Tuesday, November 20, 2007

frank caliendo

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - To a growing number of viewers, Frank Caliendo is no longer "Frank who?" An alumnus of "Mad TV," rubber-faced, good-natured Caliendo has performed comic impersonations on most of the big late-night talk shows, especially "Late Show With David Letterman."

Playing to his strong suit, Caliendo's new weekly late-night series is a half-hour collection of taped pieces, including his signature impressions of John Madden, George W. Bush, Robin Williams and Charles Barkley. Sometimes on his own, sometimes seated beside a "co-host" drafted from the studio audience, Caliendo introduces each sketch with just a line or two of setup, as if he were hosting "America's Funniest Home Videos" or "Candid Camera."

It's a fast-paced and formidable display of talent, made even more enjoyable by sharp comic writing and attention to detail. Even an impression of President Bill Clinton, with its shopworn themes of lechery and salacious conduct, seems somehow fresh and funny when mouthed by Caliendo.

A lot of it has to do with Caliendo's innate likeability. He's not a smart aleck, and he stays away from anything controversial or divisive. "I feel like a little kid who just got a television show for Christmas," he says. Now that it's unwrapped, Caliendo intends to take good care of it and play nice with it.

As often as not, the Chicago native plays more than one character in the same sketch. In "Seinfeld 2027," a reunion of the characters 20 years from now, Caliendo plays all four regulars as well as Newman (though he is most convincing as Jason Alexander's George Costanza).

Of all his impressions, Caliendo is perhaps most famous for his take on Madden, which reportedly irks the football analyst. In the premiere, he does it three times as brief interstitials, depicting the former coach stuffing a chicken in a duck in a turkey. These are the weakest bits of the episode.

Far more creative is the bit in which Caliendo imitates the voice of movie-trailer announcers. Also clever is a sketch in which he plays Vice President Dick Cheney giving marital advice to Jenna Bush just before her wedding, though it goes on a little too long.

It looks like Caliendo won't need to lean on any one character too often. The press kit lists about two dozen stars and celebrities in his repertoire, and that is far from complete. In the second episode, he skewers Donald Trump and shows how guys who can talk like Sean Connery can pretty much have their way with women. As if. Continued
It's always baseball season on WFAN, so it's no surprise that when it made two announcements in recent days, both involved the New York pastime.

Friday, the station revealed it had hired Jon Heyman away from ESPN 1050, for whom he had spent the past five years offering insights and information.

Yesterday, it added Yankees manager Joe Girardi for the weekly in-season guest spot his predecessor filled for 12 seasons, ending speculation that he might land at 1050 with former YES partner Michael Kay.

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Hmm. Were one or both moves a reaction to WFAN's feisty but ratings-challenged rival?

Asked whether the Heyman deal was related to 1050's news efforts, operations manager Mark Chernoff said, "I feel we are absolutely the leading station in breaking news and continue to be."

Chernoff suggested, though, that ESPN's ban on their personnel appearing on WFAN puts a premium on landing quality guests and correspondents of its own.

"They're a big, gigantic news operation," he said. "They have hundreds of people working full time. We are just little old WFAN here in New York."

Was the aggressive pursuit of Girardi a hedge against a challenge from 1050?

"I just spoke to his agent and tried to work out a deal," Chernoff said. "I didn't want to negotiate against anybody ... I always make an assumption there's interest in somebody like the Yankee manager."

Girardi also will appear on the pregame show at sister station WCBS, as Torre did.

Chernoff would not discuss Girardi's pay. But it is believed to be more than Torre received, a total in the neighborhood of $350,000.

That's more than the highest annual salaries in the careers of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle - combined.

Frankly, it was a tad much

Sure, A-Rod hijacked the World Series. But what about impressionist Frank Caliendo, whose "Frank TV" was relentlessly promoted during the playoffs on TBS?

"I was embarrassed, at times, to be honest," he said, recalling the "totally crazy" barrage. But he added it made him think, "Man, these guys really believe in this show."

The writers' strike will limit the season to five episodes - beginning tonight - from a planned eight. How much sports content will fans of Caliendo's work on Fox's NFL pregame show see?

Some. In one of the first jokes, he pokes fun at himself for overexposing his John Madden impression, cooking up holiday turducken.

Caliendo has been told Madden does not like him.

"I'm not doing it to be mean," he said. And if Madden happens to confront him ... "If he punched me, I'd be rich."

'Chuckleball' strikes chord

Speaking of strikes, theatergoers shut out by the stagehands' walkout ought to consider a quirky, "off-Broadway" show that's physically on Broadway, at the Snapple Theater Center at 50th Street.

It's called "Chuckleball," a self-described "sports musical revue."

Translation: A four-person cast sings cleverly written, topical parodies that marry the odd couple of sports and show tunes.

Be advised that the Snapple Center is informal in the extreme - i.e., metal folding chairs - and avid fans will appreciate some jokes more than casual fans.

