaughlin, The Onion’s John Howell Harris, and Pat Fleet AKA the official voice of AT&T. Here’s what Veix told us about the project:
Last year I was trying to fix a problem with my healthcare, and was trapped in a massive phone tree for two hours. I suddenly thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to put other innocent people through this superhell?’ I thought it would be a quick, easy project, but it turned out to be a never-ending monster headache to build. I first created a Korn hotline, as a test to see if anyone would be willing to call a strange number to hear dumb jokes. People seemed to like that, so I got to work. It took a few months to break the story. I started by outlining the different “worlds” I wanted to include — a Moviefone-style info line, a cable company, a phone sex service, etc. — each with their own storylines. Then I drew a massive schematic connecting all of the different narrative threads. Once I had the structure down, each hub was given a unique code. Then I wrote the script based on those codes. I sent the script out to all the voice actors, and then mixed and uploaded the files to an IVR program. In the process I listened to a million hours of stock hold music. I still hear all those songs in my nightmares.
It’s hard to sum up LADYFUN because the possibilities are endless, but according to Veix there is an “ending” no caller has been able to reach yet. Call 1-855-LADYFUN to try yourself, and you can also donate to help keep the line alive here. Consider yourself warned, though: Your choices might take you to some very unexpected places:
And in case you’d like an idea of just how huge this thing is, here’s a schematic Veix drew of an earlier draft: