Here he comes again, Droopy-Face Magee...
November 18, 2023 3:47 PM   Subscribe

One April morning in 2019, Spencer LeGros was making himself a sandwich when he realized half his face wasn't working. When he went to the ER he was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, a mysterious form of facial paralysis with no known cause or cure. For the next year he struggled to speak and he had to tape his eye shut to sleep. It was a difficult time, but it inspired him to write a sad, funny and incredibly catchy rock ballad entitled The Man With a Broken Face.

The song itself starts around the 1:56 mark, if you want to skip ahead, but the whole video is worth watching. Songs by Spencer is a newish Youtube channel where LeGros conducts various musical experiments, mashing up corporate jingles to make an anti-corporate rap, writing a song using prompts from a dartboard, recording In the Arms of an Angel as a punk banger, and more.
posted by Ursula Hitler (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine had Bell's Palsy for a couple of months. It was distressing for him, and I'm glad it resolved itself.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:17 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]

Here in Canada the most famous person with Bell’s Palsy would be former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien who used it to his advantage, saying he was "One politician who didn't talk out of both sides of his mouth."
posted by clicking the 'Post Comment' button at 4:31 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]

I had this in 2010; it was deeply unpleasant (not only did I have to tape my eye shut, I had to use lubricating eyedrops), and if I'm tired one side of my face still droops slightly but noticeably.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 4:37 PM on November 18

First I heard of it was maybe in the 90s? when Ralph Nader woke up on an airplane and it had occurred while he was sleeping. I also heard Sylvester Stallone had it, but maybe that's just his face?
posted by rhizome at 5:15 PM on November 18

I had it as a result of Lyme disease about ten years ago. My smile is still a bit crooked.
posted by idb at 6:46 PM on November 18

Here in Canada the most famous person with Bell’s Palsy would be

Gordon Lightfoot had Bell's at the peak of his career. He looked pretty grumpy singing Sundown on Midnight Special.
posted by ovvl at 8:58 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]

First I heard of it was maybe in the 90s? when Ralph Nader woke up on an airplane and it had occurred while he was sleeping.

This is exactly happened to a friend of mine. She was on a plane in a window seat and fell asleep with her head against the glass.
posted by y2karl at 9:00 PM on November 18

That's weird, I also know somebody who said they got it by falling asleep with their face against an airplane window.

I'm kind of disappointed that all of the responses have been about the illness and not the song. I think it's really good, but I'm not sure what to compare it to. I suppose if you walked out of Forgetting Sarah Marshall thinking, "I wish I could hear another vaguely Jason Segel-esque dude singing tragic-comic rock ballads," Spencer LeGros is the man for the job.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:17 PM on November 18

Cursory googling suggests the connection between Bell's Palsy and air travel seems to maybe be a thing.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:24 AM on November 20

↑ Wow.
posted by y2karl at 8:34 AM on November 20

"Botulinum toxin (aka Botox) is one of the simplest yet most effective treatments for patients with synkinesis, facial asymmetry, and facial tightness resulting from Bell’s palsy and other causes. Botox works by blocking release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is what nerves use to tell muscles to contract, or tighten. Botox relaxes muscles which are too tight and can prevent involuntary facial movements, or synkinesis." (University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Facial Nerve Center)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:12 PM on November 20

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