Love it or hate it: Impersonators

by Patty Templeton

Love itSome call them creepy, but dudes, I totally love impersonators. It doesn’t matter what kind of impersonator it is.

In a bygone era, I had a fella who did a spot on Christopher Walken. Not gonna lie, it made me love him a little more.

Once, standing outside of Graceland in the early twilight, I met a gaggle of Eastern European and Asian Elvis impersonators. We were all forlorn that we’d made it to Memphis much too late for the tour. I have archived the lovely sight of three Japanese Elvises singing “Are You Lonesome Tonight” as they swaggered into the Tennessee evening.

I am a fan of people bringing magic into the world any way they are able. For some folks, that means creating fresh music, prose, inventions, and so on. For others, it means passionately reconstructing the personas of the (in)famous so they can be experienced by fresh generations.

Now, if you excuse me, I’d like to go find an Abraham Lincoln impersonator and see if that son of a gun can lend any wisdom to the world at hand.

Patty TempletonHate itYou know that theory that everyone has a doppelgänger? That’s always made me pretty nervous – imagine someone who looks exactly like you running around who-knows-where doing who-knows-what.

That discomfort holds true for me when it comes to celebrity impersonators: Those people who, if you squint just hard enough, can bear a passing resemblance to someone famous (either living or not so much). And it’s always a creepy, super-exaggerated form of that celeb; never, say, Johnny Depp in sweats or Britney in a bathrobe and curlers. It’s always spangly and jangly and waaaay overdone.

And if you run into someone pimping themselves as Michael Jackson or Liberace, Madonna or Cher, do you ask them for an autograph? Do they sign their real name or that of the celebrities whose identities they’ve kind of boosted? Either way, it’s a total bunch of crap, and probably not worth much on eBay.

I will, however, give credit to character impersonators – like the guy I saw a couple of years ago in front of Caesar’s Palace in Vegas dressed up like Chucky. He was pretty good, except he was kind of tall and used a walker.

Katie Chicklinski-Cahill


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