Ever since I saw Danny Gans perform in Vegas—I think it was sometime in the earlyish 90s, and Gans opened for Bill Cosby—I have had a deep, abiding respect for that underloved dark art, the Celebrity Impression.
Here’s film and voiceover actor Jim Meskimen with a monologue from Shakespeare’s Richard III. In the video, Meskimen mimics 25 celebrities.
Some of these are stock characters every impressionist seems to be able to do (Jimmy Stewart, Morgan Freeman, Walken, De Niro), but there are a couple unexpected doozies in the mix, too, like spot-on impersonations of Garrison Keillor and Paul Giamatti.
Reasons I love this video:
– It’s one take. He is able to switch voices on a dime.
– He does really good faces! A great De Niro Face will sell an iffy De Niro impression every time.
– He isn’t reciting the soliloquy with a script or prompter. Slick.
– In the 1980s, Jim Meskimen was a cartoonist for Thundercats.