Frank Caliendo and Michael Jamin on Screenwriters Need To Hear This the Podcast about Screenwriting

066 – Impressionist/Comedian Frank Caliendo

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Impressionist and Comedian Frank Caliendo is this week's guest on the podcast. Join Michael and Frank as they discuss Frank's career and his advice for emerging comedians.

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Frank Caliendo (00:00:00):
So I thought put Seinfeld on drugs and the d the, the bit was why do my fingers look like little people? Who are these people in the door and they're talking to each other? They're probably talking about me when I say it. Talking. I, oh, Jerry, oh, I somebody. Hey Jerry, you look like you've been seeing little people on your fingers. It's, you just let that camera and then the end, it was Newman and Newman's like, hello Jerry. And she, we've lost a sort of Jerry Garcia Grateful Dead commitment of stamps. You would see <laugh>. So he'd lick the stamps. You know, that was the,

Michael Jamin (00:00:33):
You're listening to screenwriters. Need to hear this with Michael Jamin.

Hey everyone, it's Michael Jamin. Welcome back to Screenwriters. Need to hear this. And I got another great guest today. I'm really racking up the guests. Everyone. before we begin, make sure everyone to get on my my watch list is my free newsletter, by the way. Goes out every friday at for tips for screenwriters, actors, and directors and all that. And now let's bring him on. Let's bring on my next, my next guest who I met actually many years ago when I was running a show. He's, the show was called Glen Martin. And we, we, this is how it works. And, and Frank, don't worry, I'll give you a minute to talk. I know you're talking about the bit here.

Frank Caliendo (00:01:15):

Michael Jamin (00:01:16):
I love it. This is how, this is how it works in animation. It's actually a fun job for, for actors. So basically the casting director, we don't even audition. Can't we say this is what we need and the cast director just bring somebody in and, and and if they're terrible, you know, we just get somebody else to replace them. And so in this role we needed this is we needed someone who could do an impression. And I don't remember what the character was. There's probably some politician. It might have been Obama, it might have been George Bush, someone like that. And so she had our casting director was Linda Lamont, Montana. And she goes, I have just the guy. And she brings him in. And it was, it was Frank, Frank Callo, thank you so much for being on the, my podcast, Frank.

Frank Caliendo (00:01:55):
And now I'm back. How about that? Huh?

Michael Jamin (00:01:57):
Now you're back. And he killed it. Now Frank, is this your, Frank has got Frank, you know, the, and, and, and the Game of Thrones. There was like the the man of, what was it? The god of many faces. Is that what it was? You're, you're the man. You're the god of many voices.

Frank Caliendo (00:02:11):
I'll take it. Yeah, I'll

Michael Jamin (00:02:12):
Take, take it.

Frank Caliendo (00:02:12):
It it's like six and then I just kind of do variations on it.

Michael Jamin (00:02:16):
I don't think so. Dude, you are amazing. You are amazing at how you do that. I want to get into like how you actually do that.

Frank Caliendo (00:02:23):
Well, there, there, okay. So let's, let's get into, first of all, I didn't believe you that I did the show that you said I did, cuz I kind of remember Glen Martin. D d s I remember getting the sides for it. I remember getting an email about it, but I don't remember doing it cuz we talked at some point that you were doing a live a live stream. And you're like I think that's where it was. And I was like, you said, oh, Frank, you did a thing with me. Or maybe we just instant message back and forth. I'm like, you're crazy. I don't remember doing that. I just looked it up on I mdb and I did do it. You did do it. It was George Bush and I guess John Madden. Go figure. You probably Madden happy for Georges Bush. So you wrote in the John Madden thing, I'm guessing.

Michael Jamin (00:03:09):
It's so funny. It's so funny that you chose to forget that you were on Glen Martin. How, how

Frank Caliendo (00:03:13):
She, I don't remember a lot of stuff and I don't even do any drugs, but it's like, I don't, I don't remember. I remember it was like a declamation kind of thing, right?

Michael Jamin (00:03:19):
Yeah. Yes. Right. And it was, that was Kevin Neen. He, he the, he the guy. So, yeah. And you, you crushed it and you did. No, it wasn't John. John.

Frank Caliendo (00:03:29):
I crushed it so much. I've never worked with you again. That's but

Michael Jamin (00:03:32):
I haven't done not have animation since. No,

Frank Caliendo (00:03:34):
That's true, jerk.

Michael Jamin (00:03:35):
I did Barry for 10 minutes though. But you

Frank Caliendo (00:03:38):
Know, it's funny. Here's a funny thing though. This is a funny thing, is that I haven't done a lot of animation. So you think of me as animation because of the voices. And that's the thing that's always weird. And that's why one of the reasons I didn't do a ton of voice acting. One, I wasn't as good at it as some other people. But two, it was like, because once you do that, it's amazing how people think of you in like, I'm in a couple of different tunnels for pi. It, it's, you know, the pi, the holes of the pigeon. I am a, people think of me as a sports guy and an impressionist. So it's like, oh, we, that's all he can do. So they never, so I, it's so funny because recently people have been like, ah, you wouldn't do this little partner move.

I'm like, yeah, I would, I do, do I have to do an impression? No. Oh good. Are you gonna rewrite the part? So I do impressions? No. Perfect. Interesting. That's what I wanna do. Now I do this, the impression stuff to keep the lights on. I mean, that's what I do on TikTok and Instagram and stuff like that. It's, there's some fun with it too. But that's the amazing thing is people start to get, I think I saw you do something recently where you said, you know, beat the dead horse. Right? You're like, it can Oh yeah. Do the thing. Do the thing you're known for <laugh>. Yes. Keep doing it. Keep doing. I did it for 20 years and

Michael Jamin (00:04:52):
Well, I'm telling, and I'm talking about beginning people, but Yeah. But for you I can understand.

Frank Caliendo (00:04:55):
Absolutely. It's, it's, it's, and then you, you then you get to that point where you're like, I gotta do some other, some other stuff. And it's so funny because then people don't want you for anything else. Right. And then you go back and do some of the stuff again. But there's like two careers. And I've heard David Spade talking to those other people. Probably talked about it too. But I used to say this until I heard David Spade say it too. And then I'm like, oh, people think I was just taking it from David Spade. But it was, you spend the first career, you have two careers, the first career pigeonholing yourself, getting known, doing something, Uhhuh <affirmative>. And then the second career is being able to do something else, right? Like getting outside of that. So I had the first one. So I'm fighting in that little bit of that second one.

Michael Jamin (00:05:33):
Well, you know, so I, I wrote for Spade twice on just Shoot Me. And then later on Rules of engagement. So I'm just curious, what does he think is, what is his second career? What was he talking about?

Frank Caliendo (00:05:41):
Well, I I I just saw it in a, you know, I, I worked with him recently and didn't bring it up because I was scared of him. No. Why would you be scared of David SP's scared of David? Like, I tower over David sp five, six. No I'm trying to think. It was just something I saw him talk about on a talk show. And I, you know, it was one of those things I'm like, ah man, somebody much more famous than me is talking about this. So I don't know what

Michael Jamin (00:06:07):
Thing you'd like to do. Well, I mean, you're amazing at pressure. I can see why you might wanna do something up, but what is it acting? I mean, you know,

Frank Caliendo (00:06:13):
It's just acting in small parts, you know, just small things because one, people think you want to only do big things and carry a show. Right. I don't really even have any interest in that. I don't even, I, I don't even wanna carry a show Uhhuh. Cause that's, I I I don't feel like my acting is at that level where I, anytime I've ever wanted to do something in Hollywood, I've always wanted to surround myself with good people. And they get confused when you try to do that. Yeah. They're like, why would you want somebody else to Well, cause I want it to be as funny as possible. I grew up, I grew up playing sports. When you have a good team, you do your part on the team. When I had Frank tv it was my show that came after Mad tv. It was shortened by the writer strike and it had some struggles and stuff like that. But it was one of those things where and it wasn't that good. And when it was finally put together, I was amazed. Cuz we had great writers and they would do it. They would pieces John Bowman that were Bowman and Matt Wickline.

Michael Jamin (00:07:09):

Frank Caliendo (00:07:09):
Great writers. Brenda Hay king and Lance Crowder. All these guys, like people Rachel Ramas, there were really great people Yeah. Involved in the show. But then by the time it was cut and put on tv, all the air was taken out. It was boo boo, boo boo boom. And you know, when that happens, there's no setups. It's all punchlines and you look like you're trying too hard. Yeah. That's, you know, you and I just didn't have, I'm, I'm not enough of a fighter. You need somebody who's gonna fight for you and do somebody who's gonna have the vision and fight for the vision and has been in that spot before to fight. And I just, I mean, I was doing like 15, 20 pages a day cuz I was playing all the parts until I got them to get other people on the show. So it was one of those things where I was just like, I was exhausted. I didn't even get to see edits. I didn't, I didn't like watch myself. Cause I was also too fat at the time. Yeah. I was like, I'm so fat in these things. I, it looks like South Park episodes.

Michael Jamin (00:08:08):
But how did that come part about, did you have a development deal at a studio or

Frank Caliendo (00:08:11):
Something being fat?

