Impressionist (entertainment)
An impressionist or a mimic is a performer whose act consists of imitating the voice and mannerisms of others. The word usually refers to a professional comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

/entertainer who specializes in such performances and has developed a wide repertoire of impressions, including adding to them, often to keep pace with current events. Impressionist performances are a classic Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...


Someone who imitates one particular person without claiming a wide range, such as a lookalike, is instead called an impersonator
An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for someone to be an impersonator, some common ones being as follows:...

. In very broad contexts, "impersonator" may be substituted for "impressionist" where the distinction between the two is less important than avoiding confusion with the use of "impressionist" in painting
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

 and music
Impressionist music
Impressionism in music was a tendency in European classical music, mainly in France, which appeared in the late nineteenth century and continued into the middle of the twentieth century. Similarly to its precursor in the visual arts, musical impressionism focuses on a suggestion and an atmosphere...


Usually the most "impressive" aspect of the performance is the vocal fidelity to the target – usually a politician or a famous person. Props may also be employed, such as glasses or hats, but these are now considered somewhat old-fashioned and cumbersome: the voice is expected to carry the act. There is a difference between being able to do "impressions" and being an "impressionist", which usually refers to a stage performer.

Because animated cartoon
Animated cartoon
An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

s often lampoon
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 famous people (sometimes obliquely), a facility for impressions is one of the marks of a successful voice actor. Many cartoon characters are intended to be recognized by the audience as evoking a specific celebrity, even when not explicitly named. With such indirect references, the entertainment value does not lie so much in the technical achievement of exactly reproducing the voice so much as in merely making it recognizable; the joke lies in the reference to a celebrity, not in its rendition.

In Britain

During the 1970s British television
British television
Public television broadcasting started in the United Kingdom in 1936, and now has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channelsTaking the base Sky EPG TV Channels. A breakdown is impossible due to a) the number of...

 was awash with impressions of Frank Spencer, a character from a hugely popular British sitcom
British sitcom
A British sitcom tends, as it does in most other countries, to be based on a family, workplace or other institution, where the same group of contrasting characters is brought together in each episode. Unlike American sitcoms, where twenty or more episodes in a season is the norm, British sitcoms...

 called Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em was a BBC situation comedy, written by Raymond Allen and starring Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice.The series followed the accident-prone Frank Spencer and his tolerant wife Betty through Frank's various attempts to hold down a job, which frequently end in...

. This may have been because Frank had such distinctive mannerisms and dress sense which gave performers a number of visual shortcuts to cover for failings in their abilities. For about a decade, no British impressionist's act was complete without Frank.

From the mid 1960s to the early 1980s Mike Yarwood
Mike Yarwood
Mike Yarwood, OBE is an English impressionist and comedian. He was one of Britain's top-rated entertainers, regularly appearing on television from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s. He left Bredbury Secondary Modern School in 1956 and worked as a messenger and then salesman at a garment warehouse...

 dominated the impressionist scene, with his own TV shows regularly attracting more than 10 million viewers. Impressionists were very popular on the televised talent show
Talent show
A talent show is an event where participants perform their talent or talents of acting, singing, dancing, acrobatics, drumming, martial arts, playing an instrument, and other activities to showcase a unique form of talent, sometimes for a reward, trophy or prize...

s of the 1970s; Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry
Lenworth George "Lenny" Henry, is a British actor, writer, comedian and occasional television presenter.- Early life :...

 is a notable example of an act that developed from this.

In the 1990s there was a certain absence of impressionists on television, with the demise of Spitting Image
Spitting Image
Spitting Image is a British satirical puppet show that aired on the ITV network from 1984 to 1996. It was produced by Spitting Image Productions for Central Television. The series was nominated for 10 BAFTA Awards, winning one for editing in 1989....

and Rory Bremner
Rory Bremner
Roderick "Rory" Keith Ogilvy Bremner, FKC is a Scottish impressionist, playwright and comedian, noted for his work in political satire...

 mainly concentrating on political figures (notably John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

, Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 and also members of the Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

). Then in 1999 came Alistair McGowan's Big Impression with Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan is a British impressionist, stand-up comic, actor, singer and writer best known to British audiences for The Big Impression , which was, for four years, one of BBC1's top-rating comedy programmes - winning numerous awards, including a BAFTA in 2003...

 and Ronni Ancona
Ronni Ancona
Ronni Ancona is a Scottish actress, impressionist and author. Ancona won the Best TV Comedy Actress award at the 2003 British Comedy Awards for her work in Big Impression.- Career :...

