Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Frank Caliendo casts vote for comedy

As it will for most Americans, November's presidential election will have an impact on Frank Caliendo. But few have the same stake in the outcome as he.

Frank Caliendo casts vote for comedy

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Impressionist Frank Caliendo sees comic potential in a Mitt Romney presidency. Photo: frankcaliendo.com

As it will for most Americans, November’s presidential election will have an impact on Frank Caliendo. But few have the same stake in the outcome as he.

Caliendo, of course, is the portly Chicago-born, Wisconsin-bred entertainer who happens to be the most successful impressionist on the boards today. In addition to a regular touring schedule, he has been a member Fox’s NFL-broadcast team for most of the last decade, making football fans laugh with his dead-on impersonation of NFL icon John Madden and others in sports, show business and politics, as well as using Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan as stooges for his shtick (earlier Friday, he issued a statement that he won’t be returning this season).

As such, his act, which he’ll bring to the Music Box at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Friday and Saturday, may be significantly different should Republican challenger Mitt Romney defeat President Barack Obama. But, he noted in an email, he’s learned his lesson about trying to predict the outcome of a presidential contest.

"I usually wait to see if someone is elected before working on them too much,” he wrote. “I actually have a pretty good John McCain (impersonation), and its worthless at this point (I was on a semi-topical sketch TV show when he was running)--also see Jon Lovitz and his Michael Dukakis impression. Ha.”

It’s not that Caliendo, 38, is ignoring the Mittster. “I hear a few things in his voice. He has a little bit (of an) interesting cadence when he's giving speeches. He separates sentences into smaller phrases within the sentence sometimes (with pauses). There's a little bit of a rasp to his voice at times as well.

“The easy thing to do with him is to latch onto the rich stereotype. But it's so easy. I don't find it very funny."

To this untrained ear, at least, Romney’s speaking style seems pretty bland and unremarkable, with little of the kinds of exaggerated pronunciations or verbal ticks so beloved of mimics. But Caliendo noted that George W. Bush was seen in that way by many when he first emerged on the national scene, and he wound up being a gift from the gods for the likes of Caliendo and Will Ferrell.

And even if Romney may not be a John Kennedy or Richard Nixon in terms of having an easy-to-lampoon voice, he suggested that shouldn’t necessarily be a problem.

“If he does win,” said Caliendo, “you end up seeing him in lots of different situations, not just as a campaigner. And that ends up opening the door for seeing different sides of him. And that's when someone like me finds different things to latch on to.”

In case you’re wondering, Caliendo refused to identify his personal preference in the election, most likely figuring that, regardless of his choice, he will alienate close to half of all Americans with his pick. And, he wrote, as far as his act is concerned, the election will be “a comedy wash.”

As for his departure from the Fox broadcast team, Caliendo issued the following statement:

“To everyone asking about the (Fox) pregame. I will not be back this coming season. It was great to be part of the team with Terry and the guys for the last 9 years, but it's time to move on. I have a couple of upcoming ventures that look like they may be pretty cool...And as soon as I can tell you more about them--I definitely will. More soon!”

Show time is 9 p.m. both nights. Admission is $65 and $55. For tickets, call 866-900-4849 or go to www.theborgata.com.

‘70s hitmakers at Borgata

 It only seems like Chicago and The Doobie Brothers were responsible for about two-thirds of all of the hit singles of the 1970s. Which makes Saturday’s double-bill at Borgata’s Event Center a must for fans of the pop music of that decade.

While both bands are perennial road warriors, this year’s tour is a special one for the Doobies, whose breakthrough (second) album, “Toulouse Street” (which included “Listen To the Music,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway”) and “Jesus Is Just Alright”) was released 40 years ago.

Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $96, $86 and $76. For tickets, call 866-900-4849 or go to www.theborgata.com.

Parx adds tables

 Parx Casino in Bensalem has brought a number of new gaming tables—and table games online.

In addition to a new Asian game area--dubbed the “Golden Dragon Games Pi"t--featuring pai-gow poker, pai-gow tiles, sic bo and baccarat, other new tables will offer Let it Ride, Spanish 21 and Match the Dealer, a new side wager at blackjack tables. Also being added is Casino War (we wonder if high-stakes players are provided comped milk and cookies).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2Li6SgokJM

About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com.

Chuck Darrow