Election 2016's Best Donald Trump Impressions, Ranked
With the 2016 presidential election looming, many actors and comedians have capitalized on campaign headlines by masquerading as the Republican party's nominee: The Donald.
There's already a long history of Trump impressions, including gems from the likes of Rosie O'Donnell and Michael Scott. This year's jam-packed batch is similarly all over the map. A few of these more recent spoofs you might already well know (Dana Carvey, Meryl Streep, Jimmy Fallon, for example), while others (Kyle Dunnigan, Kenji Lee, Conan's bulldog) are fighting for the spotlight. There are long Trump impressions, short Trump impressions, and Trump impressions that channel the mogul's mannerisms better than others. A couple are so good they're scary, revealing that the best can top the real thing -- a persona that at times has proven to be a caricature of itself.
Below, we've cataloged the most noteworthy Trumps presented in the presidential race thus far, and evaluated them based on accuracy, hilarity, and potency. Some make America great again. Some don't:
36. Jeb BushJeb! Energy levels approaching zero.
Trumpiest line: "Trucks are strong. I will turn the National Mall into a luxury golf course, and China will respect that."
35. Rand PaulSlightly more trying here. Points for mouth movement.
Trumpiest line: "The reason I tell women they're ugly is because I'm so good-looking."
34. Dirk NowitzkiThe wig. SOS.
Trumpiest line: "I'm a real American -- trust me."
33. Mario BataliThe Halloween costume makes it look promising, right?
Trumpiest line: "I will make America grate again."
32. Bruce WillisComing more than a decade after his Letterman Trump, Willis recently brought another, more complete getup to Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show. When it comes to Trump, Willis is best known for the hairdo.
Trumpiest line: "[My hair] is wind-tunnel tested, it's spring-loaded, it's Scotchgarded, it's flame-retardant, the chicks dig it, and hey, Dave, you're fired!"
31. Ted CruzTechnically Cruz didn't impersonate his arch-nemesis here, but the former Republican contender did his best to capture the essence of Trump's campaign bullying. Taken from the seventh GOP debate, the above clip features the Nabisco 100 Calorie Pack version of insults Trump would have dealt, had the candidate attended the event.
Trumpiest line: "I'm a maniac, and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And Ben, you're a terrible surgeon."
30. This dogEffortless?
Trumpiest line: N/A
29. These kidsProps to the parents for teaching these kids the word "apocalypse" so early.
Trumpiest line: "Vote for Trump, and make America great again. Or you're gonna be a loser."
28. Hillary ClintonAnother politician-politician "impression," Clinton's Trump has been a work in progress for almost a year. The Washington Post video above shows the gradual evolution of her Trump, which made its best appearance during SNL's "Bar Talk" sketch.
Trumpiest line: "Hey, you're all losers."
27. Chris ChristieWhen it comes to the politicians, Christie probably has Trump down best. At least accent-wise.
Trumpiest line: "When I'm president, everyone is gonna get so rich, so incredibly rich, so incredibly wealthy, that we're never going to have to worry about Social Security again."
26. Rob MagnottiMagnotti maintains that Trump looks like an Olympic ski jumper during debates. To date, this is my favorite description.
Trumpiest line: "Everything I do is fantastic."
25. Conan O'Brien and Andy RichterIf you Dragon Ball Z-style fused Jim Carrey and Donald Trump, you'd get the famous lemon face Conan has been making for more than a decade. (Bonus: as you'll see here, Andy likes to help, too.)
Trumpiest line: "I'm an unqualified nuisance."
24. Roy Wood Jr.Dressed as the former Apprentice host, Wood does a verbatim reading of WaPo's Trump transcript. The Daily Show comedian's reenactment focuses on the tiny-hands segment and is mostly fantastic because of its lack of effort. (Side note: his wig definitely looks spring-loaded.)
Trumpiest line: All of it.
23. Seth MeyersThe Late Night host has walked his Trump out before -- notably during his scathing White House Correspondents Dinner onslaught from 2011. His might not be the best, but it's always fun to watch within the context of his bits.
