Frank Caliendo seemed and sounded rather composed for a guy about to perform his first major TV stand-up special and launch his own series on TBS. Frank TV debuts Nov. 20.
And Caliendo had the same reaction to his incessant TBS promo ads that you likely had. "To all of you who watch baseball, ‘I’m sorry,’" he said. Those were his first words to me backstage, and they’re how he opens his stand-up special "All Over the Place" that airs tonight on TBS. To those who don’t know Caliendo, the ads may not have given you an accurate portrayal of what he’s like onstage or what you should expect out of his sketch show. "No, not at all," he agreed. "But it wasn’t supposed to. It was supposed to get you curious as to what this show was going to be."
That’s what his stand-up special aims to do. "It’s an introduction to me," Caliendo said. "I did a Comedy Central Presents, which was about 30 percent of what I wanted to do."
The other 70 percent showcases his wide and dizzying array of voices, some of which football fans already know from seeing Caliendo on FOX’s NFL pre-game show (Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson appear in a taped bit for his special) or at one of his club shows over the years. The title refers to his style of celebrity impersonation. "My idols were always Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams, and they were always all over the place," Caliendo said. And so is he. During the course of an hour, you’ll hear him introduce his versions of President George W. Bush, Charles Barkley, Bill Clinton, Yoda, Jay Leno, Ahnold, Al Pacino, Jeff Goldblum, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Andy Rooney, Jim Rome, Robin Williams and of course, John Madden. "If I don’t do certain things like John Madden, people get mad," Caliendo told me. The real difference between Caliendo and most other impersonators is how he uses his voices in making observations about the people, and later taking what could be a simple joke and weaving it through several voices for his callbacks and tags. He said it keeps it fun for him. "I didn’t want to do 10 to 15 minutes of one impersonation straight," he said. "I’m trying to get that going earlier in the special, introducing them at a more frantic pace."