Meet Fran Capo, the World’s Fastest Talking Woman
We sit down with the Putnam Valley resident and record-holder
Capo has written 18 books
Putnam Valley resident Fran Capo is a lot of things. According to Guinness World Records, she’s the world’s fastest talking female (actually, she holds six world records, but we’ll get to that later). If you ask her publishers, she’s an author with 18 — yes, 18 — books to her name. If you ask American troops in South Korea, or numerous organizations all over the world, she’s a motivational speaker: Capo has peppered countless audiences with her unique blend of comedy and realize-your-potential, don’t-be-ordinary messaging.
The list keeps going — actress, comedienne, mother, ordained minister, and, maybe above all, spontaneous adventurer. When we caught up with Capo, she had just returned from an impromptu climb up Cadillac Mountain in Maine to celebrate a friend’s birthday. They climbed through the night up a freezing dark road to see the sunrise from the top. Why? During winter, Cadillac is the first place on America’s east coast to see the sunrise.
We stole a few moments of Capo’s time, despite her busy schedule — she’s appeared on everything from The Meredith Vieira Show to Nick at Nite, as well as what she says is more than 4,500 radio spots — to find out more about the Hudson Valley’s fast-talking adventurer.
So six world records, huh?
The one I’m most known for is as the fastest talking woman. I broke that record twice, once in 1986 on Larry King Live, where I spoke 585 words per minute, and the second time at the Guinness Museum in Las Vegas in 1990, where I was clocked at 603.32 words in 54.2 seconds.
And the others?
Highest book signing in 2004 — 19,340 feet above sea level at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The deepest book signing: 12,465 feet below sea level down by the wreck site of the Titanic. I’m also the first person to do a memorial service as an ordained minister down there. Then, in April of 2008 with Chiromission in the Dominican Republic [Chiromission is an organization that organizes chiropractic mission trips], we saw 21,545 patients in two days with only 28 chiropractors on hand in the Dominican Republic. [No, “chiropractor” is not one of Capo’s titles — she was on hand for motivation.] And last but not least is my record getting a song from concept to national airplay in 24 hours. The song is called “Adventure Girl,” and it’s the Fran Capo theme song.
How does one even become the fastest talking woman?
It was never really a conscious decision on my part. I was working at a radio station, WBLS in New York City, doing comedy bits. The DJ flung the weather and traffic copy at me, and I went on air for 30 seconds. A reporter from The Daily News happened to be listening and was doing a story on weather and traffic people. She called and asked me how long I had been doing it. I wasn’t going to say, “30 seconds,” so I said, “Oh, a while.”
Then she asked what I was planning on doing next. I didn’t have a next, but I had someone on the line from The Daily News, so I said, “Oh I’m thinking of breaking a world record.” She asked, “For what?” I told her I’d call her back. I ran out, bought a Guinness Book, looked at all the world records, and saw fast talking. I figured, what the heck, I’ll go for that. She printed it in the paper, and the very next day the Larry King Live people called me and asked me to go on their show and break the record. I broke it on his show doing 585 words per minute.
And when you’re not fast-talking and record-setting?
I’m hired by corporations and companies that are rebranding products that have to do with speed, accuracy, that sort of thing. I’ve been hired by [Expedia in Canada], Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Chock Full o’ Nuts, Papa John’s, a whole bunch of places. I’m also hired by companies for motivational speaking, to inspire their employees to tap into their potential. I teach them how to have a “world-record mindset” — how to be persistent and have a never-give-up attitude. Any time I can make people understand how to fulfill their dreams it excites me.
You have a lot of energy…
I truly believe that if you always have something to look forward to you will always be enthusiastic and positive about life. Just keep your mind active and your spirit stays alive. You know, research finds that people who are optimistic work harder, get paid more, and are happier and get moved to better positions in life.
You say your latest book, Hopeville: The City of Light, came to you from “divine intervention.” What’s it all about?
The story is told in parable about four people in Hopeville. One night, an angel appears to all of them and tells them that if they each do a small task, they can transform themselves and the town they live in. They take on the challenge and learn how easy it is to transform life into happiness.
Have you lived a charmed life?
I believe that people can either have a volunteer or victim attitude. If you feel you are a victim of circumstances in life then you feel helpless. I’m not saying that you caused the bad that came into your life, all I’m saying is your mental state and how you deal with it will determine how fast you move forward.
My energy comes from my love for life. And my gratitude that I am alive, and knowing that I believe in God. Life is exciting; adults lose enthusiasm because they get stuck in a rut. Focus on what you want, not on what you fear.
Cadillac Mountain at 4 a.m. What other adventures?
Bungee jumping out of a hot-air balloon, skydiving, eating fire, scaling a castle wall, jumping out of a three-story building in stunt school, driving racecars, walking on hot coals, sleeping in an ice hotel, flying combat aircraft, et cetera. I write about them in my “Capo Update” newsletter and in my books.
A television show, Radio Housewives. We shot the pilot in December for the Launch TV network and are scheduled to go on air in late April. I created it with two great friends and fellow comics, Janette Barber and Jim Mendrinos; Janette and I co-star in it. It’s about two housewives who win a contest for a radio contract in the Hudson Valley. The station manager was hoping for two young chicks to put in bathing suits on a giant billboard, but these two “ordinary” women prove that their unorthodox on-air style of bluntly speaking their minds wins over the audience.