The day I first met Timothy “Speed” Levitch, he was on stage in front of a set of grizzled TV reporters who had just spent the last two weeks eating the same meal twice a day in a hotel together at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. A lot of these critics had just gotten off the bus from spinning the wheel at “The Price is Right” and were hearing of this guy—wearing an electric blue blazer—for the first time.
Right then, under these nuclear circumstances, these critics could ask Speed anything they wanted to.
“What is the most overlooked monument in America?”
This is the first question he’s asked.
“Kindness,” he says.
Because everyone in that room has a functioning human heart, this charmed the hell out of everybody immediately.
Now Speed has a show of his own in which he goes from city to city to uncover America’s “monumentally ignored monuments.” Because we also have functioning human hearts, we’re proud to say that “Up to Speed” will air exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus every Thursday for the next six weeks, starting today.
Look, there’s so much “monumentally ignored monument” in Speed’s soul that we’d feel like a textbook if we tried to spell it out for you. In the very first episode, he talks about a house of falling furniture in San Francisco that is “radically self-expressing” just by being there.
That is, in fact, Speed Levitch in a nutshell.
Richard Linklater, the director of “Waking Life” and “School of Rock” among many others, met Speed at a screening of “The Cruise,” a documentary about Levitch’s life and his famous New York City bus tours. He wanted to make a show with Speed ever since.
It’s because you realize very quickly that none of Speed Levitch is put on. He is, in fact, a tour guide filled with a whole lot of love and famous proverbs nobody’s said yet.
Hulu’s Social Media Manager Blake Lown had a couple of conversations with him and realized just that. She’s been collecting every adage ever since—jotting them down, receiving them in emails from Speed. She’s calling them “Speedisms,” because they deserve their own names.
Here are a few. They don’t do Speed and life’s profound weirdness justice the way “Up to Speed” does, but, really, what does?
To truly travel is to find bliss in long lines.
If San Francisco were a nation, banks would be closed on Halloween.
Cleveland, you are beautiful music being played before a nation of lazy musicologists.