Presidential politics serves impressionist Caliendo well

  • By Terry Morrow Scripps Howard News Service
  • Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:17pm
  • Life

Not known as a topical comedian, impressionist Frank Caliendo is getting a lot of mileage out of politics these days.

Asked which impression impresses him the most now, he is clearly a President Bush kind of guy.

“I weigh, probably, 70 pounds more than President Bush, but it still works somehow,” says Caliendo, whose “Frank TV” sketch show is back for a second season (11 p.m. ET, Tuesday, TBS). “I think (my) President Bush (impression) has become pretty good.”

He has the squinty look and Texas drawl down pat. Considering he can also do a convincing Bill Clinton or John McCain, Caliendo has emerged as a different kind man of the people.

Since a new man will be in the White House in 2009, Caliendo is braced for change — in his career.

“I do John McCain in the show. It’s basically ‘old’ jokes,” Caliendo says.

Race isn’t an issue for Caliendo’s impressions, with one of his signature characters being Charles Barkley. He also does Barack Obama, though the series has added two new cast members, one being black, who can do their own share of impersonations.

Caliendo says he will miss poking fun at Bush’s speech patterns and mannerisms after Bush leaves office next January.

But, “I think it’s time to evolve,” he says of his act. “I didn’t start doing Bush until the second term really, two years before that. So I missed the first two years.”

Caliendo knows when to end a good thing, though. He doesn’t want to run his impersonation of Bush into the ground long after he’s left office.

“I didn’t want to do (like) Will Ferrell (did and) going, ‘I’m President Bush,”’ Caliendo says. “Nothing against it. He nailed that, but, then, (Ferrell) had to find a different way to do it, and … mine was softer.”

Other highlights for the week of Oct. 19-25 (check local listings; listings subject to change):


“Storm Chasers” (10 p.m. Discovery Channel). A meteorologist and a filmmaker try to get inside a tornado.


“Rita Rocks” (8:30 p.m. Lifetime). A harried married mom with a job puts down her mop and broom and picks up a guitar.

“Real Chance at Love” (9 p.m. VH1). Two rejectees from “I Love New York” get their own series and a chance to find happiness.


“Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives” (8 p.m. PBS). In this documentary, a rock star goes looking into his past and tries to understand his dad’s ground-breaking theories on parallel time.


“Stylista” (9 p.m. CW). Think “The Devil Wears Prada” turned into a reality show. The prize: A job at Elle magazine.


“Celebrity Rehab” (10 p.m. VH1). Six new stars, including Rodney King and Tawny Kitaen, seek help for their addictions in front of reality-show cameras.


“Sex and Lies in Sin City” (9 p.m. Lifetime). Based on a true story, this film looks at a Las Vegas casino owner’s death and the part his lover and her con artist partner had in it.

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