Michael Jamin (00:08:13):
No. You a lot

Frank Caliendo (00:08:15):
Exercise. It was, I had a d I went in, I, I went in and after I was at Med TV for a while there for five years I had the Fox stuff, the n NFL on Fox things, which was actually bigger for me than anything else. Right. being on the Sunday stuff and Super Bowls. So I went in

Michael Jamin (00:08:35):
And that's cause you do a killer. Madden give, give us, give us the taste of the Madden so people know

Frank Caliendo (00:08:39):
What you're trying. I'm mad here for the quick pop popcorn pop. And I turned him into a character too. Like, like I was ta talking. This is, I know I go off on tangents. Just stop me. Go back. But one of the things with the Madden, you know, the, the realistic John Madden voice was this kind of voice where you, you say the things and you do the things. But I found this thing in him that was the excited little kid. Right? The <laugh>. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then when he would get that, that going, it was like, I was on Letterman and he had me come on as, get me come on as John Madden didn't say it was a some, I was the lead guest over Ben Stiller, I think it was. Wow. Fake John Madden Wow. Was the lead guest. And I came in and I wasn't really the lead guest, but it was, you know, I tell people, but it was a, it was so I pulled a chicken wing out of my pocket.

I had them get me a chicken wig with sauce on it and everything. I gave you hungry. He was like that right now. <Laugh>, how funny, can you believe this? But it was one of those things where it just, stuff would happen and the, you create the character with it. And it becomes, the funny thing is to me, that that stuff doesn't work the same on social media like TikTok or Instagram, but it might work on some YouTube stuff. Cause there's more longer form. It's, it's more of a longer form, you know, the, the platform is Right. I just didn't like that I said more and longer right. Together. I'm, I'm weird with grammar. I'm very, some things I just, like, if you noticed, I texted you, I didn't like that I put different tenses tenses in my texts and you like, you just stopped talking to at that point.

But when you, I dunno what they really like and on TikTok and these you know, shortform ones platforms is exact replication. They want the, what I would call more of an impersonation, right? Like they want the the, they want you to sound exactly like the person. There's no element of caricature it really, or going what I would call Dana Carvey on it, cartooning it Right. And making it bigger. They're like, ah, that's not like it. Well that's the point. That's the comedic element, right? Right. That makes a good exaggeration after. Yeah, exaggeration after the initial what's the, what the word I'm looking for, the when you, when you recognition, when you get the recognition, laugh on the sound, and then you have to do something with it and make it bigger, right? You have to have more fun with it.

Michael Jamin (00:11:09):
But you did a post, I thought it was fascinating. I think it was on TikTok, excuse me. I think it might have been like how you do Robert Downey Jr. Or something. And you, you walk through the stages of how you approach the voice in, in pieces and then how you get

Frank Caliendo (00:11:26):
There. So let's, let's start with this. And this is something that you'll identify with completely as a writer and a creator. You have to find the cadence and the voice of the person not speaking in terms of tone, but the cadence, right? Yeah. How many Christopher Walkins have you heard, right? You've heard low, you've heard, hi, you've heard in the middle, in, in, in the old days, it was William. You knew who it was just by the pauses, right? So you could tell from those voices how you would write for that character. You put the point of view into those, into the song, right? What those of the, you know, into you put the lyrics into the melody. So with Robert, Danny Jr, I found that this is with other characters too. That counting can help you do it. It's better for the audience. It's not a full way to teach somebody how to do it, but it's entertaining while you do it. So Robert Downey Jr. Is after you find the pitch, or you don't even have to have the pitch first, but I'll go to the pitch cuz it's what I do. But it's one, two, pause, burp 5, 6, 7. So you find that it's 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. And then you can just figure it out, you know? So that's, that's how you find those with Liam Neon. It's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. You know? So it's the beginning. That's

Michael Jamin (00:12:52):

Frank Caliendo (00:12:53):
Yeah. You can do that with Jeff. Goldblum is one, two 1, 1 1. Juan, what comes after one? Think out loud. That's him one. What's, what's coming into my head? What do I hear? The voices coming at me. One, two. Yes. Here comes one, two, a little jazz. 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Michael Jamin (00:13:17):
But you talk about this, you're talking about how you approach it. It's not like you think anyone, you, it's not like you're trying to teach anybody. It's not like anyone, you think anyone can do this, do you? Because I don't think I

Frank Caliendo (00:13:26):
Do. I think people can find, people can find, I do think people can find it. I think people can find people can't get the, they might not be able to get the pitch, the, the, the note, but they can find the cadence. Everybody, people do it

Michael Jamin (00:13:40):
Forever. But you, you know, your, your throat, your mouth has a certain in your nose, like you talk. I think you're stuck kind of with the, like, I can't change my, you're stuck with the voice. I don't know how you were able to literally change

Frank Caliendo (00:13:51):
The, well, you don't need to do all that stuff. You don't, you don't have to do all the, that. This is another part. The face is another part of an impression. That's

Michael Jamin (00:13:58):
The sound of the com. The sound comes from inside your skull.

Frank Caliendo (00:14:01):
Ok. So yeah. So there, there, there are different pieces to this as well. You can close off your throat. You, you think of it, you know the Bobby character, the Howie Mandel, little bit

Michael Jamin (00:14:12):

Frank Caliendo (00:14:14):
So that's closing off your throat. And a lot of people can do that. But the difference is finding different levels of being able to work. It's just, it's a, it's like a muscle, right? Right. So I'll do, I've done this, you might have seen this before, but this is John C. Riley is in here. So John C. Riley has just a little bit of bubble in his throat. Now if you work backwards, a tiny hole, ker frog, that's a little bit more up in here, re tiny Hall Kermit, you're reporting from the planet COOs. Then bring it down a little bit, Nelson your throat a little bit more. You add some air and it becomes Mark. I, I see this as an absolute win, guys. This

Michael Jamin (00:14:51):
That's exactly it. This

Frank Caliendo (00:14:52):
Is, this is crazy. And then, so for Ruff, he is got that thing where I think he had like a, a tumor or something, some, some medical thing when he was younger. And part of his f it was the same with like Stallone, Stallone had Bell's palsy, right? So he is got that, you know, that thing that, right? So if you find, I call it the pizza slice, you've probably seen the thing I did this. It's a triangle. It's a line across the eyebrows, the, in the chin. And it's the triangle that goes down. There are two things. Now, this is stuff I'm actually gonna dos and Instagram on as well, but it's I just am too lazy. And it's, the mouth tells you how the person talks.

Michael Jamin (00:15:33):

Frank Caliendo (00:15:34):
<Affirmative>. So if you watch my mouth, that's why everybody does a Donald Trump, right? When they do a Donald Trump, you have to do the lips. The lips are very, very, that's very. But now this part of my face from those down is doing Donald Trump. Now when the eyes start going, it sh now that's the point of view that starts. Same with the bush. Bush is, you know, I could do this thing with this half smile. It's like somebody told me a dirty joke before I came up here, but that's just, that's from nose down. But now I get a little discombobulate and you know, I'm staring into the, the abbu, you know, that's what it was also a great movie. So it's, and then the point of view comes from the way you think. Right? But you, when you write a character, when you write a character, you become that character when you write, I don't know if I'm stirring batter or what. Yeah. But if you're doing a cooking show and you're stirring the batter, but your character, you have

Michael Jamin (00:16:32):
To, yeah, we would, for example, on King Hill, we would imitate Bobby Hill or Hank or whatever. But imitating is not sounding, you know, it's not sounding like,

Frank Caliendo (00:16:40):
Yeah. It's just, that's just taking it another level. You, you, you just take it. You get, because you had the cadence of the character. You might not have had the note, but you had the notes written. You didn't have them on the stop, but you knew if it was an eighth note, a quarter note, whatever, a, a rest. And I only know a little bit about music and that's all of it that I just told you.

Michael Jamin (00:17:00):
But did you, as a kid, did you, like, did you, were you good at this as a kid? Did you wanna aspire? Did you aspire to this?

Frank Caliendo (00:17:06):
I think I was pretty good at it. I, I have a natural knack and my kids have the knack too. So you have to have a, a knack at the beginning to figure this stuff out from the beginning Right. To, you know, it's predator of the infrared going. I see everything. My son had Bell's Palsy when he was very little. And I, I could see that when he would smile. This is a, the blessing and a curse thing. And when he would smile, he wouldn't smile all at the same time. And then I started to look closely and part of his face moved a lot slower and didn't always move. And I said to, to my wife, I go, something happened. I don't know what it is, but I think he had Bell's Palsy. Well, we had him tested to make sure there was no brain stuff going on or whatever.

But the doctors, what the diagnosis eventually was Bell. He had Bell's Palsy when he was a baby. Right. And it, you know, pa what happens is Bell's Palsy is, I think the fifth I, I don't remember what it was, the fifth or seventh cranial nerve. Something gets damaged either by a virus or trauma, blood trauma. And it keeps you from everything moving at the same time. But that's, but I could see it. Most people don't see it. I could see it because that's the way my brain breaks things down. Yeah. I mean, you as a writer, as a performer, whatever, however you consider, whatever you consider yourself, you do similar things. You see the world from that point of view. And that's how you write. You go, you observe, you take in, and then you replicate or create from that. Exaggeration or finding the, I I've set off Siri like nine times on my watch during this. I've never, that's never happened before.

