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October 10, 2015

Frank Caliendo: Can he take Madden's place?

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 6th 2006 11:06PM
Frank CaliendoBeing an impressionist is one of the toughest careers to maintain in the world of comedy. Instead of being able to do new material, audiences want you to do certain voices all the time. And at a certain point, your impressions become so outdated no one wants to hear them anymore (I'm sure Fred Travalena isn't getting requests for his Jimmy Carter impression, for instance).

Which is why I'm proposing this request to MadTV's Frank Caliendo: get a job as an analyst in an NFL booth. Now.

For those who've never seen Caliendo, he does some pretty good impressions: Al Pacino, Terry Bradshaw, Robin Williams, even President Bush; all of them are pitch-perfect (he does one of the most true-to-life Dubya impressions out there). But his signature impression is of soon-to-be-NBC football analyst John Madden. It's amazing how good it is; close your eyes and you'll swear that you're hearing the man himself. What Caliendo adds to the impression, though, is a sense that the cheese has slipped off Madden's cracker a bit, as he repeats himself, talks in circles, and states the obvious.

Sounds a little over the top, right? Not if you were listening to Madden talk during yesterday's Super Bowl. Granted, he wasn't as loopy as Caliendo's version, but the gap between the impressionist and the impressionee isn't as big as you might think. Every time I heard Madden run his words together in one of his signature rambles, I thought ABC had brought Caliendo in to give the old boy a rest (Madden's turning 70 in a few months).

Anyway, if I were Caliendo, I'd get a job with one of the other networks and do the Madden impression during games. He doesn't even need to do any real analysis; if you stick him on a game between, say, Arizona and New Orleans, no one is really going to be watching, anyway. Then, when Madden is set to retire, Caliendo can slide right into the booth without missing a beat. It's career security that no impressionist -- even Darrell Hammond -- has ever been able to secure. Beats trying to do Al Pacino impressions for the next thirty years.

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Samuel McConnell

he does one of the most true-to-life Dubya impressions out there

What are you talking about? His is almost as bad as Will Forte's.

February 07 2006 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Caliendo had a funny stand-up special on Comedy Central a little while ago. His Madden is great. I like when during any of his long ramblings he'll end with "Boom! Tough act'n Tinactin!".

February 07 2006 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hearing the Madden impression for a min or two is funny. Hearing it for 3 hours is not. If he were going to be an analysis it would have to be a three man booth, with him being the third wheel. I don't think Troy akiman and Joe buck would want another person in with them when they just had Chris collinsworth doing it.

If you're going to put him on the "D" game that most likey you got the hardcore of fans who are only watching because its their team that's playing. I also think that he wouldn't bring anything to the table. And that many football fans would get sick and tired of him after the 2 game of the season.

February 07 2006 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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