I love good impressions. Some targets are so classic (Walken, Nicholson, Cagney) that it’s hard to add a new wrinkle to them after all this time. Other times you nail someone so well, you can’t get away from it, and if something happens to make that impression taboo…well, you’re Vaughn Meader.
Not too many people do impressions any more as a full time endeavor; Jim Carrey was one of the most brilliant impersonators I ever saw but even he walked away from it. You can even see that someone as well-known as Frank Caliendo is getting stale by almost being compelled to constantly do John Madden. Having him play a show and not do Madden is probably like the Rolling Stones trying to get offstage without playing “Satisfaction”.
The days of full time impressionists like Frank Gorshin and Rich Little surviving outside the casino circuit seem to be long gone, so we just have to find people who drop a few in their act.
Even though it’s pretty mean spirited, I don’t think I’ve laughed harder all year than watching Anthony Jeselnik do Dane Cook.
When someone has the gift, they have the gift. Kevin Spacey rules.
And I know Christopher Walken impressions are a dime a dozen, but Kevin Pollack is the master.
Gilbert Gottfried does Andrew Dice Clay.
And finally, an old classic: Andrew Dice Clay does Eric Roberts, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Robert DeNiro, and Al Pacino. The gestures are better than the voices for Pacino and DeNiro, but he nails Travolta and Stallone, and that has to be the best Eric Roberts impression I’ve ever seen.