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Comedian Frank Caliendo On Being George W., Morgan Freeman, John Madden And More

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Comedian Frank Caliendo has made a name for himself by impersonating famous people.

Some people grow up wanting to become a household name. A famous actor or starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

Frank Caliendo, on the other hand, has found contentment and success getting lost in the voices of famous people.

One day he’ll be Morgan Freeman reading Lebron James’ comeback letter.  Other days it’s his George W. Bush stumbling over his words or John Madden doing dramatic play-by-play commentary.

Frank Caliendo and all his ‘friends’ talked to KNPR’s State of Nevada.

You’re well known for your impersonations, everyone from ESPN football analyst John Gruden to Charles Barkley. Was there a specific impressionist who inspired you? 

"When I was younger it was probably Rich Little, who everyone knows. He was very vaudevillian. But the bigger influences were Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams, although they were impressionists, going from character to character was what I took from that."

It’s probably like asking a parent to pick their favorite child, but every parent has one. So who is your favorite celebrity to impersonate?

"Not really, whenever they're new that's the most fun... Most people haven't heard the Morgan Freeman live or seen it live. They've heard whether on the radio or on YouTube or whatever, but when they see it live and I'm just playing around with it that seems to be one that people like"

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So you’re playing two nights at the Orleans casino. What can we expect from your shows in Las Vegas?

I will throw some Morgan Freeman walking around the Strip or that type of thing or maybe describing something that... is winning as John Madden or Jon Gruden. Throw little things in there about Vegas. 

On Politics, do you find you'll have to start working on impressions of candidates?

"I don't work on anybody until they're voted into office. It's a waste of time. If I had a great Mitt Romney, nobody would care right now. Jon Lovitz, years ago, had a Michael Dukakis and he looked exactly like him and it was hilarious on "Saturday Night Live" but then after the election, he was gone. There was nothing to do anymore."

Do you have to be constantly juggling, not just with politicians but with celebrities and such?

For me, there's lots of sports people that are the new thing, because I've been at ESPN and that doesn't change very much and they tend to be older people in sports. There's not a lot of young people doing the commentating and analysis because they are usually retired and they have more of a character to them.

Guests

Frank Caliendo, comedian

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