Michael Jamin (00:18:50):
I Yeah, I, I say mean things to her. I and I and my wife says it's not good because Apple's picking up on this <laugh>, like I say awful things to Siri. So, you know, like, Siri, you asshole. What time is it? She don't say that.

Frank Caliendo (00:19:08):
I'm sure it could be much worse.

Michael Jamin (00:19:10):
Yeah, it is much worse. I'm cleaning it up

Frank Caliendo (00:19:11):
For the podcast. Yeah. You were just trying not to get canceled.

Michael Jamin (00:19:14):
Yeah. Yeah. <Laugh>.

Frank Caliendo (00:19:15):
Yeah. So there, so there are lots of, yeah, I, I, I see. I look at these thi these things in, in lots of different ways. For me, you know, one of the things that, one of the things when I first got on social media in the last couple years, a few years ago mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. Cause I wasn't doing any, cuz I was on Twitter 10 years ago. And

Michael Jamin (00:19:35):
Why did I started finding, started my goal on social media. Why did you start?

Frank Caliendo (00:19:38):
Well, you have to. I mean, if you, if you, the first time it, it was because it was new and people were telling me I didn't like it. I just, I don't like it. I, I, I, I can't, I can't adapt it because people are angry for the most part. And there's a lot of

Michael Jamin (00:19:54):
Yes. Tell me about it.

Frank Caliendo (00:19:56):
Is it, yeah. Right, right. And there's a lot of what confirmation bias. So there's confirmation bias mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and the exact opposite. Right? So people either wanna hear exactly what they're thinking and they don't wanna have a conversation about something different. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Or they just wanna fight you for no reason. They wanna troll you. They just wanna, they wanna make you mad. And especially somebody like you or somebody like me that's been in the entertainment business, we targets. Because if we say something back that's mean. Oh, the guy from Glen Martin dvs

Michael Jamin (00:20:27):
<Laugh>. Well, they don't, they don't. No one's ever heard of that. I know. But, but you're right. I don't, I don't respond anymore because there's just no winning it. There's

Frank Caliendo (00:20:35):
No winning. It can't win. Cause because you are, it would be like, this is an exaggeration, but it'd be like a leader being a leader of a country. And this is, but this is what Trump does or did though, right? Uhhuh, <affirmative>. <Affirmative>. And you would come back at people and you'd go think, ah, you gotta stay above that. At a certain point it's fu it, it quote unquote. It could be funny in and this isn't a political rant, this is just what I see as an observation. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> it can be funny in of somebody running for president, but as soon as they're president you kind of feel like you're Yeah. I think, I think it's time to be a little different. You can, that's my opinion. But

Michael Jamin (00:21:08):
No, you're absolutely right. I told, but, but, and that's what's so interesting about it, is because social media, at least when I started doing it, like at first, it's a little empowering. You have an audience and you can, you have an, you have a platform. But then once you start getting trolled and, and I, as a comedy writer, I feel like I can tear you apart. I can tear you apart. Whoever's trolling, I don't, I'm better at this than you. But the minute I do it, I, I can't do it because then I'm, I'm then I'm the asshole. And then it, what was once empowering now becomes emasculating at the same time. It's very odd to be able to have a platform, but not cause

Frank Caliendo (00:21:40):
And and you can, and people can say things to you that you could never say back because they will say things that would get you as a business person canceled. Yep. It doesn't have to be racial. Or it just, they can say things that are just mean that if you say it and somebody pulls it up, they're like, look what Michael Jamin did. Yeah. This is unbelievable. Yeah. I We can't hire this guy. Yeah. He's, he's a terrible person. And they'll defend the person who's ripping you to shreds and saying way worse things. Yes. So you're stuck in, you're, you're stuck in a spot. So it, so I, I started, this is why I got away from social media 10 years ago, whatever. So I was on Twitter, I was building it really quickly with sports stuff. Mostly not video, just just kind of like sassy phrases and, you know, mean things. I, and I realized I was starting to be this person on Twitter in real life in real way

Michael Jamin (00:22:37):

Frank Caliendo (00:22:37):
What I'd see somebody just, I'd see somebody and wanna say something terrible to them. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And the only reason I would say that in Twitter, cuz my comedy's silly, not really mean uhhuh, <affirmative>, it's it more cherubic cuz of the cheeks. But <laugh>, it was one of those things where you said mean things on Twitter, you got likes and retweets cuz people love Right. You know, knocking down people in power. Yeah. Yeah. And I would say something about a quarterback that just threw an interception. Something I could never do. I would never have, you know, that that's the level of skill to, to make it to their level. And I'm ripping them to shreds. I'm going, I, I, and I've changed this way too. I mean, I, I used to think, you know, I used to watch the Oscars and kind of rip the Oscars to shreds because it is so self-aggrandizing. It, so mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, everybody's self-congratulatory and stuff. Like, and I would say things, I'm like, I shouldn't be saying this, that, not just because it's, you know, it's kind of gross. But it's, it's also just, I don't know, these people work very hard to get where they, you know, they're just going, some of 'em don't, you know, they're happy to be getting an award, but they have to be show up. It's part of the business. Right.

I get it. I, I what a jerk I am for. You know, that's why even people, people wanna do a podcast and like, let's do a podcast where we just rip movies. I'm like, I don't wanna, that's somebody's acting, somebody's put a lot of time, like my TV show. There were a lot of great people putting that stuff together. But by the time it all got put together, a network has to say other people standards and practices, all these different levels, it's not really what you want it to be. And it's not any one person's fault. It's just not what you want it to be. And that person is, but, you know, that's why it's so amazing when somebody does do something really great, you're going, wow, you watch a, a Tarantino film or something like that. He's a guy who just fights for all his own stuff.

He's gonna do it his way. Right. But you watch a, you watch a film with somebody who does Jordan Peele now right. Who actually got to work with a man TV years ago. People get to a point where they have their point of view and they can make closer to the movie that they want to make. And then you go, okay, when this turns out, this is, this is fantastic. This is how you do it. Because when you don't have that much, say you don't have that much power and you don't have that much fight in you, it's, it's really hard to get close to what you want. And there were so many things in my show mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that were close to what I wanted. But that little bit of change just goes. And there were three little changes. You go, oh, the timing's not what I would've done there. They used a cut I never would've used. Right. And now they put it in a different part of the show. Wow. Oh man. So then I know that happens everybody,

Michael Jamin (00:25:27):
But I have to ask, so then why do you do, why are you on social media? Because you, you have quite a big presence on it. So what's,

Frank Caliendo (00:25:33):
You go in, you go into an somebody's office, an executive's office. The first thing they do is look how many this, what are you doing here? What do you do? They really

Michael Jamin (00:25:43):
Say, say that to

Frank Caliendo (00:25:44):
You. Oh yeah, I've had plenty. The people look at me. It's

Michael Jamin (00:25:47):
Because what they don't, I feel like they don't understand is the change in the algorithm, which is maybe only a few months old, but they don't un do they understand when you talk to them that having a million followers on Instagram or TikTok, you can't reach them all on any given day. You reach maybe a 10th of them, you know.

Frank Caliendo (00:26:03):
Well, you don't even reach that. I mean, people don't, so again, people the way it's been explained to me is that TikTok doesn't even really go out to your

Michael Jamin (00:26:15):
Followers anymore. No, it doesn't. No, it doesn't.

Frank Caliendo (00:26:17):
It go, it goes out to a random sample audience, which has mm-hmm. <Affirmative> some of your followers in it. And then once it hits that first audience, if enough people watch it long enough or watch it to the end, it gets, then it goes to the next sample

Michael Jamin (00:26:30):
Audience. Yes. Right.

Frank Caliendo (00:26:31):
So if you go to a bad, I I,

Michael Jamin (00:26:34):
But that's also Instagram. Now that's kind of this, they're they're taking the same model. The

Frank Caliendo (00:26:38):
The real stuff. Yeah. Well, because, and the reason that works for them is because they, they can build stars faster that way they can build. So it used to be on Instagram, it would take you years if you weren't famous mm-hmm. <Affirmative> to get to a point where you had 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 followers. Well now people can just vertically swipe through reels and all of a sudden the, those people who do that are tend to follow a lot more people. Right. So your videos can go viral with no followers. Right. And then suddenly you'll have followers. It didn't used to work like that it used to.

Michael Jamin (00:27:15):
Exactly. So that's why I'm asking lots of followers. Do they know, do you think the executives know that? Cause they look at your numbers and like go, oh, Frank's got a big following. But do they know that you can

Frank Caliendo (00:27:23):
I don't. I think they're a little, I think yes and no. But again, it works to, in their favor that if you have videos that have a lot of numbers mm-hmm. <Affirmative> do, because then you're hitting an audience. They know you're hitting a pretty big audience that spreads it to other people. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Now I'm 49, I'm about to be 49. Okay? Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, I, my age group that I played to most, or played to the most was probably 35 to 50 in there. You know, somewhere in there somewhere that I felt like I was similar age and had similar likes and life experiences.