The show runs through the end of the year at $45 per ticket. (I'm not authorized to print a discount code that cuts it to a more digestible $35, but the producer let me do so in a prestrike, Nov. 4 blog post; dredge it up on Newsday.com!)

For more info, seewww.chuckleball.com.

Sound bites TBS adds the weekly late night series "Frank TV" (10 p.m., TBS) to its comedy lineup. Frank Caliendo ("MadTV") offers an onslaught of impressions from the cast of "Seinfeld" to presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Caliendo appears in front of a studio audience on a set he calls a fake living room and introduces a series of sketches featuring his takes on celebrities. Given the writers' strike and the weekly nature of these canned skits, topicality is in short supply.

The most newsworthy sketch involves President Bush's inability to offer a pre-wedding heart-to-heart talk to his daughter Jenna. He lets Vice President Dick Cheney give the heart-to-heart in his place, with less than side-splitting results.

Caliendo's talents as a mimic are impressive, but the show only reinforces the notion that comedy impressionists can be rather blank slates and operate better as guests than hosts. The man does a mean John Madden, but Frank Caliendo being Frank Caliendo is just not terribly funny.

• "Frontline" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) revisits the slaughter in the Darfur region of Sudan and the unwillingness of the world community to do anything about it. This segment, titled "On Our Watch," begins with a sobering observation from an unnamed writer: "If the United Nations could die of shame, it would have been dead years ago."

The slaughter, rape and forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of Africans began as early as 2003. "Frontline" includes interviews with U.N. officials on the scene in Sudan who made the case for action. But officials put a higher priority on negotiating a cease-fire between the Sudanese government and rebels in the south. As it turned out, the government of Sudan dragged out the negotiations to buy time to complete the ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

China's need for Sudan's oil wealth gave the African nation a powerful ally on the U.N. Security Council, and China would go on to veto, block or water down many resolutions on Darfur. Only recently, after activists in the west promised to paint the 2008 Olympic Games as "The Genocide Olympics," has China allowed a resolution authorizing a large peacekeeping force in the region.

If there is a silver lining here, it is the story of how applied pressure by dedicated people can move governments and world organizations. But not soon enough for the more than 200,000 murdered in Darfur.

• ABC anticipates the holidays with two Peanuts specials, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (7 p.m., ABC) and "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown" (7:30 p.m., ABC).

Tonight's other highlights

• A cleric's remains point to a familiar suspect on "Bones" (7 p.m., Fox). Ryan O'Neal guest stars.

• The final five applicants help House treat a magician on "House" (8 p.m., Fox).

• Grey infiltrates a gang stealing munitions and weapons from the military on "The Unit" (8 p.m., CBS).

• A young girl's murder appears linked to ultimate fighting on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).

• Brad holds a post-selection party on "The Bachelor" (9 p.m., ABC).

• Dawn goes from bad to worse on "Nip/Tuck" (9 p.m., FX).

• "Independent Lens" (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) presents "The Creek Runs Red," which looks at the impact of decades of zinc mining on an Oklahoma town that has been dubbed "the most toxic place in America."

Cult choice

A virtual who's who of comedy circa 1963 is assembled to play desperate and greedy treasure seekers in the manic comedy "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (9:15 p.m., TCM) Frank Caliendo
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Frank Caliendo
Born January 19, 1974 (1974-01-19) (age 33)
Chicago, Illinois
Medium Stand up comedy, television
Nationality American
Genres Stand-up Comedy
Subject(s) impersonations
Website frankcaliendo.com
Frank Caliendo (born January 19, 1974) is an American comedian known for his impersonations on the FOX Network television series MADtv, and has been the in-house prognosticator for FOX NFL Sunday. He is particularly well-known for his impressions of George W. Bush and John Madden.

1 Biography
1.1 Early life & career
1.2 Impersonations
1.3 Frank TV
1.4 MADtv
1.5 FOX NFL Sunday
1.6 The Comebacks
2 Television appearances
3 External links

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life & career
Caliendo was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he attended Waukesha South High School. After graduation from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Caliendo began performing stand-up comedy, taking a job as a MC at a local comedy club. Within a year he was headlining. He made his network series debut on the sketch comedy series Hype.

Caliendo has performed stand-up on such series as cable's Premium Blend, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, The View, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. His signature 'John Madden' impression is frequently seen on FOX NFL Sunday, The Best Damn Sports Show Period and Mohr Sports.

Caliendo has also appeared on Comedy Central (Comedy Central Presents), as well as many radio shows, including the The Junkies, The Bob and Tom Show, Opie and Anthony, The Don and Mike Show, The KQ92 Morning show with Tom Barnard, The John Boy and Billy Big Show, The Dudley & Bob Show, Elliot In the Morning, The Sports Inferno in Detroit, The Rick and Bubba Show, The Roe Conn Show on WLS in Chicago and Holmberg's Morning Sickness in Phoenix at 98KUPD. He has just started a new show picked up by TBS called Frank TV which debuts on November 20, 2007.

