Frank Caliendo on Tweeting Whatever Pops Into Your Head: "If You Do That in Real Life, You Get Into Trouble"
Though he's not a regular on television these days, he appeared as a guest on the Valerie Bertinelli and Betty White woman show Hot in Cleveland. His impressions have established him in the comedy world, but standup remains his passion, and after a stint in Vegas, Caliendo hit the road again. Before he heads to South Florida again for a few gigs, we chatted with the comic to learn about the man behind the voices.<
New Times: You have cemented yourself as a master of many facets of comedy. Did you start out trying to make it in standup or perfecting your impressions?
Frank Caliendo: I started out going to Comedy Sports Class. They taught improv and team workshops. Then, when I was still in college, I would always try out impressions on my friends and goof around. Someone said, "Hey, you should try standup." I went up and tried it, and doing my impressions onstage just kind of worked.
How do you feel about the television comedy shift from your standard sitcom to more awkward and improvised comedies like The Office?
There are always trends for what's hot on television. Reality TV opened the door for people seeing an awkward pause more regularly. It's more like real life. Sitcoms tend to be more cookie cutter, but there is a place for both types to succeed. Traditional sitcoms are making a comeback now. My kids watch Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel constantly, and those family-friendly channels have more and more sitcoms, and the bigger networks seem to be getting more awkward. Let me tell you, that iCarly really hits it out of the park!
What comics have inspired you to follow in their footsteps?
Growing up, I loved Jonathan Winters' wit and the speed of Robin Williams. Standup kings like Dana Carvey and Brian Regan always get my attention. I like people that do something different, like Lewis Black, Dave Attell. I always look for the comics who created their own style and that other people want to be like.