Frank Caliendo

Interviews | Feb 24th, 2005

How did you get into comedy? Were you the class clown in your school?
Not really a class clown… I goofed around a bit and would go crazy at sporting events…. I was always pretty good at getting a crowd around me to watch me. I was actually very quiet in gradeschool…and started to break out of my shell in middle and high school. I lost to another guy named Kevin hoops in the funniest person in the school senior year.

How is it working on MAD TV? Do the comedians fight over which bits should be in the show? Or over who will be in what skit?
No, there isn’t a lot of that. Sometimes a couple people want to do the same thing… But people are pretty civilized about stuff…I’ve never had a problem with anyone. Producers all decide what gets on…and who does what… So you’re really at their mercy. The writers cast their own sketches for the most part… And I trust their instincts. Sometimes there are things that I’d like to do that I don’t get the opportunity to do, but it just makes me strive to show the writers and producers that I should be in more stuff. If you prove yourself at madtv, you get more opportunities…

Are you involved in the writing process on MAD TV? As a performer, you are allowed to write things for the show. I like the writers, and think they do a much better job than me at writing… And they get paid for it…. So I tend to come in with initial

Is Mad TV recorded in one day or a couple of days throughout the week? Give us a rundown for the week.
Its truly a crazy week. You generally do 3 shows at one time. You’re pitching ideas for two weeks ahead. Doing a “table read” for next week’s show…and taping the show for the present week. Monday morning is the table read. Followed by rehearsals on Tuesday and Wednesday… Thursday we tape stuff and Friday is either a taping in front of a live audience or more tapings in the studio without an audience depending on the week… The writers are constantly writing for weeks at a time as well… The shows are put together like a puzzle… Because you tape something one week doesn’t necessarily mean all the sketches will be put together into the same show… For example you could tape 8 sketches in week “a”, 9 in week “b” and 7 in week “c”… Any combination of “a”,”b” and “c” sketches could be used in the 3 shows.

Your job is too make people laugh – has that job become harder in the wake of Sept. 11, and now that we’re going into war?
I don’t think so. Everyone needs to laugh. I was on the radio in Houston this last week doing G.W. Bush impressions…and we had people from the space center calling thanking us for making them laugh so much with all that’s happened there in the past couple of weeks.

Did anyone you’ve done an impression of ever comment about it to you?
I’ve had lots of indirect feedback…for example John Madden doesn’t like me… You can hear Troy Aikman talk about it on my website. But Rod Roddy from the price is right does like me… And he’s told people that he liked the impression as well.

What kind of music do you like? Are you into ska or punk at all?
I am not really into music of any sort..and I don’t know why that is…. I’ll say I love ska and punk just to sell out and sound cool to whoever is reading this.

What happened to Will Sasso on MAD TV?
Will’s moved on to bigger things… he’s working on his own show while trying to get a movie off the ground. He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met… and a real friend.

I first heard about you on Opie and Anthony Show in NYC. What’s your take on them getting fired?
Its silly, but they’ll be back. More people know about them since the firing… After a bit of time they’ll be back.

Who do you think is overrated in comedy?
I don’t know… Comedy is subjective… I could say names, but some people would agree and others would defend the person. So…… I’ll pass. Ha.

Which impression do you enjoy doing the most?
I love unique impressions that very few people do… The John Madden, Jim Rome (sports radio guy), Rod Roddy from the Price Is Right, Jeff Goldblum….I ‘ve done quite a few in the past that nobody else does…and over time other people start doing them as well… Sometimes by coincidence…and sometimes not. So lately, the Jim Rome is a ton of fun, however not everyone gets it.

See any good movies lately?
Actually, I haven’t seen any lately.

What’s worse, getting heckled to death or no one laughing?
People not listening. I opened for The Wallflowers at a private show of 500 people…and only about 100 even acknowledged that I was on stage…so I had to talk over them…there were no silences, which are keys to timing…I just pushed through it, and ran home.

Best cartoon ever?
Superfriends were great, in a bad way. Scooby doo was fun because of the guest stars. But I’d say the Simpsons if you were talking prime time cartoons…by far.

Final comments? Are you playing in NY anytime soon?
Nothing in the NY area soon… You can buy Frank’s Cd, “Make The Voices Stop” on his website at Frank