[edit] Impersonations
Below is a list of impersonations that Frank Caliendo has done while on MADtv, Fox NFL Sunday, Hype, his standup routine, and other media sources (radio, frankcaliendo.com, etc.).

Adam Sandler
Andy Reid
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Al Michaels
Al Pacino
Andy Rooney
Barney Rubble
Bill Clinton
Bill Walton
Brian Regan
Casey Kasem
Charles Barkley
Chris Farley
Chris Rock
Christopher Lloyd (as Doctor Emmett Brown)
Christopher Walken
Clint Eastwood
David Letterman
Debbie Rowe
Dick Cheney
Don Pardo
Donald Trump
Doris Roberts
Drew Carey
Fred Flintstone
Fred Grandy
George W. Bush
Harry Caray
Howie Long
Ian McShane
Jack Nicholson
James Brown (sports television personality)
James Gandolfini (as himself and as Tony Soprano)
Jason Alexander (as George Costanza)
Jay Leno
Janeane Garofalo
Jeff Garlin
Jeff Goldblum
Jerry Seinfeld
Jim Carrey
Jim Rome
Jimmy Johnson
Joe Pesci
Joey Fatone
John Madden
Jonathan Winters
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (as Elaine Benes)
Keanu Reeves
Kelsey Grammer
Kermit the Frog
Terrell Owens
Larry Flynt
Louie Anderson
Marv Albert
Matthew Perry (as Chandler Bing)
Michael J. Fox (as Marty McFly)
Michael Richards (as himself and as Cosmo Kramer)
Mike Ditka
Mike Myers (as himself and as Austin Powers and Dr. Evil)
Mike Tyson
Miss Piggy
Norm Macdonald
Pat Summerall
Dr. Phil
Paul Shaffer
Pauly Shore
Pat O'Brien
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Ray Romano
Regis Philbin
Richard Dreyfuss
Rick Moranis
Robert De Niro
Robert David Hall as (Dr. Al Robbins)
Robin Leech
Robin Williams
Rod Roddy
Roger Ebert
Rush Limbaugh
Scooby Doo
Sean Astin
Sean Connery
Shaggy (Scooby Doo)
T.R. Knight
Ted Knight
Ted Koppel
Terry Bradshaw
Tom Brokaw
Tony Danza
Truman Capote
Wayne Knight (as Newman)
William Shatner

[edit] Frank TV
Frank will have his own sketch show on TBS set to begin airing in the fall of 2007. Frank will be the host of the show and will also perform in sketches in full makeup as characters he will impersonate. Frank jokes he 'wanted the show to be called The Chappelle Show (sic), but the lawyers wouldn't allow it, referring the cheap publicity he'd get from naming his show after another very popular comedian. TBS has already released clips of the show on their official website (see links below).

[edit] MADtv
Caliendo officially joined the cast of MADtv in 2001 as a repertory performer, for the seventh season. During his tenure, he has become well regarded as one of the most talented impersonators in comedy today, and as MADtv's equivalent to Saturday Night Live's Darrell Hammond. In 2002, Caliendo replaced Will Sasso as the impersonator of George W. Bush, but he won audience members over with an offbeat impersonation of former FOX sports announcer John Madden. Both became some of the cast member's most popular impressions on MADtv, and were featured quite prominently during his tenure.

In August 2006, Caliendo announced he would not return to MADtv for its 2006-2007 season.

[edit] FOX NFL Sunday
In 2001 and 2002, Caliendo had a reccurring role on FOX NFL Sunday, as a guest to comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Caliendo frequently appeared impersonating announcer John Madden during some of Kimmel's prognostication skits.

In 2003, Kimmel departed the program, and Caliendo was named his permanent replacement. As the prognosticator for the NFL on FOX, he gives his predictions for the day's NFL games. Typically these come during a skit (usually a one-man skit), where he does one of his famous impersonations. For example, for the first week's FOX NFL Sunday of the 2006 NFL season, he impersonated James Brown, who left the show in the off-season to join The NFL Today on CBS. He also imitates the cast of FOX NFL Sunday on occasion, most frequently Terry Bradshaw.

New Yorkers long have dealt with the frustration of missing good games because of NFL TV rules. But always keep this loophole in mind: Fox was able to switch to Redskins-Cowboys at 7 p.m. Sunday to get its affiliates aligned. Fans who remembered to check could see the ends of close games on both CBS and Fox ... If it wanted a good game, NBC would have been better off keeping Bears-Seahawks rather than flex to Pats-Bills. Either that, or arrange to show only the first halves of Pats games ... Thanks for those L.I. props, Melvin Fowler! As he introduced himself on NBC on Sunday, the Buffalo center told the nation he was from Half Hollow Hills West ... The league will stick with Bengals at Steelers on Dec. 2 rather than flex to another prime-time game. Yo, Jets fans, buy tickets on the Internet and take over Heinz Field to root for the Bengals! ... Enough football. Coming Friday: a special, all-hockey holiday edition of SportsWatch! Seriously


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