, and in 2002 came Dead Ringers
Dead Ringers (comedy)
Dead Ringers is a UK radio and television comedy impressions broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and later BBC Two. The programme was devised by producer Bill Dare and developed with Jon Holmes, Andy Hurst and Simon Blackwell. It starred Jon Culshaw, Jan Ravens, Phil Cornwell, Kevin Connelly and Mark Perry...

. Both these shows featured impressions of celebrities and television personalities, and also sporting figures on the former and politicians on the latter.

The ICONS in London which ran at The Venue at Leicester Square January 4 – February 28, 2007, starring notable, American-born English reared impressionist Greg London
Greg London
Greg London is an American singer, entertainer and impressionist. After a solo hit show in London's West End, he enjoyed a lengthy residency in Reno, Nevada before announcing his move to the Las Vegas Strip in mid 2010.-Early life:...

, is the first original musical that deals with impressions in depth. The book is by Greg London, West End theater director, David Taylor and London playwright,Paul Miller. In 2009 new impressions show The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson
The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson
The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson is a British comedy sketch show which stars impressionists Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson. A second series was broadcast between 14 November 2010 - 23 December 2010 and a third series started on the 26 October 2011 at 8.30pm on BBC One...

 was a big hit, which starred impressionists Jon Culshaw
Jon Culshaw
Jonathan Peter Culshaw is an English impressionist and comedian. He was educated at St Bede's RC High School, Ormskirk and St John Rigby College, in Orrell, Wigan....

 and Debra Stephenson
Debra Stephenson
Debra Stephenson is an English actress, comedian, impressionist and singer.-Career:At the age of fourteen Stephenson appeared on BBC TV's Opportunity Knocks, winning her way through to the All-Winners' Final, broadcast live from the London Palladium...

 donning Britian's most famous faces. The programme started airing its 3rd Series in 2011.

In North America

From the 1970s, Rich Little
Rich Little
Richard Caruthers "Rich" Little is a Canadian-American impressionist and voice actor. He has long been known throughout the world as a top impersonator of famous people, resulting in his nickname, "The Man of a Thousand Voices"....

 (Canadian expatriate working in America) has been the pre-eminent impressionist, mimicking politicians and celebrities. Performers in the Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 cast have regularly performed impressions of politicians and celebrities. SNL alum and current host of NBC's Late Night
Late Night (NBC)
Late Night is an American late-night talk and variety show airing on NBC since 1982. Late Night has been hosted by David Letterman , Conan O'Brien , and Jimmy Fallon...

, Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon
James Thomas "Jimmy" Fallon, Jr. is an American actor, comedian, singer, musician and television host. He currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show that airs Monday through Friday on NBC...

, rose to fame with stand-up comedy acts featuring him doing impressions of many celebrities in varying scenarios such as auditioning for a Troll doll
Troll doll
Troll dolls, originally known as Leprechauns and also known as Dam dolls, Gonks, Wishniks, Treasure Trolls, and Norfins, became one of America's biggest toy fads from the autumn of 1963 through 1965...

 commercial. Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey, CBE is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and crooner. He grew up in California, and began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s, before being cast in supporting roles in film and television...

 is also known for his uncanny impressions of other movie stars, and during his appearance on Inside The Actor's Studio, demonstrated nine of these upon request, including Kathryn Hepburn, Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Tony Montana in Scarface, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy and Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, though he has also appeared...

 and Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon
John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III was an American actor and musician. He starred in more than 60 films including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Mister Roberts , Days of Wine and Roses, The Great Race, Irma la Douce, The Odd Couple, Save the Tiger John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III (February 8, 1925June...

