Although comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo can do impressions of more than 100 celebrities, he is always on the lookout for the next voice to master.
“There are always some new ones that I want to do,” Caliendo said. “I have not done Jack Black, or Ben Affleck or Owen Wilson. But some other people are doing them now, so I have to figure out the take on the person who is different.”
Frank Caliendo will perform on Oct. 5 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
Caliendo’s “take” on comedy and famous people currently includes semi-regular guest spots on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” doing impressions of such sports icons as former Chicago Bear’s Coach Mike Ditka.
“I’ve been doing him for the past year or so,” Caliendo said. “It’s one of the newer ones that I’ve been doing.”
Caliendo spent the last nine years doing similar comedy and impressions as a member of television’s “FOX NFL Sunday” pre-game show.
“With FOX it was always a character looking at the camera, setting up the punch line and then doing the joke,” Caliendo said about his stint on “FOX NFL Sunday.” “That was fine for the first four or five years. I do more of the devices at ESPN. I’ll do Adam Shefter, the ESPN NFL Insider, standing by bookcases and giving some insight. It’s about finding intricacies of people and settings. With the ESPN gig there is a little more acting. It’s more fun, it’s more me and it’s sillier.”
Before his “FOX NFL Sunday” job, Caliendo spent five years doing impressions on FOX’s “MADtv.” In 2007 and 2008, he performed his impersonations on his own show, “Frank TV,” which aired on TBS. From 2009 to 2011 he had a show at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Caliendo’s list of famous impressions includes: Charles Barkley, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Dr. Phil, Jay Leno, Terry Bradshaw, Bill Clinton, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Bill Cosby, Sean Connery, Jonathan Winters, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Walken, Andy Rooney and William Shatner, among others. He is probably best know for his impersonator of football commentator John Madden and President George W. Bush.
For his Rialto appearance, Caliendo will present a mix of old and new.
“I have to do the impressions that people came to see — George Bush, John Madden — if I don’t do them, people get upset,” he said. “It used to be I’d do 20 minutes on them. Now I do maybe two minutes on Bush and five minutes on Madden.”
And although Caliendo enjoys his career, he puts his family first.
“Several years ago they wanted me to do ‘The Tonight Show,’ but it was on my daughter’s first birthday,” Caliendo said, “and I said ‘I can’t do it.’ At the time I thought I may have missed an opportunity, but I’ve been on ‘The Tonight Show’ six times since then.
“Once I got married and had kids, that was the most important thing,” Caliendo said of his wife, Michele, and his two children. “I am happy to be doing what I am doing. I get to work on math homework with my kids.”