Impression extraordinaire Frank Caliendo, 42, dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss his illustrious career and upcoming shows, among other topics.
“I started out being forced into sports,” Caliendo said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I still feel like I am sometimes, especially now where I make fun of ESPN and stuff like that. It’s just so easy when there’s so many characters. There’s more characters on ESPN than Cartoon Network. (Jon) Gruden’s the best. People say he’s the new John Madden. I’m like, no, he’s the opposite. John Madden would tell you things you already knew: He’d say things like, ‘Hey, that guy’s got mud on his jersey.’ Gruden is more like Dennis Miller (in that he doesn’t know the references).”
Then there’s Chris Berman. Caliendo said his Berman impersonation used to come out as Al Pacino.
“Chris Berman, it’s not even words anymore,” Caliendo said. “I just do grunts.”
Others, such as Terry Bradshaw, apparently don’t like when Calinedo impersonates him.
“People always worry that it’s going to hurt their business,” Caliendo said. “People think it’s going to make it worse. I think it does the opposite. People to say to me, ‘I can’t take Jon Gruden seriously anymore.’ Well, he’s nuts. He’s always like that. He’s got that (crazy) look on his face.”
When Caliendo unveils his impersonations in front of the person he’s impersonating, he often gets the same reaction: “That’s pretty funny, but I don’t sound like that.”
“Sometimes they’re right,” Caliendo said. “Like with Adam Schefter, it’s been getting better and better and better. I still don’t have it 100 percent, but it’s the cadence. Adam’s always going to leave himself an out to make sure that you know he’s (gotten his information) from sources. It should be true, but it could be (wrong).”
You know what Caliendo is talking about. “According to my sources, at this particular time, it appears, there could be . . .”
At the end of the day, though, Caliendo knows how hard it is to work on television, especially as a color commentator.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to be a color analyst on television because you have to pretend to yourself that you haven’t said all this stuff a million times and talk to the regular person when you know so much more,” Caliendo explained. “And you have to fill time and pick and choose the things to say. That’s what I always said about Madden and Gruden and a lot of these guys. Look, I wish I could do what they do. Instead, I was a goofball to start, so i just make them bigger goofballs.”
For information about Caliendo’s upcoming performances, please visit www.frankcaliendo.com.