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Voices Carry

MADtv funnyman makes an impression.


Former MADtv cast member Frank Caliendo ranks among America’s top impressionists. He shrugs off the distinction, but David Letterman is so enamored with Caliendo’s John Madden impersonation that the late-night host tapped the comic to provide NFL commentary -- in character, of course -- on his show. “It’s funny how Dave sits there and pretends it really is Madden,” says Caliendo.

Caliendo’s repertoire includes imitations of President Bush, James Brown, and even Letterman’s rival, Jay Leno. He has plenty of less-famous people in his inventory too -- like sports talker Jim Rome. But, says Caliendo, “Only 30 percent of the people get it.” Apparently, Rome himself isn’t one of them. “He doesn’t hate it,” he says. “I think it’s because I was on MADtv. Whenever we made fun of someone, they’d get a little angry. If it were Saturday Night Live, they’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s SNL.’”
June 8-9, 7:30 & 10:15 p.m.

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