Michael Jamin (00:28:00):

Frank Caliendo (00:28:00):
And those people, that group of people doesn't tend to hit the light button or the retweet button as much. I know I don't. Right. Right. Kids send it, they direct message stuff to their friends. They send things to their f they then they tag other people. They tag lots of people. Yeah. And that's why network executives, producers advertisers like young audiences, not just to sell the products to, but they're the ones that spread the word. Right. And they know that. They know it. It kind of works. You know, I always, I never really thought about that or I never really believed them with that. You know, I've changed brands on a lot of stuff. I've changed toothpaste, I've changed all kinds of things. Right. I don't think I'm normal. I, I, I, I guess I'm not, but young people will try different things and they will do lots of different things at a much higher rate. And

Michael Jamin (00:28:54):
So interesting. Do you feel then, as a performer that, okay, so you kind of have to do this. You're a little bit, you know, could you do it what, every day? Right? How many times do you post a day?

Frank Caliendo (00:29:05):
I don't, I don't even post that much. I, I'll post like a, a week. Once a week or once. Oh, half the time. It's half the time. It's old stuff that I've already Interesting. Like the thing, I have something with 8 million views right now from like a couple weeks ago. Wow. That I've posted two times before. Yeah. And it's gotten a million views and 2 million views and maybe 30,000 views. Oh. Which hits exactly what you're talking about. Yeah. If it doesn't hit the, I have, I have two pieces of advice. A couple pieces of advice for your content, please. I, I would not end my pieces telling people to go see, go. Don't, I wouldn't waste the time in the, in the, in the post telling people for more, if you like stuff like this. Go see, go did Michael Jam writer what, you know, your website, stuff like that. Right. I would just put it in writing near the end. Yeah. On the screen. Because then it's there a little bit subliminally. And they don't have to wait for the, because if they've heard you, if they like your posts and they watch you all the time, they know that's the end of your post. They'll cut out early.

Michael Jamin (00:30:10):
Interesting. So you're saying put But if I put it up on there, cause I, I do this to get people on my newsletter Right. To, you know, cuz that you get their, but you're saying if I, if I just say it's

Frank Caliendo (00:30:20):
Up to say at the end, you spend two to three seconds going. Right. If you like what I said right. Go to Michael Jamin, Robert Writer what is it? Michael jamin

Michael Jamin (00:30:28):
Michaeljamin.Com/Watchlist is my newsletter

Frank Caliendo (00:30:30):
Slash watch. Okay. So if you, if you like what you've heard, go to Michael Jamin slash wa slash slash watchlist stuff like this and other things that I gotta Now now they've got, now you've, now you've given them a little piece, which is what's everybody telling you to do? They all tell you well get the call for action. Yeah. But if they've seen your post and they like your posts, they don't need that anymore. Right.

Michael Jamin (00:30:53):
What if they're brand new? What if they're

Frank Caliendo (00:30:54):
Brand new? If they're brand new, you put it, you just put it up on the screen. You put it up on I

Michael Jamin (00:30:58):
The screen. What do I put on the screen?

Frank Caliendo (00:30:59):
On the screen? You just write it on the screen. Yeah. Say like more stuff like this.

Michael Jamin (00:31:03):
Oh, okay. For the whole thing. For more. Okay.

Frank Caliendo (00:31:05):
Or, or in the last, the last third of what you say. Okay. Just have it up there. And in the, because you do that, you can try, you can, you can experiment and do it both. Do it, do say it sometimes put it up on the screen. Do both mm-hmm. <Affirmative> sometimes just put, put it at the end and, and test it. Yeah. Because I could be, I can be wrong. I can be wrong here. But I'm telling you, I watched to the end of yours because I know because I want yours to do well, Uhhuh, <affirmative>, I'll do it, but I'm tempted as soon as you go into that mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, I tempted to flip up and

Michael Jamin (00:31:39):
All right. What,

Frank Caliendo (00:31:40):
What I found with my stuff, if I introduce things, sometimes people don't even wanna see me introduce it. I just put the title of what I'm doing on the screen.

Michael Jamin (00:31:49):
Uhhuh <affirmative>,

Frank Caliendo (00:31:50):
I don't tell you, you know, I don't tell you what I'm doing. I put the title on the screen to tell you what I'm doing and I get right into it. Right. Unless it's a reply to somebody's if somebody's, then I read their reply a little bit. Right. So they have the visual and you're reading the reply and you're saying something at the same time. So they're kind going back and forth. And then you do, you cut and do what they're saying. What is, what is your other, very quickly,

Michael Jamin (00:32:16):
What is your other tip for me? Is there anything else? I'll listen in. I don't know if my reader Yeah. What cuts

Frank Caliendo (00:32:26):
I would cut, I would cut a lot. You don't cut much. Oh, oh,

Michael Jamin (00:32:30):

Frank Caliendo (00:32:31):
Visually you do, you do things in one.

Michael Jamin (00:32:33):
Yeah. No. You know why? Because I just don't wanna produce anything. I don't wanna spend time. Right.

Frank Caliendo (00:32:36):
I get it. I get it. I get, I get it. And, and, but like a friend, somebody I know used to work at YouTube and they're like, just cut, just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. And you don't even have to really produce it. All you have to do is just splice, splice, splice slightly. Make things bigger and smaller. You don't even really cut any air out. But I, if, if you look at, if you look, you just put it in iMovie or they actually have it in there. Now. If you don't even, you don't even

Michael Jamin (00:33:01):
Too much word.

Frank Caliendo (00:33:02):
I get it. If you watch most of my stuff that's new. There is no real effort into writing it. <Laugh>, Uhhuh. It's just saying words over and over.

Michael Jamin (00:33:13):
<Laugh>. Right. It's,

Frank Caliendo (00:33:15):
I won't put the time. Now what I'm starting to do is go back, like you said, let's talk about the Seinfeld thing. When I put the Seinfeld thing

Michael Jamin (00:33:21):
Out, and that was from Frankie. Oh

Frank Caliendo (00:33:23):
Right. That was from, and it was critically panned. Like it's terrible. Like critics told me it was awful.

Michael Jamin (00:33:28):
<Laugh>. Ok. I liked it.

Frank Caliendo (00:33:30):
Yeah. And it's even cut even shorter. It's, it's even, I think the full things like pretty good. There was one of the things I was the most proud of, Uhhuh <affirmative> or the proudest of. And but it's one of those things where <laugh>, it's so funny cuz it really does look like a South Park version cuz I'm so fat. At the time we made it <laugh> that it's that, that it just looks like, I call it sign fat. Right. But it was weird cuz if I had guest stars on the show, it would, it would even make it tougher for disbelief, you know, suspending belief or di is it suspending belief or suspending disbelief.

Michael Jamin (00:34:03):
Suspending disbelief.

Frank Caliendo (00:34:05):
So, okay, so, so you,

Michael Jamin (00:34:07):
Yeah. So you're not disbelieving it,

Frank Caliendo (00:34:09):
Right? So you suspend your disbelief when you see somebody, all the characters look kind of the same. It fits, but all of a sudden you have somebody that looks more like the person because they're skinnier or something like that. A sudden it looks up like, but that Seinfeld thing, it was actually from my, my act was my, the way I did it in my act was I tried to, I always trying to think for the impressions. And so my, my thinking of the Seinfeld bit and my act was Seinfeld is about nothing. It's about reality. It's about everything that happens a reality. Well, what takes you outta reality? So it was drugs. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So I thought put Seinfeld on drugs. And the, the, the bit was why do my fingers look like little people? Who are these people? They doing, they're talking to each other.

They're probably talking about me when I say Jerry, oh, somebody. Hey Jerry, you look like you've been seeing little people on your fingers. That's great. You just let that cat. And then at the end it was Newman and Newman's like, hello Jerry, hello Newman. And she would've lost a sort of Jerry Garcia grateful dead commitment of stamps. She would see them baby <laugh>. So he'd licked the stamps. You know, that was the bit. So there was reality and it turned back into AED episode. But the whole bit was instead of reality, how do I get into a fantasy world? And that was the easiest way to to, to

Do it. Right.

Michael Jamin (00:35:31):
Hey, it's Michael Jamin. If you like my videos and you want me to email them to you for free, join my watch list. Every Friday I send out my top three videos. These are for writers, actors, creative types. You can unsubscribe whenever you want. I'm not gonna spam you and it's absolutely free. Just go to

It's fucking, your voices are amazing. I mean, that sounds amazing. But tell me, I have another question up for you. I'm just, I'm curious, I know you're, I actually wanna mention this, so I know you're, you, you got two shows coming up in, in Phoenix, right? Yeah. Where you do, where you go and it stand up, you're doing voices as well, or like, right? Or

Frank Caliendo (00:36:11):
Yeah. I, I just, what I do is, I'm, I, so what I, what I like to do is, I always hated the vaudevillian impressionist Uhhuh <affirmative>. What if,

Michael Jamin (00:36:21):
Oh yeah.