Trumpiest line: "Due to a typo, we made America grape again."
22. George LopezAs Señor Trumpez, Lopez teamed up with Funny Or Die to show Americans what Trump's great wall plan would look like from the other side. The faux Univision interview abuses many of the Republican's political calling cards in ways that provide sobering terror, as well as humor. It's a shame we'll never see a Trump-Trumpez debate.
Trumpiest line: "In that wall, I'll put a big door. That big door will hit you on your big American ass when you leave Mexico!"
21. Kelly RipaRipa's impression isn't strong, but her look deserves credit. If another Austin Powers sequel ever arrives, the producers will need to get the talk-show host to play The Donald's Mini-Me.
Trumpiest line: "Have you seen the shelter I built? It's the biggest shelter, most beautiful shelter in Survivor history. It's drop-dead gorgeous!"
20. Kenji LeeThe voice might sound like Christian Bale as the Trump Knight, but the concept behind this send-up is what makes Lee's turn so killer. His costume also has winning eyebrows. (More here.)
Trumpiest line: "I love Muslim people -- just as long as I have their address."
19. Stephen ColbertTrump or stereotypical New Yorker trying to be Trump? The latter, probably. Physically, Colbert's doesn't contend with many impressions here. But nobody lampoons a topic or person with the same conceptual and intellectual vigor as the Late Show host. (Bonus: here's Colbert mocking Trump as a "Difference Maker.")
Trumpiest line: "I'm really rich, and I'm not ashamed of it. I'll say that to anybody. I'll say that to anybody but the IRS. And let me assure you -- unlike President Obama -- I would have defeated fictional robo-Hitler."
18. Jon StewartAlthough the retired Daily Show host sounds more like Paulie Walnuts than Trump, he gets the point across. His Lindsey Graham is better.
Trumpiest line: "I will build a wall around politics, and I will make politics pay for it."
17. Vincent VuotoVuoto takes the Billy Crystal-magazine approach here. The results are special.
Trumpiest line: "Next time the Pope really wants to call me out, I think that the Pope should come over to Trump Tower and challenge me to an arm-wrestling competition, and I think I'd whup him."
16. Jack AielloNot only does this eighth-grade grad have a fairly convincing Trump, he also wields an impressive Ted Cruz, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.
Trumpiest line: "I took Spanish, and let me just tell you, by the way, that it was fantastic. Muy fantastico."
15. Meryl StreepWhen Streep surprised the Delacorte Theater with her Trump, it played as more of a caricature than an impersonation. But that doesn't mean the extra-long tie, splotchy orange face, deflated pompadour, and stomach bulge weren't appreciated.
Trumpiest line: "You'll let me know, why it is all the women say no."
14. Ben PriceThis comedian's cadence is a little clunky, but the dedication to the joke and look, including the off-center tie, offers plenty in the way of redemption.
Trumpiest line: "Sometimes [online videos] take ages to buffer. It's like a steering wheel down my pants, it drives me nuts."
13. John Miller's returnHmm.
Trumpiest line: "He gets called by everyone in the book, in terms of women."
12. Kyle DunniganDunnigan's is a little nasally, but the rhythmic patterns and vocabulary are top notch. Also, bonus points for being extra offensive without being off-base, and for sneaking in a couple third-person references.
Trumpiest line: "Even if Trump was captured [in Vietnam] -- it wouldn't happen -- but let's say I was, I would've negotiated my way out of there in two seconds. And then I would've built the most luxurious, fantastical hotel casinos."
11. Eric HarthenAs far as voice-work is concerned, it's tough to beat Harthen. His Bill Clinton is near flawless, too -- even HRC loves him.
Trumpiest line: "Our plan is coming together perfectly, believe me. Soon the Republican party will implode and you'll be the next president of the United States."
