David Frye reported dead
What makes a good impressionist?
Part of it is vocal skill, of course. But another important part is material. It’s why they aren’t called “imitators”. If you can do the voice, but can’t capture something about your subject’s personality, can’t bring out the humor and the reality, you’re just a tape recorder. People don’t want to see you be the other person…they want to see you understand the other person.
David Frye was one of the great political impressionists (although he didn’t just do political figures). He’s probably most associated with Richard Nixon, although even on albums like Radio Free Nixon, he did other people, too.
has a nice video montage which includes him doing today’s figures (in voiceover)…Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, both Presidents Bush.
Frye was what political comedy can be: not mean, not taking the easy road, but accurate and funny in a way that shows us the flaws…and the humanity…of public figures.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.