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Caliendo makes an impression

Tae Andrews | Monday, November 26, 2007

Frank Caliendo is a man of many faces. And voices.

The former MADtv star known for his impersonations now has his own show, Frank TV, which airs Tuesdays on TBS. Frank TV premiered last Tuesday to mixed results.

While the network’s slogan reads “very funny,” Frank TV doesn’t quite live up to the billing. The show isn’t quite the comedic tour de force the many commercials hyping it up have advertised it to be.

Instead, the sketch comedy show feels much like a drawn-out version of its commercials, with Caliendo working the microphone for a few minutes before cutting away to a skit featuring Frank performing a cameo as one celebrity or another.

However, Frank Caliendo himself delivers every bit with his impressions. Among others, Caliendo’s spot-on renditions include John Madden, Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Caliendo’s impersonation of George Bush is so good it’s eerie – he has the man down to his facial expressions. Caliendo’s versions of the artist formerly known as the Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley and the cartoonish Robin Williams are also hilarious.

During one skit on last week’s show, Caliendo impersonated the entire cast of Seinfeld, including Jerry himself, George Costanza, Elaine and, of course, Cosmo Kramer, to hilarious effect. (You can check out the footage for yourself on YouTube).

Unfortunately, Frank TV’s writers (are they on strike?) don’t hold up to their end of the bargain, and many of the sketches simply fall flat on their own humorous two feet. Even so, Caliendo’s on-the-money impersonations make the show worth a watch, if only to see him contorting his fleshy face into any one of his many hilarious personas.