I'm not talking about your Uncle Bob here (though I silently doubt that his Walken is amazing). I'm talking about comedians who do impressions. Oh, and also the people WHO LOVE HEARING THESE IMPRESSIONS - you're a big part of this problem.
Before I go on, let me state that I absolutely can admit when I hear a great impression of someone. Bill Hader's version of Alan Alda? Get out of here. I will be the first one to stand and say, "Hey! That was great! Good on you." I cannot, however, encourage comedians on a stage who do them in excess. If you have more than five seconds of impressions in a set? Walk slowly into the ocean.
I wish I could shake every comedian alive and beg them not to do them - for three main reasons.
- Impressions are never funny. A "funny impression" of a person does not exist. If it's a good one, then it's just accurate. And if it's accurate - then cool, you have the ability to sound like that other guy. Wicked. And if it's a bad impression? Oh man, I couldn't hate you more. You're not even good at the thing that you think I want to see?! Fuck.
- The thought of someone sitting in their room, practicing some other person's voice or mannerisms makes me very sad. I apologize if that sounds condescending, but it's really fucking depressing to me. (Unless you're considering yourself an impressionist who ONLY does impressions, that is. But that's never the case.) They could be using that time to fucking think up original or personal insights to offer people, maybe.
- Jokes and stories are memorable - your fucking DeNiro is not. I will likely vomit if I'm subjected to it. It's come to a point now that when I see someone even slightly attempt any kind of impression on stage, my eyes close gently as my mind shuts down in a furious rage. It's at that moment that I'll definitely think this person is awful to the core and also sort of dumb, for some reason. And I don't want to hold that prejudice! Years of witnessing impressions has forced me into this, unfortunately.
I understand why people want to get good at impressions - it's because almost everyone fucking loves hearing them. Why the hell is this? I wish I could fucking tell you, but I have no idea.
Oh hey, you know that guy in that movie you loved? Well, we don't have him. Yeah, he's crazy busy. But we got this other guy... and you're gonna be blown away by how much they sound alike. Like, it's eerie. AND IT WILL MAKE YOU LOSE YOUR MIND IN EXCITEMENT.
And I know that I can't stop them. At this very moment, somewhere out there someone is perfecting the hell out of their goddam Seinfeld and there's nothing I can do about it. Makes me so mad.