Free Frank!

So this is the time of year when bashing Frank Caliendo becomes popular. His chubby, smirking visage is a constant presence on TBS during the MLB playoffs. And like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the haters once again rise from the woodwork.

“He’s everywhere!” “He’s not funny!” “He doesn’t look like any of the people he’s impersonating!” “His impressions aren’t even that good!” Now, these are opinions that you are free to have. Many people I respect have these very thoughts and express them to me in so many words. But if you’ll indulge me for a moment, let me defend Frank for a minute.

Frank Caliendo, first and foremost, is a stand-up comedian. He is an impressionist. Some of his impressions are better than others, but the guy has a pretty incredible range. If you think he doesn’t sound like Bush or John Madden, you probably don’t like impressions. That’s ok. There are other comedians out there for you. But you have to remember that he’s a short, chubby guy who doesn’t look like anyone. So he isn’t going to look like John Madden. He’s also not really an actor. Playing these characters is not something he does particularly well. But that’s ok too, because he’s a comedian. If you’ve never seen his stand-up, I urge you to check it out before you hate him. He goes in and out of characters, he ad libs, and he looks like he’s having a great time. He makes funny segues and weaves in and out of jokes in a fun way, like he’s a friend of yours who happens to be good at impersonations. I guarantee you’ll laugh at least a little. And if you don’t, you can say he’s not funny.

Let’s be honest, here. Frank does not look like he’s having a good time in these ads. He seems embarrassed, like he knows he’s ruining a lot of people’s evenings. But if you’re a comedian, this is how you make money. Yeah, he’s on NFL Sunday, and yeah he has his own terrible show, but for the most part, he’s making money from ads. So I guess that makes him a sellout. Oh well. I say, good for him. He’s succeeding. I wish he could survive on stand-up alone, but he can’t. He probably makes more from one Dish Network ad than from a year of touring. He probably doesn’t even write the ads himself. So cut him a little slack. We’d all do the same thing.

Yes, I wish he was a little less present when I’m trying to watch baseball. But I wish there were fewer Viagra ads as well. As far as ads go, at least his remind me of how funny he is. And maybe even once in awhile, they make me smile a little. So before you jump alongside the masses of too hip internet commentators who love bashing Frank, take a second look at him. Listen to his voices and see his stand-up. He might just surprise you.

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One Response to “Free Frank!”

  1. The funny thing is I agree with you on Frank. But, I still hate Dane Cook.

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