TV / Video

James Adomian’s Bernie Sanders impersonation takes over @midnight

Donald Trump impersonations are a dime a dozen, although, obviously any Trump impersonator or The Donald himself would tell you that’s worth billions of dimes.

But what about Bernie Sanders? The independent U.S. Senator from Vermont who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 has seen his campaign gather steam and support over the course of the summer. And this week, Sanders found himself competing on the late-night Comedy Central game show, @midnight with Chris Hardwick — only that wasn’t Bernie, but comedian James Adomian.

That’s testament both to the rising popularity of Sanders and to Adomian’s impersonation skills that the show would allow him to perform on the half-hour entirely in character. Sure, @midnight hosted a Reno 911! episode, and has costumed its comedians for Halloween, but the former features the show’s executive producer Tom Lennon and the latter offered mere costumes and not full-on impersonations.

Here’s a clip of Adomian as Sanders from Wednesday’s episode, alongside comedians Heather Anne Campbell and Jon Daly as themselves.

And beforehand, he was promoting his appearance via “socialist” media:

“If you look at not just me, but at anybody doing an impression, you can tell when the comedian is drawing blood and when they’re not,” Adomian told Bloomberg in June. “When I’m doing an impression this way, nobody’s going to think I’m Bernie Sanders. They’re going to see how I perceive him and how I choose to bring him to life. I like this guy. You’re presumably going to see that. When he’s doing interviews, he doesn’t answer the question the way it’s wanted. He doesn’t get railroaded. He sort of corrects the interviewer. I love that. It’s been a while since I had a character or an impression that was juicy enough to let me improvise like that.”

Adomian’s take on Sanders also took on Dan Harmon’s Harmontown live show and podcast back in May for Episode 147:

So who else out there among us has jumped into the campaign to portray America’s favorite Bernie?

Kenji Lee took to the streets of Compton as Sanders, which made for a multi-level multi-ethnic culture clash of comedy.

Sean Crespo, who appeared in his natural habitat of stand-up comedy as a comedian in FOX’s Gotham last season, impersonated Sanders for Internet Action Force to review the finale of this summer’s edition of The Bachelorette.

And back in 2011, even U.S. Sen. Al Franken trotted out a Sanders impersonation to describe a conversation while speaking at an event in Vermont.

Who will play Sanders on Saturday Night Live this season, though? Fred Armisen has done so in the past, but he’s not a regular cast member any longer — although he does work part-time in the building at 30 Rock’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Which comedian’s Bernie Sanders do you want to see more in the coming year? Place your votes in the comments!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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