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Ensemble Monologue
July 21, 2011 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Actor Jim Meskimen reads Clarence's monologue, slightly adapted, from Shakespeare's Richard III [text] in 25 celebrity impressions. Bonus points for using Ron Howard's voice for the line "Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days," and Barack Obama's for "Such terrible impression made the dream." (via @craigyferg)

Jim Meskimen on IMDB. You may remember Jim Meskimen as Will Smith's philopsphy teacher. (He had more hair then.)

A more serious and Oscar-nominated reading of Clarence's dream from the 1995 film.
posted by maryr (28 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unless I was listening critically, I would have assumed that was actually Dubya. Spot on.
posted by Trurl at 6:42 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was really great! Made me smile, thanks. The Garrison Keiller made me laugh out loud.
posted by tristeza at 6:51 PM on July 21, 2011


I don't know why I never thought of it before, but this clip makes clear just what we've lost in having missed our chance to see Woody Allen as Hamlet.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:54 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


First thing I thought when he did Craig Ferg. was that "Wow, I wonder if he knows about this," and then, coming back to this thread, I see your via. Fantastic.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:06 PM on July 21, 2011


Jim Meskimen is the greatest improviser I've ever seen, and a criminally underappreciated soul. I used to go see him perform in improvised one-act plays in NYC. He was funny, of course, but he could also break your heart. Every time I see him in mass media I give a cheer.
posted by e.e. coli at 7:15 PM on July 21, 2011


Everybody thinks they can do Christopher Walken but this bloke can actually do Christopher Walken. Wow.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:35 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's the speed and seamless transition between the voices that is so amazing.
posted by piratebowling at 7:42 PM on July 21, 2011


Thank you so much for sharing this. Amazing. The impression of Woody Allen was pitch perfect!
posted by vac2003 at 8:28 PM on July 21, 2011


I have to second the youtube comment about who would do an impression of George Clooney, and do it so well.

I didn't think Morgan Freeman was very like, but the rest were fantastic.

Something else I thought was amazing was how his face just... changed with each transition.
posted by winna at 8:56 PM on July 21, 2011


His Obama impression was not as good as I hoped it would be. Otherwise, excellent!
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 9:14 PM on July 21, 2011


His Droopy Dog made me smile. Low hanging fruit, maybe, but nevertheless charming.

I have to agree about the uncanny Clooney impression.
posted by Phire at 9:50 PM on July 21, 2011


That guy is AMAZING !
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:02 PM on July 21, 2011


I didn't think Morgan Freeman was very like

Just imagine Morgan Freeman slightly sped up, or playing through a tiny speaker, and it's a pretty good impression.
The Paul Giamatti made me laugh a lot.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:04 AM on July 22, 2011


Hehe! lovely, thanks for posting this! I only know the voices of half of those people but those I know are definitely spot on impressions, not overdone, just right.

His Obama impression was not as good as I hoped it would be.

Hmm I got the impression (eh sorry) he did it on purpose, because of the line he is using for Obama's voice? ("such terrible impression")
posted by bitteschoen at 1:28 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


That doesn't sound like Clooney's voice at all to me. But otherwise, a pretty skillful mix of really great impressions. And, I agree, I think the terrible impression line is why the Obama sounds terrible.
posted by crossoverman at 1:35 AM on July 22, 2011


Something else I thought was amazing was how his face just... changed with each transition.

I have heard impressionists talk about how the facial expressions, the shape they pull their mouth into, makes up an integral part of the voice. If you want to sound like George W. Bush, you have to kinda look like George W. Bush to do it properly.
posted by Jimbob at 1:36 AM on July 22, 2011


Wow, this was amazing. I kind of hope he does an FMRI sometime while doing impressions just so science can get a look at his brain.

If you want to sound like George W. Bush, you have to kinda look like George W. Bush to do it properly.

*shudders*
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:46 AM on July 22, 2011


That was a perfect Clooney but a terrible Howard.
posted by DU at 2:52 AM on July 22, 2011


Brilliant! (although you may not be able to tell, I just typed that exactly as Mike Myers would).
posted by TheShadowKnows at 3:05 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kept switching it off, coming back and reading about how good parts I hadn't gotten to yet, and kept giving it another chance. I think he managed to make a few accurate sounds, but on the whole, kinda missed all the marks. His voice is too high for some, too fast for others, but here's to the hope he finds some work via this gimmick.
posted by crunchland at 3:53 AM on July 22, 2011


Well true they may not all be the best impressions ever but I guess he's at his best when he's doing the show, where he'd have more time to get into each single character and voice and mannerisms etc.

These are one after the other, switching very quick, and reciting Shakespeare... and it all looks like it's all done in one single shooting, no breaks. Sounds amazing enough to pull off really.
posted by bitteschoen at 4:06 AM on July 22, 2011


Most of his impressions are pretty good, but a few are amazing (I guess that's true of most impressionists). I was mildly impressed until the Garrison Keillor, which floored me.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:39 AM on July 22, 2011


He also does a pretty good Sting.
posted by Lucinda at 6:55 AM on July 22, 2011


(And the "I KNOW" after Craig Ferguson's part is what made me laugh out loud [literally])
posted by Lucinda at 6:59 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm impressed by the rapid change-up between personas, and the way each persona is instantly recognizable (except maybe Jack Nicholson—I thought that was weak). But he doesn't really change the timber of his voice in most cases—he's "selling" the persona with the cadences and speech mannerisms peculiar to each.
posted by adamrice at 7:50 AM on July 22, 2011


Thanks for posting that. It was wonderful. I love good impressions used creatively.
posted by zzazazz at 9:05 AM on July 22, 2011


Yeah, the "I know!" is what makes the Ferguson bit work.
posted by maryr at 11:50 AM on July 22, 2011


Impressive
posted by Bun Surnt at 1:03 PM on July 22, 2011


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