. Frank Caliendo
Frank Caliendo
Frank Caliendo is an American comedian and impressionist, best known for his work on the Fox Network television series MADtv, and as the in-house prognosticator for Fox NFL Sunday. In 2007 and 2008, he performed his impersonations on his own show, Frank TV, which aired on TBS...

 has recently come to fame for his impressions as well.

Some impressionists have more specialized acts in the art. For example, the Canadian comedian, André-Philippe Gagnon
André-Philippe Gagnon
André-Philippe Gagnon is a Canadian comedian and impressionist. He has been married to Marie-Claude Chantal since the late 1980s....

 and the American Greg London
Greg London
Greg London is an American singer, entertainer and impressionist. After a solo hit show in London's West End, he enjoyed a lengthy residency in Reno, Nevada before announcing his move to the Las Vegas Strip in mid 2010.-Early life:...

 are impressionists who impersonate celebrity singing voices. Legends In Concert
Legends In Concert
Legends In Concert is a live tribute artist production with shows primarily located in Las Vegas, Nevada, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Branson, Missouri, Mashantucket, Connecticut, and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Legends In Concert features live concerts paying tribute to musical icons of today and...

 produces musical impressionist shows known as tribute artist productions.

In India

Nerella Venumadhav imitates world politicians, film artists,singers,poets, scenes from Shakespeare's plays, popular movies including musical notes. He imitates the nativity, general characters and natural and mechanical sounds.

In Hong Kong, China and Taiwan

The entertainment industries in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan are famous for impersonations by singers. Jacky Cheung
Jacky Cheung
Jacky Cheung is a Hong Kong singer-songwriter and actor. The Chinese language media refers to him, Aaron Kwok, Andy Lau and Leon Lai as the Cantopop Four Heavenly Kings , with more than 60 million records sold as of 2000....

 and Andy Lau
Andy Lau
Andy Lau MH, JP is a Hong Kong Cantopop singer, actor, and film producer. Lau has been one of Hong Kong's most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time...

 are often considered the Elvis and Michael Jackson of many professional and amateur singers as role models for impersonating their voices. However, even well established singers like Adam Cheng
Adam Cheng
Adam Cheng Siu-chow is a Hong Kong TVB actor and Cantopop singer.-Career:Cheng started his career in the 1970s, where he gained a reputation for playing the lead roles in TVB Wuxia drama series based on the works of Louis Cha and Gu Long, such as The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber and Chor Lau Heung...

 is considered one of the first-generation impersonators. Notable singers/impersonators/comedians include Johnson Lee
Johnson Lee
-TV series:-Film:-External links:** at the Hong Kong Movie DataBase...

, Wong Cho Lam
Wong Cho Lam
Wong Cho Lam is a Hong Kong artiste currently working for TVB. He works as a stage actor, stage director, television actor, voice actor , DJ, television host, composer, lyricist, and singer. He graduated from The Hong Kong Academy For Performing Arts in 2003 with First Honors in Bachelor of Arts...

, Show Luo
Show Luo
Show Luo also known as Xiao Zhu was born on 30 July 1979. He is a Taiwanese entertainer: Mandopop singer, dancer, host and actor. He has been dubbed "Dancing King of Asia" for his dancing skills.-Biography:...

, Eason Chan
Eason Chan
Eason Chan Yik-shun is a prominent male singer in Hong Kong's music industry. Undoubtedly one of the most dominant male singers in the post-1997 era of Hong Kong music industry. Eason Chan has been praised by Time magazine as a front runner in the next generation of Cantopop...

, and JJ Lin
JJ Lin
JJ Lin is a Singaporean Mandopop Singer-songwriter, Composer and Actor based in Taiwan. JJ Lin is managed by Ocean Butterflies. Lin won Best New Artist for his work on his debut album Music Voyager at the 15th Golden Melody Awards in 2004....

 and many more.

See also

  • Look-alike
    A look-alike is a person who closely resembles another person. In popular Western culture, a look-alike is a person who bears a close physical resemblance to a celebrity, politician or member of royalty. Many look-alikes earn a living by making guest appearances at public events or performing on...

  • Impersonator
    An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for someone to be an impersonator, some common ones being as follows:...

  • Celebrity impersonator
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.