Frank Caliendo (00:36:23):
You know, what if Carrie Grant was your waiter, well, why, why would he be, first of all, that's bad writing, right? <Laugh>,

Michael Jamin (00:36:32):
Why would he be your waiter? Why

Frank Caliendo (00:36:33):
Would he be a waiter? Remember, years ago, I think it was on the white was it the white album? The that Dennis Miller did? Uhhuh <affirmative>. He's like <laugh>. He was like and these impressionist, I think Jack Nicholson as a fry cook at McDonald's. I mean, how about you as a fry cook at McDonald's? Chachi, get some writing. You know? So it was it was, I was always like, I wanna write for these characters. So what do would I do? I would make observations. So the way, and that would give me my point of view. So Pacino, he's an actor, right? So I was like, what do act what do they teach you in acting? Be curious. Be amazed by everything. So the simplest thing, Pacino can be amazed. Like somebody's turning on a light. He's like, wait a second, you mean to tell me you flip a switch over there? A light comes on over here. Wow. <laugh>. So he's amazed by everything. That's the point, right? And that's what my Pacino character always was. And he, and chewing gum. So that's

Michael Jamin (00:37:34):
Dead on

Frank Caliendo (00:37:34):
Man. It's make those, make those observations and then apply them in situations later. So it's observational comedy, but I was just observing how people were. Robert Downey Jr. Is a human. Twitter feed, 280 characters are less and everything's about himself. So he'd give, be giving out an Academy Award, which is supposed to be about the nominees, but the, but he'd be up there like, these people deserve your applause almost as much as I do. Hashtag awesome. So it's, that's the point of view, right? Set it up. That's funny. Bring it back. So once you have that, now you can, now the audience is in on what your point of view is. Now you can put them in situations, which is really what you do with characters in writing. You know, any kind of sitcom or any kind of a, any, you know, any kind of drama, anything.

It just takes longer to get them to who the character is an impression most of the time, and this is why impressions are cut away from acting so much where people think there's no acting in impressions because it's just, you know, somebody, there was Robert De and they work on, are you talking to me? Well, where's the, where's the writing for that? It's the vallian part, right? Come up with something that tells you who the character is. Right. And now write for it. And now it's an interesting character. And that's what you know any type of original character, it just takes longer to get there. And that's why a pilot, right? A television pilot, and you can tell me if I'm wrong, you do this more than me. Let's see. There's a lot more exposition and telling, kind of telling people, okay, hey, I'm just your local waitress. You know? Yeah. Yeah. And they tell you a little bit because they have to do it to get it done. To get it sold. Yeah. And then once it's, once you kind of have it, now you can develop the characters and you have, you have arcs that can build the character to something longer. Yeah. And that's why a lot of pilots get rewritten and redone because the pilot's almost a presentation just to sell it. And it's almost two on the nose. It's a to be what you want.

Michael Jamin (00:39:40):
But tell me what it's like when you do, like, when you go do a show or two shows, like literally, what is that? Like? You get on a plane, you arrive a couple days before your show, like

Frank Caliendo (00:39:51):
The day, usually a day off, the day of just get there. You

Michael Jamin (00:39:55):
Do a sound check or no, you just go up on stage like

Frank Caliendo (00:39:58):
A theater. I'm probably have the guy opening for me do a sound check. I don't, I don't even, I just go out there and show up and head so I have more energy. I mean, it's just, I like to get out there and just start going. I have a plan. Uhhuh, I have a lot of stuff that I've, I will do that I've done, you know, that I've worked on and done before. But now I try to, I actually like to do clubs a lot more than theaters. Why is that? Because I get to play more and I don't feel, I feel like somebody goes to the theater, you know, they, you feel like they, even though they're not, you feel like it should be a little bit more put together and professional. I feel like at a club, it can,

Michael Jamin (00:40:34):
A club, you can get heckled. They're not necessarily coming to see you. If you go to a theater, they're coming. They're paying see

Frank Caliendo (00:40:40):
Me, 90, 99%. They come to see me at a club. Now if I'm doing a club, yeah. Cuz I'll do like off nights. I'll do like a Tuesday or a Wednesday. The, the general audience isn't going for that. And tickets will sell in advance. I mean, it, it's, that's, that's what I, that's what I like

Michael Jamin (00:40:57):
To do. Is, is it theater though? More, more seats usually.

Frank Caliendo (00:41:00):
Yeah. It's harder to sell. 'em, You, you've gotta figure you're gonna sell. Probably you can probably, cuz people are, they're trained to go to a club and you'll get some people that fill other seats and it'll, it'll snowball. People will talk about it more. Uhhuh <affirmative>. And they have a built in advertising in everybody who goes to that venue. Three or four, you know, five shows a week.

Michael Jamin (00:41:20):

Frank Caliendo (00:41:20):
Sees that you're gonna to be there. And they're a comedy audience already. A theater doesn't necessarily have a builtin comedy audience. It might be that's 9%.

Michael Jamin (00:41:31):
But they're not coming in a comedy club. They might be drunk, they might be hostile, they may heckle. They're not, they're, it's

Frank Caliendo (00:41:38):
Not, not, it's not as bad anymore. It's, it, yeah. Most of the clubs are that that's, that's kind of a nineties early two thousands as maybe eighties type of thing. It, that doesn't happen as much anymore because they have so much riding on everything. The clubs used to be, they would you just go there and do a nightclub set and they, they, they'd turn 'em in and out, two drinks, four drinks, and get 'em in and out. Now they're selling them dinner. Uhhuh, they, they, they realize they were given away the five, they were, they're restaurants now that have entertainment. Right. Because they would, they would bring everybody in and nobody, they would give everybody else all the food and beverage around the showtime. And they would, they were realized, well we can do this too. And some of 'em do it. Really,

Michael Jamin (00:42:21):
Really. But they're not eating during the show. You don't want the meeting show.

Frank Caliendo (00:42:24):
Yeah, they're,

Michael Jamin (00:42:24):
Yeah. Yeah. They're, and you're hearing like the silverware and stuff?

Frank Caliendo (00:42:27):
Yeah, it's, it's, it's usually more of a finger food. But they're, yeah. They're, they're so are some that have full-on, you know, but that, that a lot of that happens during the opener or mc too. By the time I'm up, they're, they're, they're a drinking and they're warmed up and they're, they've gotten their food already.

Michael Jamin (00:42:45):
And then do you travel with their, with your, with your opener Or is it a local guy

Frank Caliendo (00:42:50):
Or one? I bring people with me because I know what they're doing. <Laugh>, Uhhuh, <affirmative>. I, I, I'm, I'm a control freak in terms of what's on before me. Right. Because I'm very clean. Even when I try to be dirty, it doesn't work because people wanna see me for being clean. Right. but I've had, I, you know, an opener thinks they're clean and you, you know, I only say that word once, like, wow, that's too many times for some of my audience. Right. Or they, they, they, they, they're not expecting it. Cause they've been there to see me before and I'm the one who's gonna get the emails in the club is. And so I just bring people that I know are gonna play and then I don't have to watch the set over and over and over.

Michael Jamin (00:43:31):
And then you, and then after you'll you how many shows?

Frank Caliendo (00:43:35):
Two is the most I'll doing at night, but I'd rather just do one. Right.

Michael Jamin (00:43:39):
It's exhausting. It's exhausting to hold that kind of attention for pe to people.

Frank Caliendo (00:43:43):
Yeah, it is. And I just have the point where I, I do it and I have, when I have fun doing it mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, that's when I go up and do it. And if I go up and I'm creating some, I'm having fun. If I'm doing an old set just for money and not creating, I'm not having fun. And that happened to me for five to 10 years where I was just doing the same thing all the time. I was making a ton of money Uhhuh. But I think some of my audience got like, well you're doing the same exact set. And it was just going, kind of going through the motions. And I, that wasn't a great time for myself for, you know, me personally. Not like I had anything wrong with family or anything. Like I just wasn't having fun doing the comedy.

Michael Jamin (00:44:24):

Frank Caliendo (00:44:24):
Then we

Michael Jamin (00:44:25):
Will you leave the next day or what, what or I don't wanna cut off. I

Frank Caliendo (00:44:28):
I used to leave the next morning, first flight to try and get home. Cause I have two little kids right at the time. Two little kids now. They don't like me that much anymore, so. Right. I don't mind going away for a little Do you have kids?

Michael Jamin (00:44:39):
I do, but they're grown. Yeah. They're

Frank Caliendo (00:44:41):
In college. Yeah. So, so you know that, I mean, when they're little, I was missing a lot cuz I was working a lot when they were little. I'd be on the road for a couple weeks at a time. I didn't see my son's first steps. I mean, I just, I didn't like that kinda stuff. So

Michael Jamin (00:44:56):
But you knew going into it, when you went to comedy, you knew that that's, that's what the life is gonna be like, right? Or No? Were you surprised? Yeah.

Frank Caliendo (00:45:03):
But you kind of assume you're gonna go you, you know, you Yes, yes. You do know. But you're also thinking maybe I'll land a TV show, Uhhuh <affirmative>, maybe I'll do, you know, you, you, I don't, and I didn't plan, I didn't plan in the terms of that. But listen, I don't have to work. I honestly don't have to work anymore. I really don't. I I'm, I'm at a point where I don't, so I do things that I really want to. Right. And I, you know, the NFL on Fox stuff, because I was associated with a NFL Hall of Famers and stuff. Like, I do big corporate shows for, you know, oh, do you? For the biggest, for the biggest companies in the world, Uhhuh. And that's, that's what I do. People, you know, I, you, you see one date on the you know, on my public dates, because I live in Phoenix, I don't have to go anywhere.

