- Gavin Bond
Anthony Atamanuik wants his new late-night Comedy Central show in which he imitates President Donald Trump, “The President Show,” to speak to both sides of the political aisle.
“The show is not about catering to the right. But it’s not about catering to the left either,” Atamanuik told reporters at a New York City press event for the series on Wednesday. “It’s about saying, ‘Here is what this is. Here is what the players are. And here is how we see how all these things contribute to a lack of functional discourse that allows us to move forward.’ That would be the underpinning of our comedy show.”
“The President Show” premieres on Thursday at 11:30 p.m. It imagines a scenario in which Trump bypasses the media, with whom he has had a contentious relationship, and does his own late-night talk show from the White House Oval Office. Like other late-night shows, it will include desk segments, field pieces, and guest interviews. Plus Vice President Mike Pence (played by Peter Grosz, who’s also an executive producer) will be his sidekick.
Viewers may have first heard of Atamanuik from his recent public feud with “Saturday Night Live” Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin while both were lobbying to play the president at the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
In fact, though Baldwin has done by far the most visible Trump impression since the election, Atamanuik has honed his Trump impression for a long while, having taken it on a 41-city tour for the comedy show “Trump vs. Bernie.”
‘Like if you took Frank Sinatra and then threw him in a bog for 4,000 years’
Atamanuik says the most important part of his impression and the thing that separates his from the many others out there is that he believes he has figured out Trump’s soul.
“He’s like if you took Frank Sinatra and then threw him in a bog for 4,000 years, then dredge that body out,” he said, likening the president to a reanimated version of the singer. “And that would be Trump, with all the rotted charm. He fancies himself as a Rat Packer, but he’s really this insecure, almost dowager living in a mansion. He has this weird feminine quality to him that he tries to overcome with this sort of swagger-y masculinity.”
For all his criticism of the president, Atamanuik would love for Trump to watch his new show and to come away having learned something.
“I would want him to watch and say, ‘Oh my God, that’s how I come off? Oh my God, that’s who I am?'” the comedian said. “I would want, hopefully in this show, for him to say, ‘Wow, Steve Bannon really is manipulating me. Really, my advisers are not helping me out.’ I imagine Trump’s idea of the president comes from ‘Dave’ or ‘The American President.’ You know that’s what his view of being president is. It’s whatever movie he saw, right? So all you need to do is tell him, ‘Your movie is not working.'”