There’s something that strikes me whenever I watch a YouTube video of impressionists, amateur or professional; it’s a quiet moment of hope, just before I apply the disembodied pressure to the ubiquitous red triangle which causes entertainment to flow over the Interweb into my “device”. It’s the hope that whatever happens, the person imitated will not be being somehow pilloried by the impressionist, but, I don’t know… treated with fairness and good humor. Appreciated, not excoriated.
The thing is, we all sort of “understand” how all celebrities are fair game; they’ve had the audacity, opportunity or just plain good or bad luck to be thrust into the public eye, so it’s just their own hard luck if they don’t like what that public expressed by that massive eye wants to hear some impressionist say about them.
But it’s clear to me that some celebs get unfairly mocked, just as some get deservedly mocked. Who decides? So far, whatever racks up the most views seems to be the clearest indication that the deserved mockery is just fun, unfair as it may be from the viewpoint of the mocked.
I get asked to do celebrity voices every day for some professional application, movie trailers, pitches, comedy on late night chat shows, and animation. Most of it is “legit”, which is to say, there’s a more or less good reason for it, and within the boundaries, at least, of good taste.
But sometimes the script that comes across my laptop is so opinionated, grotesque, biting, harsh or cruel that I find I just can’t flow it any power. I pass on it.
At the same time, I recognize that there have been numerous projects I have voiced that others of a different political or social disposition as I might find offensive. The line is frequently blurred.
In a contentious election year, such as we find ourselves in at the moment, the invective, coated over with a flimsy layer of comedy, can be quite ugly indeed, but only to people holding the opposite political view; it’s perfectly composed for the rival audience.
What’s a professional to do? Here’s one offering which, hopefully does not damage the target, but gives my audience a moment’s respite: Trump Calls Jon Snow.
I guess the old “Do unto others” applies, as it generally does. What do you think?