So I'm just gonna do it. I can do, I can go do it and I can, I can be home. People are asking me to do shows all the time. I'm like and also do a run of one night at different clubs so I can, I don't like looking at the same back of the room for, you know, five or six days. You know, three, four days, five shows. I just, I don't enjoy. So I don't do it. Right. I I I try to do the things now that I like to do.

Michael Jamin (00:46:19):
I didn't know your feet,

Frank Caliendo (00:46:20):
So I've saved a lot of money.

Michael Jamin (00:46:22):
How are you getting acting gigs in if you're all, if you're out

Frank Caliendo (00:46:24):
There? Well, have you seen me in anything? I don't

Michael Jamin (00:46:27):
<Laugh>. That's why.

Frank Caliendo (00:46:29):
Well, yeah. I don't, I, I don't I go, I go out to la I'll, I'll do some stuff on tape and things like that. Uhhuh <affirmative>, and people ask for me. But I, I, I, you know, yeah, there's, people call me now and I'll get people are like, Hey, will you do this? I'm like, yeah, if I don't have to do it, yeah. Yeah. I just go do it. And I was like, yeah. Like, I just did something recently that was a, a Zoom thing. Like it was actually Zoom in a movie, like a small, you know, like a, a Netflix kinda thing. Like, they're like, you can, you can, you don't even have to come here, you can just do a Zoom thing. And we made, it made the part became bigger. Right. Cause we, you know, I I I call it being serious to the point of being funny where you're just so serious. It's Will, will Ferrell does it really, really well. Right, right. Where you're so serious that it becomes funny. I that's what I, that's the comedy I like. I don't like hail I paid. Right, right.

Michael Jamin (00:47:22):

Frank Caliendo (00:47:23):
My testicles. That's not the kind of comedy I really like, but it's, a lot of times it's what you have to do to get like the, the funniest thing to me. I like that really uncomfortable stuff in serious. So, better Call Saul, you, are you a fan of that show? Yeah,

Michael Jamin (00:47:40):

Frank Caliendo (00:47:40):
Yeah. I like that. Mike Erman Trout.

Michael Jamin (00:47:42):

Frank Caliendo (00:47:43):
He's great. Will just odenkirk they will crack me up because it's not, they're not doing anything big and funny per se. They're just in a really awkward situation. But it's, the stakes are so high and it's really important. La Los Salam, monka, you know, it's like, yeah.

All these things are so, like, and stuff Brian Cranston would do on breaking Bad. And you'd watch them and you'd go, ah, like, I'd like to go. God, you're good. I go, that's the stuff that when somebody's just the character and I go, I, I was watching billions. I watched Billions and I started watching Paul Giamati and that's why I started doing that impression, just because I'm like, he's so good. And he's so, I believe these are ways, like, he's just so, like, the intensity and you, you know, you kind of know where he is going before he does, and then he can zig or zag and that's what makes him great. Cause you think you got him pinned down and you're like, oh.

Michael Jamin (00:48:51):
But, so what's interesting I'm hearing is that, so you have a platform, a stage where you can write, perform pretty much whatever you want to do, but at this point you kind of want someone else just to write for you. And I, I'll, I'll be, I'll just act, you know,

Frank Caliendo (00:49:04):
That's more of a, and I'll add my pieces if, if that's what you want. Like, I'll add a little flair or that, that's really more what I do wanna do. Yeah. I mean it's, it's, I dunno, I don't want the, this is gonna sound terrible, but it, I, maybe it is, maybe, but after having a couple shows that I developed or, you know, development deals that just fell apart and weren't what I wanted them to be. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I just wanna be in somebody else's who's a real good fighter and go, let's work together. I like being part of a team. Right. And I don't wanna be on a team where somebody wants to do something completely different than me. Right. I don't wanna do that. But if somebody's in the same, in the, in the same wavelength and they're going, and you, you know when that is, can you just start having fun?

You go, that's what I was gonna say. And then you, you do it and they're like, I, I know. Don't even say it. I'm gonna do exactly what you're about to say. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, this is it. Don't worry if I don't, we'll shoot it again, but I know what you're gonna say right here. Cuz I saw the light bulb go on with you as soon as it on with me. Here we go. Right. So, yeah. I, that's, I wanna, I wanna be a part of somebody else's thing. That's really, and, and when people think of me, they think I wanna be a one man band. I didn't even wanna be a one man band on my own show. I, I, I, I just, right. I don't know. I, I like being something, I like being part of something bigger. And it doesn't, agents don't always understand that either, because agents a lot of the time, like, you could, you should do your own thing. I'm like, but if I do my own thing, then it's just about me. I'm sick of it being about me. How about it is about,

Michael Jamin (00:50:41):
I'll tell you this cuz this gets back to Spade, but I'm just, shoot me. He didn't wanna be on screen. If he wasn't, he wanted to hit a home run, walk off, stay stage. I mean, that was it. He didn't need to hang around. He didn't need to count lines, he didn't need to have storylines. He's like, no, just lemme hit a couple home runs and I'll, you know, I'll do what I need to do and then leave.

Frank Caliendo (00:50:59):
And, you know, and, and you and you're, you're better like that. You're, you're better because you don't look like you're hanging around you. People can't wait to see you come in. Yeah. People know that your part's going to be fun. Now everybody can't be that. You have to have people that are going to drive the show. Right. Right. Arthur on king of Queens. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, he is gonna come in from the base and be like, I had no idea this was gonna be this way. By the way, he had one of the greatest Jerry Stiller came up me, I did the Seinfeld bit Montreal at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Uhhuh <affirmative>. Jerry Stiller comes up to me afterward and it's the greatest. Like, this is awesome. He goes, you know, I really enjoyed your show, especially the portion. And I was like, oh, that is, oh, thank you Mr. Stiller. He's like, now could you tell me where the bathroom is? <Laugh>?

Michael Jamin (00:51:49):

Frank Caliendo (00:51:49):
Just wanted to know,

Michael Jamin (00:51:50):

Frank Caliendo (00:51:51):
You just wanted to know when the bathroom was <laugh>. And that was, I told j I told Ben Stiller that I told him that at, it was, I think it was after his father pass away. I did a show called Birthday Boys. And it was actually, it was, it was really a funny thing. But it was, he was playing a Robin Williams type teacher, dead poet society kind of teacher. Ben Stiller was, who was directed by Bob. Bob. Bob Odenkirk is directing it as a guest director. But it was so awesome. Yeah. see, there's go sir. So I, I, I told, I told that Ben Stiller just the moment he heard it, he's like, <laugh>, like, like he was almost embarrassed. That's my dad. Like, that's just my dad being my dad. Like, I've been there, man. But I, I remember in that, that was one of my favorite things too. Well the, the thing they wrote is why I wanna tell you this too, was the bit they wrote <laugh> was he's this, like I said, this dead poet society kind of teacher. But he's going, you know, he's, he's teaching outside the box and he's supposed to be teaching the Diary of Anne Frank, but he's teaching the Diary of Frank Kelly instead <laugh>.

Michael Jamin (00:53:02):
Right. It's funny.

Frank Caliendo (00:53:03):
And, and it's, you know, it's a joke of making fun of me, but I was like, God, just to be in this joke. And Bob Oden is directing and Ben still is doing it. The birthday boys wrote it. It's like, oh. And I made Stiller laugh. Cause when Odenkirk kind of went off the script, he's like, just, he's having Mr. Stiller. No, he's having Ben just tell me. He's like okay. Adam Sandler at a, at a funeral. And I was like, oh grandma, where did you have leave? Where were you? I leaving And then Ben starts cracking up. He's like, I can't go. I can't go out. He stopped. He stopped. And I go, I just, Ben laugh on the set. Oh. I go, this is the greatest day of my life. And Stiller is like, let's get going. You know? He's like, no, he was, he was great. But it was so funny too cause it was a moment for me, like, oh, this is one of the people I look up to is one of the great reactors. Yeah. Like Ben Stiller as funny as he could be presenting something about Mary, to me it was all about him reacting. Yeah. Every, you know, like reactive comedy to me is some of the best cuz that's where the laugh comes from. Right? This is exactly right. Not always the line. It's where

Michael Jamin (00:54:13):
No, you're exactly right's. What's happening. That's something we, it's very true. A lot of people don't realize that when you're, when you're shooting a comedy or sitcom the coverage is you need a single on the person saying line and the single on the person laughing. You need both those shots cuz it's not funny until you see the

Frank Caliendo (00:54:29):
Reaction and how's the person taking it? Right? Yeah. How's the person absorbing it? Maybe that's what you're saying. You said the laugh, but it's like Yeah.

Michael Jamin (00:54:37):
Yeah. I didn't mean the laugh. I mean the response. The response.

Frank Caliendo (00:54:39):
Yeah. Yeah. Because that's what, it's joke isn't funny unless you understand how it's hitting people. Yeah. It's just a line until you see the relationship. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, the, the two people. Two people, the chemistry. Right. It's the chemistry that happens. The line can be said from two different people and it might die, said the same way, but the reaction, how the other person receives it. Right. Makes it.

