Few things are more memorable in comedy than a great impression. Saturday Night Live (and other Late Night Shows) is infamous for featuring comedians who are amazing at creating impressions of other celebrities and sometimes even a character from another television show. There are so many great ones out there, but we did our best to narrow it down to a few of our personal favorites. Here they are in no particular order.
Alec Baldwin- Donald Trump
Alec Baldwin takes on his infamous role as Donald Trump. While he has done many sketches impersonating the President, our personal favorite is the featured video of the town hall debate sketch. In the sketch, Alec Baldwin manages to capture the essence of Trump with his own signature blend of ignorance and lack of spatial awareness- making his impression one for the books.
Kate McKinnon- Hillary Clinton
Kate McKinnon is well known for her impressions. One that certainly stands out is her spot on impression of Hillary Clinton. She does an impeccable job of maintaining a firm stance on posture while attempting to relax with a drink in hand. Not to mention Hillary Clinton herself makes an appearance in this sketch, making it even more worth the watch.
Melissa McCarthy- Sean Spicer
We’re not quite sure how she does it, but Melissa McCarthy nails her impersonation of Sean Spicer. Between chewing gum and threatening the audience to riding around on a mobile podium- this impersonation is a tough one to beat. She has since come back to SNL for other installments of the Sean Spicer career meltdown saga.
Jay Pharoah- Kat Williams, Kevin Hart, Dave Chapelle, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Tucker, Hannibal Burres, Bernie Mac
When it comes to Jay Pharoah it is hard to pick just one impression. He does nothing but perfect every single impersonation he throws out there on stage. This particular video is excellent because it showcases many of his impersonations of fellow comedians. It also just happens to take place at a Secret Meeting of Black Comedians in Hollywood, or so he says.
Vanessa Bayer- Rachel Green
In this clip from Weekend Update, Vanessa Bayer does her impression of Rachel Green from Friends. She pulls off everything from the hair style and vernacular to even random scene transitions. Jennifer Aniston makes an appearance in this clip to bring the 90s nostalgia factor to life.
Bill Hader- Fred Armisen
During an interview with Conan in 2014, Bill Hader explained how, on SNL, he and the cast members do impressions of one another. Conan asked Bill who he likes impersonating, and he explained that he does a good one of his friend, Fred Armisen. He parodies the comedian by using over-the-top hand motions to explain his love for Portland and all the hipster things he enjoys doing there.
Will Ferrell- George W. Bush
In an SNL sketch, Will Ferrell does a hilarious impression of George W. Bush addressing the American people. The clip opens with Ferrell standing amongst massive green space in rural Texas. He talks about Global Warming, and attempts to persuade the public that it is all a hoax, but eventually comes to the conclusion that he, is completely clueless and admits, “I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.” Ferrell’s word choice along with his southern accent makes the impression hilariously spot on.
Jimmy Fallon- Bruce Springsteen
In 2013, on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show, he did a near perfect impression of Bruce Springsteen while singing with the boss himself. The two dressed up as young Bruce Springsteen and did a Born to Run parody addressing the Fort Lee, NJ bridge scandal. Fallon captured the iconic singer’s distinctive voice in this hilarious parody.
Tina Fey- Sarah Palin
In this SNL cold open, Tina Fey does her famous impression of Sarah Palin as she and Amy Poehler (who acts as Hilary Clinton), address the nation. Fey has a spot on imitation of Pain’s distinct accent, and specific political views.
Larry David- Bernie Sanders
In this SNL Democratic Debate, Larry David does his impression of Bernie Sanders. He imitates the energetic politician by coming on stage speaking in his strong New York accent, and warning the crowd, “if you don’t mind, I’m going to dial it right up to a ten.” He proceeds to go on a rant about how “WE ARE DOOMED.”
What are some of your favorite comedic impressions? You may be able to catch some on stage here at Stand Up NY!