A Show I Will Never Watch: 'FrankTV'

Remember vaudeville? Yeah, me neither. You know why? Because it’s a form of comedy that has become extinct. There actually used to be TV shows featuring a ventriloquist and his dummy. Not any more.

Humor evolves. What we found hilarious 25 years ago induces yawns today.

So can someone explain this:

It’s a dude who can do voices. Near as I can tell, that’s it. Passable impersonations of people we’ve heard done for years: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, George Bush. And, lo, Frank Caliendo gets himself a TV show (debuting Nov. 20 on TBS).Which I will never watch. Because I don’t live in the main ballroom of the Sands Hotel and Casino circa 1967.


Comments (31 total) Add your comment
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  • junior

    I liked Frank Caliendo on MadTV. It might be a problem with showing only one aspect of the show (hopefully there are more?) and promoting that idea too heavily (plus, while his John Madden is excellent, not much else is).

  • Sven

    In the world of comedy, impersonators are looked down upon almost as much as rip off artists (see Carlo Mencia, Dane Cook, Robin Williams and Denis Leary). Can Caliendo do decent impressions? Sure, although his De Niro is pretty weak compared with the others, so why focus so much on that one? But will I watch the show? No chance…

  • Sven

    Carlos Mencia, not Carlo…

  • Red

    I’m just glad the baseball playoffs are over so I don’t have to see his stupid ads 50 times per hour.
    I think he’s decent at voices, but other then George Bush and Madden, he doesn’t look like the people he’s imitating. DeNiro has never been that chubby…

  • D

    Caliendo’s impressions of John Madden and George W. Bush are spot-on, probably the best out there. Every other impression he does is TERRIBLE. In the commercials featuring his Robin Williams and his Robert De Niro, I didn’t even know who he was supposed to be. If doing a few good impressions is all it takes to get your own show, why didn’t Kevin Pollack get his own show 15 years ago (THAT guy could do Robin Williams).

  • Anonymous

    It isn’t so much being able to imitate someone, as what you can do with that. Imitating Alec Baldwin? Not so funny. Imitating Alec Baldwin as a marriage counselor? Very funny.

  • Zod

    I second Red’s comment. I would cringe every time a commercial break was coming while watching the baseball playoffs, because I knew I’d have to see the same stupid FrankTV commercial again. The SAME ONE I had just seen 2 minutes earlier.
    I just don’t think that kind of oversaturation (see: Bee Movie) works. If anything, it drives me away from whatever is being advertised.

  • 42man

    As a big fan of Frank Caliendo, I would have to strongly disagree with everyone’s opinion on this blog. Now while some of his impressions are subpar compared to others, when he has a good impression, it’s almost as if he has transformed completely. Mannerisms, voice, face, everything. On top of that, even though this commercial doesn’t show it, he writes very funny material and is a successful and well-liked stand-up comedian. And finally, his impression of Robin Williams. Now, to do an impression of Robin Williams, it is kind of funny to do an impression of his regular voice. However, to truly do a great impression of Robin Williams, you have to do the voices that ROBIN WILLIAMS makes up as well. Frank Caliendo has pulled off that feat many times, and because of that, and many more dead-on impressions, I truly respect and like him. As you can probably guess, I’m going to be watching FrankTv. If you don’t believe a word I say, just YouTube or Google him. That is all.

  • rachel

    Embarrassing as it is to admit, I freakin’ love this guy. Come on people! Oh, but I’m still not going to watch the show. Unless I hear that it’s good. I never form my own opinions.

  • Henry

    I agree. What’s funny about voices we’ve heard over and over again doing the same damned stitch? What makes him so funny that he warrants getting his own show?

  • BlueCarp

    Perhaps you are familiar with a show called “Saturday Night Live.” While it is no longer nearly as funny as it once was, it has survived for decades, largely on the ability of people to do impressions. Don’t pretend that the last funny person to do an impression was during vaudeville in the Catskills. That just is not true.

  • JP

    Ooh, I love Rich Little! I’ve been waiting for him to make a comeback!

  • kats

    Didn’t he do Fox NFL coverage after Jimmy Kimmel? He lost me there because his impressions were so mean spirited. Also an impression can be part of a solid act, but impressions on their own? Not so much so.

  • Benjh

    Impersonation is a lost art here in the US, but in other countries (especially in europe), it’s very much alike, and it can be hilarious. It’s like any other (tv) show, it has to be well written. It has to combine impressions with satire and smart social commentary. No whether this guy can do it or not… no idea.

  • Lesley

    I’ll say that some of his impressions are good, he sounds a lot like George Bush, but that alone is not funny. Impressions are only interesting when they are combined with wit and his John Madden is annoying. Notice that the show is on late night. There is a reason.

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