Colin McEnroe Show: Impressions & Impersonations

We can all do one impression (sorta) well ...

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Colin McEnroe Show: Impressions & Impersonations
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Colin McEnroe Show: Impressions & Impersonations

I'm not even sure the comedy sub-species "impressionist" really exists any more.

For decades, performers like David Frye, Rich Little, Frank Gorshin and John Byner made careers out of the gift for impersonation. Frye had an astonishingly rubbery face that could shape itself into the jowly folds of Lyndon Johnson and, in a flash, twist into the long-jawed scowl of Richard Nixon. 
As variety shows gave way to TV comedy rep troupes following the model of Saturday Night Live and SCTV, impersonation was more likely to be one weapon in a cast member's arsenal. Rick Moranis had Woody Allen, Dave Thomas nailed Bob Hope, Billy Crystal's Sammy Davis Jr. was a gem and Martin Short could do just about everybody else.
I always loved impressionists, but I'm not sure I understand why. There's something magical about mimicry, Suddenly, one person's voice and mannerisms are pouring out of someone else. 
Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.
***This episode originally broadcast March 9, 2011***



E-mail from Ingrid

The best impersonators I know are the American-born children of immigrants. All teenagers are embarrassed by what their parents say to their friends and in public generally, but second-gen kids are further embarrassed by the accents, cadences and malapropisms of their parents. The only way to deal with the deep discomfort elicited by this situation is to develop a wicked impersonation.

E-mail from Sara

I think that there can be no discussion on impersonations without giving due respect to Tracy Ullman's work. Also I just saw Jimmy Fallon's Charlie Sheen advertising his new signature scent "Winning". If you haven't seen this yet you must Google or You Tube it. He is more Charlie Sheen than Charlie Sheen himself.