Michael Jamin (00:55:07):
And, but, and that's why you need to shoot it not in a two shot, but in singles because it's like, okay, you're waiting. What's the single of the, what's the reaction if you see it in the two shot? You're like, it, it's kind of, there's no moment. You need the moment of the

Frank Caliendo (00:55:19):
Shot. You know. And that was always, that was another thing that I always had a problem with with agents understand. And I, I, again, I wasn't famous enough to be able to do this stuff. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and not famous, but I'm like, I like to react. I like to take it in Yeah. And do something small because, but they want me to come in and be the big over the top character all the time. I'm like, that's why I started to, to to audition for more dramatic stuff and realistic stuff. Cuz I was like, when you do that little stuff in a mm-hmm. <Affirmative> in a, that, that's when they go, oh, this person knows what they're doing. Yeah. This person knows how to do it. And I ju you know, it's, I, I started watching more and more actors talk about it. And I just started getting just started recently getting more comfortable with the way to audition.

Cause I, I got thrown into Hollywood when I first went out to Hollywood. They had me auditioning for all I was in rooms with people I shouldn't have been in rooms with. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Like, I was in rooms with directors and I was going straight to producers just because I was the new thing. Right. And this new guy that, you know, was just getting development deal action. And I didn't know how to act. And I didn't know the, you know, I, I still think I'm learning a ton, but I didn't even know where to look for an, an, an audition. I didn't know. I was looking into ca into the ca and agents don't tell you. Right. I was looking into the camera. I didn't know how to take. But didn't you

Michael Jamin (00:56:41):
Take classes? Didn't

Frank Caliendo (00:56:42):
You study? No, because I was just, I went there. I was just, I was just thrown in. I was on tv. I'd never done a sketch. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I'd never done like a sketch in a show. In a live show. And I was shooting them on tv. Right. That's how fast it was for me. That's, I was doing standup. I was, you know, standup. And then I was on a show. I was on a show called Hype on the wb. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> that failed pretty quickly. Like they had the whole night. It's the w it's hype night. I'm the wb Three weeks later it's the WB Sunday <laugh>. That's when you know that your show is no longer Wow. The focus of the night.

Michael Jamin (00:57:18):
So, so, but it so standup that you wanted to do getting into it. Right. And then acting.

Frank Caliendo (00:57:23):
I didn't even wanna do standup Michael. I didn't even really wanna do stand. I just didn't know what I wanted to do. But you, I never had a plan. I did. Cause I went to school for broadcast journalism and I didn't like to be the one asking the questions. Right. I liked, I liked watching Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, even Jim Careys. I got a little bit older. I liked watching people on talk shows. Uhhuh, <affirmative> telling stories. Right. That's what I like. I like Jonathan Winters. Oh, I did something just a little weird today. You know, he's, I like him.

That was the stuff I loved. And that was a problem. That's one of my problems. That's all I ever really wanted to do. As soon as I was a guest on talk shows, I'm like, that's what I wanted to do. It wasn't until I matured a little bit later, Uhhuh <affirmative>. And I've always been like a, an old soul. But I didn't know what I wanted to do. And then I started getting it. I started, I think I started to have more emotions in life. I started to, I had kids and I started to tear up when, you know, somebody did. I mean, I had, like, I could, I never understood the arc of a story. I didn't understand things when I was younger. I was just like, okay, I'll go in there, do lines now. I'm like, oh my God. There's so much subtext to what's happening here.

Yeah. this is, this is, I mean, I'll start to, I, a friend of mine gave me some good news about his son the other day. And I start to tear. I mean, these little things, I'm like mm-hmm. <Affirmative> god, I'm a I'm a mush puddle. Yeah. But that's good in acting because you can use it. Right. When I was, when I was new to Ho, I didn't know any of it. I don't know. Right. Remember seeing of the stupidest things I ever said to him, I was, I was a, I was auditioning for a John Travolta movie. I think it was the General's daughter. It was, but it was a real movie. And I went in and I wasn't, I probably was terrible. I wasn't any good at all. And I, they were like, they, they, they're like have you done any acting? I'm like, no.

It's just like being on tv Right. At movie acting. I'm like, no. It's just like, they're like, no, it's it's <laugh>. It's very, very different. And I was like, well, nobody told me. They just told me to come in here and do a bunch of impressions and impress you at that. And you might put me in the movie. And it never, you know, it was, and I was some, like, I would get people's attention doing the wrong thing and they, I was memorable, but I was never really good for the part. Right. I was never really what? At the beginning. And I just didn't like auditioning cuz I didn't, I didn't know what I was doing. I don't, I like to know what, I could go into something and be this interview. I can just come in and be me and talk about the things I, you know, I can do that.

I can really do that. Now I'm getting to a point where if I wanna go in and, you know, if I, if I get call for an audition on something, I like to be really prepared to the point where I'll, I'll if I'm not, I just go, I don't wanna go in and do this audition that agents be like, they just wanna see you. Just try it. And I'll be like, let me see if I can be happy enough. And I'm starting to get to the point where, cuz I've watched and talked to some other casting directors, they're like, dude, perfect isn't, you don't need to be perfect. You don't even need to be close to be perfect. They just need to see something in that first time they see you. That's interesting that they go, this might be, cuz you can always build, cuz you work with a casting director.

That's why you go back for callbacks. Right, right. Because they see the little piece and they go something some, and then they go, well you know what, you're not right for this, but can you read for this? Right. Because this might be, cuz there's, we saw this moment, there was some moment of real, you just did something. It was a breath you took. And we're like, everybody watched that breath a thou like really? You watched that, that breath is what they're like, nobody knows why this stuff works, but it does. Yeah. And you see something in somebody's eye and you see you see an, you see an a something in an audition that just catches something. And it's interesting. And that's what I always tell people. I say, you don't always, if comedy isn't always about being funny, it's about being interesting. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.

Right. You hold somebody's interest now that, that the, the network TV is not a hundred percent the truth. But, and that's what her network TV comedy sometimes and Right. I agree. But it's, if, if you are interesting, people will continue to watch mm-hmm. <Affirmative> if you're funny. Not that interesting while you're funny. People are like, I've seen funny before. But what, yeah. Why do I want to see, why do I wanna watch more from this person? What's, what is pulling me in? What's the, what's, what's the, you know, like a gravitational pull of seeing this person and looking at watching their eye. What are they thinking right now? John Lovett said to me, he goes, the camera captures thought. And I was like, oh, that's interesting. I never even thought of it that way. So they, it's like the camera knows what Jake thinking. Do you have any t-shirts around? Why do you want t-shirts? I don't. Lovett's just walked around my house going, this is yours. This is yours. How much <laugh>? This would cost millions by me.

Michael Jamin (01:02:40):
Wow. This So. Well it's such an interesting creative journey that you had. I mean, honestly. Cause it wasn't like you, you didn't really know where you're going, but you got there. You didn't have a destination when you got there though.

Frank Caliendo (01:02:49):
Yeah. I, I don't even know if I meant the destination I wanted to be. I meant, I'm, I'm, I'm kind of at a, a point where I don't wanna, I just do the stuff that people know me for just mm-hmm. <Affirmative> to keep it out there so they, until I can find something that somebody goes, you know what, let's give him a shot. That's really, and I used to not be like that. I used to be scared to try and do things if somebody wanted me to read for a, a a, you know, serious part. And I'm not talking about crying and stuff like that. I, I I just mean you know, justs just holding somebody's attention in a drum. It's not as easy as people think. Yeah. Yeah. Comedy in, in a lot of ways comedy way harder as, you know, like there's moments, there are things about comedy mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that are just so, a lot of people, a lot of great actors can't do it at

Michael Jamin (01:03:35):
All. Yeah, for sure.

Frank Caliendo (01:03:36):
For sure. But there's, there's something about holding somebody's attention. Uhhuh <affirmative> on screen. That that's just not, it's, you know, you can direct it you can direct it into happening some. But there are some people that I just use. I I want to watch what they're doing. So I'm sorry. It sounded like you had other

Michael Jamin (01:03:56):
Thoughts. No, no. I, I'm, I'm rap. I'm just, it's so inter, like I said, it's just interesting to hear how people go on a creative journey. Maybe you're not, maybe you haven't gotten as much as I, I think you've gone a script incredibly far, but you just wanna do more. And you wanna move away from

Frank Caliendo (01:04:11):
I just wanna be different. And I don't mind going back and doing some of the things I've done, but anytime anybody's ever cast me in a show, they rewrite the part for the guy to do impressions and Right. You know, and I then I'm like, well, that's fine. But can my character have some sort of arc and not just be one dimensional? Right. How about I, you know, I do something. I have feelings. I, you know, and not just big over the top, but it, it ends up getting, you know, most of the time that's not what they're looking for anyways. It just, which is fine. I've just done that. Right. you

Michael Jamin (01:04:44):
Wanna push yourself, that's

Frank Caliendo (01:04:45):
All. Yeah. We're doing gonna be different. I mean, it's, I, I'm, and I'm at a point where I'm starting to believe in myself enough that I can do some of it. Right. Whereas you have to, you have to believe that you can do things because if you don't, again, that shows you, there's a, there's confidence and there's false confidence. You know, fake it till you make it. But there's just something about somebody who, when they really, when they really get it and they're like, that's what I was talking about with Better Callal Billions. You watch these actors and you go, oh God, they're really, really good. That's just a high level. Yeah. Yeah. Of selling. And, and, and, and, and just, you feel it when you just feel for the people and you care. You can't wait to see you. You, you, I don't wanna say live vicariously through them, but you, you, you almost do. It's like you're just, you wanna go, oh no. Oh. Like you worried that it's actually happening. Right,

Michael Jamin (01:05:38):
Right. Invested.