10. Mike O'GormanThis Trump proves it would in fact be possible for the businessman to play FIFA -- and still gesticulate with controller in hand. The braggadocio and insensitivity are also present. But my favorite part about this vid, from online soccer community theFC, is O'Gorman's shoulder work. As R. Kelly once said, Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce.
Trumpiest line: "I'm gonna go with the good ole' US of A. I mean, I have to assume that the US is the best team."
9. Johnny DeppDepp underwent an award-worthy transformation to pull off the faux biopic, The Art of the Deal: The Movie. Unfortunately, the actual impersonation dips into something like a robotic Christopher Walken from time to time, making him fall short of the other heavyweights on this list.
Trumpiest line: "Can somebody remove Ivana from the set, because she's killin' me?"
8. Frank CaliendoCaliendo's situational creativity is nonpareil. The rest of his video archive -- which includes clips of his Trump in "David After Dentist" and Chewbacca parodies -- is well worth a gander.
Trumpiest line: "We billionaires are being tired of treated like millionaires. Enough is enough."
7. Taran KillamThe best part about Killam's Trump might also be his downfall: the perfect but prolonged facial expressions.
Trumpiest line: "Talk about foreign policy experience. We've got the same interior decorator as Saddam Hussein."
6. Dana CarveyUnsurprisingly, planet Earth's resident impressions sensei does a solid Trump; he just loses control sometimes. (And why not?) As he told Jimmy Fallon last year, when it comes to aping the Republican nominee, "Trump is too awesome, he's too much fun." Especially when you have the hand gestures down the way he does. Throw Carvey in proper costume and makeup and he'd be a serious contender for No. 1 on this list.
Trumpiest line: "Your nukes are loser nukes. … And by the way, I don't mind a little radiation."
5. Jimmy FallonThe Tonight Show host's impression is the tidiest. As you'll see above, the vocal ticks, gestures, catchphrases, lips, postures, glances, tempos, and costumes are pitch perfect. Fallon, however, can often err on the side of adopting too much goofiness, making him seem more like a jester than a politician.
Trumpiest line: "Thank me. We're gonna win big, we're gonna win big. Thank me."
4. Darrell HammondHammond nails his Trump consistently. What's most striking, initially, is always the similarity in physicality. As his sketches continue to unspool, not much else is lacking either -- though Hammond's persona does come off as slightly too dignified.
Trumpiest line: "Debates are stupid, you should be paying me, and Wolf Blitzer looks like Papa Smurf."
3. John Di DomenicoDi Domenico essentially wrote the book on how to be Trump. His relationship with the role reaches back to 2004, when he recorded a voiceover for an Apprentice-themed game at Trump Taj Mahal. The entertainer has since mastered the impersonation, flaunting a spot-on accent, vocabulary, $4,000 tailor-made wig, and arsenal of gestures. You might know Di Domenico from his appearances on Conan, Red Eye on Fox News, or Slate's Trumpcast. If not, now's the time.
Trumpiest line: "I absolutely love Iowa. It's a fantastic place, and I'm gonna probably buy a farm there."
2. Alec BaldwinSNL has given us no dearth of convincing Trumps, but Baldwin's is the show's best. The peculiar pronunciation of "China," the sniffing, the delusions and shamelessness, the scowl -- his work thus far has been so perfect it's scary. The best part is viewers can expect much more this season. (Thanks, Lorne.)
Trumpiest line: "I deeply apple-gize ... to all the people who were offended by my statements, but more importantly to the people who were turned on by them -- I hear it's really 50-50."
1. Anthony AtamanuikAtamanuik is the closest thing we have to a true Trump clone. (Admire that podium posture.) The above @midnight debate, which runs about 42 minutes, is not only a virtuosic display of mimicry and endurance, it's also comedic activism at its finest -- the kind that goes beyond recycling viral sound bites. As Atamanuik told CNN earlier this year, "I want to take everything Trump said and bring it to its final point. So when he's talking about immigrants, I want to take it even further to show people what he's really talking about."
Trumpiest line: "Apparently, white power has been running this country for 350 years -- I had no idea."
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