With all the political rhetoric that is going around and the negativity that can surround us, sometimes we just need to laugh. Frank Caliendo will soon be entertaining residents in the Central Valley, bringing his unique blend of comedy to the Gallo Center for the Arts. His show, Friday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m., will include impressions of celebrities like Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Robin Williams, politicians like George W. Bush, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and broadcasters John Madden, Jon Gruden and Charles Barkley as well as talk show hosts, Dr. Phil, Jay Leno and David Letterman. Many people know Caliendo for his comedy on Fox’s NFL Sunday Pregame show and ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
Graduating in 1996 from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in broadcast journalism, Caliendo said he did not feel that he was a very good interviewer so he decided to try his hand at standup comedy.
“It actually worked and I started getting work right away which is kind of rare,” said Caliendo. “I just started doing impressions on stage and I didn’t have much of an act yet so it just kind of took off.
“I had always done little bits of impressions when I was younger and growing up.”
Starting out doing standup at colleges, being just out of college himself, Caliendo could really relate to his audience and gained momentum from there. Inspired by sketch shows like Saturday Night Live and In Living Color, he was able to attempt different characters and impressions.
“There are tons I might try that I don’t end up doing because one, not enough people are going to know who the person is,” added Caliendo about how he chooses which impressions to do. “The audiences are so scattered that there is a lot more narrow casting than broadcasting and even movies, people don’t go to see all the same movies.”
In the past, he would do an impression of Donald Trump that would last about 30 seconds and now he has Trump bits that could go from 10 to 15 minutes during a show.
“He is a giver,” stated Caliendo. “He’s always got something you can take and even if it isn’t that controversial you can make it sound controversial.”
Caliendo has done sketches with Trump, who he said has been a good sport and was able to not take himself too seriously.
Talk show hosts like Letterman and Leno would always ask Caliendo to do impressions of them, the comedian added.
“That always makes it more fun because then it is silly,” expressed Caliendo regarding the good sports. “I try not to be mean with the stuff. Morgan Freeman is fun because then I can just narrate anything. It can be used anywhere.”
Being on television since 2000 doing shows with his sketch comedy on the Fox Network, ESPN and Mad TV as well as touring doing his standup comedy is something that Caliendo is glad he gets to do for a living.
People that attend his show on Friday night at the Gallo can expect a clean show with a mix of observations and impressions. Parts of his show will be on sports but he will also entertain guests with bits on Dr. Phil, Adam Sandler, Robert Downey Jr. and Liam Neeson, just to name a few.