Frank Caliendo (01:05:40):
Yeah. The investment. We being invested. Yeah. It's hard to, it's hard to do. I, I had this other theory of all my theories, you can bust it, but network television's been like that for the longest time. It's pretty people telling you what they're going to do. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it's, they all, it's all exposition. I'm gonna go down the street right now and take a look and see it. And if you watch FX or something like that, they let you figure it out. Yes. In their character, they look like a char, like Michael Trout. They, they, you, they give you the time to figure out like, what is he, what are they doing? They do. Oh

Michael Jamin (01:06:15):
Yeah. It's ironic cuz the writing, the breaking of those stories are very similar between a network show and a, and a cable show. It's just that in a cable show or a smarter written show, you you, you just, you don't say it as much. You don't, you're not as clear. And so people think, oh, this is a smarter writing because you're, you're allowing the audience to do more thinking. They're ha they have to just stay engaged. Whereas sometimes, you know, writing that isn't sophisticated, you're just telling them. But it's very similar in terms of writing. It's actually, in some ways it's easier to write smart, I think, than it is because you're, you know, you do the work. <Laugh>, I'll let you do some work.

Frank Caliendo (01:06:48):
You know? Yeah. I mean, we don't, we don't, we don't always talk. We don't, what we don't do in life is tell people what we actually want. Yeah. A lot of times we tell people the opposite. That's acting too. Right. That's, that's you're telling somebody something, but you're trying to get something else. Yeah. Or you're not letting you, you just, you're trying to hide, but you're trying to get something else. Right. Right. And that's actually what's going on. And in, in, in the network stuff, a lot of times you're ac you're, you're just telling them what you're trying to do. And the music tells you that you're being sneaky.

Michael Jamin (01:07:21):

Frank Caliendo (01:07:22):
Yeah. Right. But in a, in the cable show, you're, you're not telling 'em flat out and you're going, why is he being so nice to him? What? That doesn't make sense. Oh,

Michael Jamin (01:07:32):
Right. And, and you don't use that music. The le we always my partner, like fewer, the fewer music cues the better because we don't have to tell the audience what to feel. Let's

Frank Caliendo (01:07:40):
Figure it out.

Michael Jamin (01:07:41):
<Laugh>. But yeah, sometimes you have to put wall to wall music on this stuff. But wow. This is, this has been an interesting talk. There's a lot, there's a lot to you, Frank. There's not just a guy. There's

Frank Caliendo (01:07:49):
A lot more than Right. You thought I was, you thought,

Michael Jamin (01:07:52):
No, I just kind thought you were a shallow bottle guy's voice. Now

Frank Caliendo (01:07:56):
Is this,

Michael Jamin (01:07:56):
Is this your real voice or is this a voice you're doing?

Frank Caliendo (01:07:59):
This is a character I've been working on. <Laugh>. he's a

Michael Jamin (01:08:03):

Frank Caliendo (01:08:04):
He's good. He's he's hit it. You really hit it. Killing you understand me more love. Let's take the curtain down. Hey, this is the real wow, man. Yes. I'm actually, I'm actually from another country. Yes. IM, and I'm not even sure where I'm from, but it's across the pond. Of course.

Michael Jamin (01:08:28):
Are you good at languages too? Cuz you can, you're, you such

Frank Caliendo (01:08:31):
A Some, but I, I, the one thing that I get worried about is I don't, I've never studied people to know what the intricacies of a good accent actually are. So I could do a big fakey accent for somebody mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. But somebody who actually speaks the lang or speaks with the accent would be like, no, that's, that's not, that's not it. And I, I have a little lack of I could, I, if I worked on it, Uhhuh <affirmative>, I've been doing a little bit more of it's something that really, you know, I, I could do really well. I think it would just be, I think it just takes the time. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, I remember and it's interesting, like you, you find it's the same thing with like impressions. It's just a general impression. You'd find the speech pattern of how people kind of talk.

I remember the, the funny one for Australian to keep it Australian in the, it was the, the Wiggles. You remember the Wiggles? Yeah. Yeah. They were the, I had my kids meet the Wiggles. I wasn't out there at their concert, but it was, I was, but with my kid, with my son. But they, he, they said, I was talking about Australian accent and they said the vows are flat. The vows are flat. Yeah. And that's the thing is the flat vows, if you listen to vowels, that's how you hear, that's how you know Oz oz are from Wisconsin. Wisconsin. Yeah. I'm from, or Chicago. Chicago down south. Yeah. Chicago. You draw the valves out. So you can, you find, you do different, you hit different concerts, you hit different vows, which sounds like, oh, that you're just pronunciate. But it's, it's, it's a, I'm saying I'm, I might might be articulating it perfectly, but the, the vows are so important into to, to how people speak and it's how, it's how an impression's found too. Yeah. You listen to where, where, where they draw out the cause it's hard to, it's hard hard to draw out a T. Right. It's just a, you can hit the T hard, you can hit it soft. Soft. But

Michael Jamin (01:10:25):
There's something you can't do, I imagine. Cuz they don't just have, they're just not, you know, I think

Frank Caliendo (01:10:30):
Specific, you haven't heard me, like, people ask me that at all the time. I go, well, if you haven't heard me do it, I can't. That's one of those, one of those things. And then when you, it's hard because when you put an impression out there that isn't ready, and I've done that a couple times mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, all people do is tell you how bad it is. I'm like, that's what I'm telling you. This is something I'm working on. And Yeah.

Michael Jamin (01:10:51):
But in, but some people I don't think have a specificity to be impersonate. Do, do you think? Or no?

Frank Caliendo (01:10:57):
Yeah. Correct. There's two normal, but I've heard that said about certain people. Like people tell me there's like, they, like somebody would say, mark Ruffler, how did you do Mark Ruffler? And I go, Uhhuh, I just listened enough. And I geez, I dunno. And you, you find it. Just find it. It's there. Right. I I, I see this and I find a phrase. So in, in end endgame, Avengers endgame, he says, I, I see this as an absolute win. And that was what I came off of. What I, that was the key phrase that right. Like Morgan Freeman, I always launch at troop is factor. The matter is, and I can just go into it. Right. Robert Downey Jrs. So here's the deal. Jeff Gobel, aye Yes, of course. I, you know, those, you find those little things. It's like pulling the, the, what's the mechanism on the lawnmower to start the lawnmower. Right. It's it's doing that to get it

Michael Jamin (01:11:51):

Frank Caliendo (01:11:52):
Wow. To get the, to get the motor rolling.

Michael Jamin (01:11:55):
Frank. Wow. Man. We've covered a lot of stuff today. This is, I think this is, this is very interesting. Wow. Wow. Well I, I appreciate, thank you so much for joining me. But I, I wanna make sure before we, before we sign off, cuz I've had you, I've had you for, you know, I'm taking a lot of your time. I wanna make sure people can follow you and know where to follow you everywhere and, and you know, so they know what you're up to.

Frank Caliendo (01:12:19):
Pretty much as everything is at Frank Callo, if you can't spell Callo, it's the letter C, the word alien and the word do. So at Frank C. Alien. Do

Michael Jamin (01:12:28):
I think you made it harder by saying that

Frank Caliendo (01:12:30):
I might have <laugh> but it's memorable. What is that thing he

Michael Jamin (01:12:35):
Said? Wait, he said alien

Frank Caliendo (01:12:37):
<Laugh>. There's an alien in there.

Michael Jamin (01:12:40):

Frank Caliendo (01:12:41):
But yeah, all Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, they're all at Frank Kelly, so. Right. wow. And the tour dates, frank gets you to that. There's only one right now. The Phoenix date on February 4th.

Michael Jamin (01:12:57):
So go see this guy. I was just, I was actually just there recently just, just dropped. Were, yeah, I went to see I went to Oracle to visit family. Yeah. You know where Oracle is,

Frank Caliendo (01:13:06):
Don't you? I

Michael Jamin (01:13:07):
Don't. It's north of it. It's near Tucson. Oh, where Tucson is.

Frank Caliendo (01:13:11):
I've heard of it.

Michael Jamin (01:13:12):
I drove, I drove through Phoenix. I know that part.

Frank Caliendo (01:13:15):
Alright, next time lemme me know.

Michael Jamin (01:13:17):
I'll let you know, man. Frank, thank you so much, man. What a pleasure. Absolutely. Thank you so much for doing my, doing this little show and and then hang on. Well, I'll, I'll, well, but I'll I sign off and say goodbye then. I'll, I'll thank you in person some more. But but thank you everyone. Yeah. Thank you for, I don't know. Thank you for listening and until next time. Yeah, keep fo make sure to follow Frank and we'll talk more. Alright everyone, thanks again.

Phil Hudson (01:13:40):
This has been an episode of Screenwriters Need to Hear This with Michael Jamin. If you'd like to support this podcast, please consider subscribing, leaving your review and sharing this podcast with someone who needs to hear today's subject. For free daily screenwriting tips, follow Michael on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok @MichaelJaminWriter. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok @PhilAHudson. This episode was produced by Phil Hudson and edited by Dallas Crane. Until next time, keep writing.

Author Details
For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.