Lifestyle & Belief

Faking the stars: famous and funny impersonations (VIDEO)


A man talks on his mobile phone in central London on October 17, 2012.


Carl Court

Celebrity impersonations have been with us since the notion of celebrity was invented, as mere mortals try to capitalize on — or mock — the elite.

In the wake of Kate Middleton's internationally-vaunted morning sickness, two Australian DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, and managed to extract some juicy information about the Duchess from unwitting hospital staff.

But this recent incident is by no means the only famous impersonation in history. Here some other imitators of the rich and powerful (including some of the rich and powerful themselves).

1. Mitt Romney Really, Really Likes Pretending to be a Cop. It's Kind of Weird.

Some college students enjoy attending keggers, and others like to go to rock concerts, and some are rather keen on intramural sports. Mitt Romney, while attending Stanford, had a different hobby: the future Presidential candidate really got a kick out of pretending to be a police officer.

Romney's somewhat curious past-time began while he was still in high school in Michigan, when he realized he could attach a light to his car and pull random people over with impunity, said the Boston Globe, which covered the somewhat surreal story back in June.

Romney continued the act during his undergraduate studies at Stanford, perhaps as a reaction to the hippie, anti-war sentiments in the air at the time. Romney would occasionally cruise campus in his car with a fake light affixed to the top, occasionally ticketing students for unauthorized make-out sessions.

Some of Romney's Stanford classmates didn't quite see the humor in the cop act — nor in the uniform he allegedly displayed in his dorm room.

"We thought it was all pretty weird,” said a former classmate to the National Memo. “We all thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty creepy.’ And after that, we didn’t have much inter­action with him.”

2. Sarah Palin Gossips With Fake Nicholas Sarkozy about Big Game Hunting

Remember Sarah Palin? You betcha!

Before the Mama Grizzly's fall from political grace after her unsuccessful VP run, Palin was the butt of a rather astoundingly successful prank-call by Canadian radio-humor duo the Masked Avengers: she was led to believe she was having a little gab sesh with former French President Nicholas Sarkozy. But she wasn't.

Read more from GlobalPost: Royal baby pranked: Kate Middleton's hospital gets hoax call from Australian radio station

Avenger Marc-Antoine Audette, speaking in a hilariously thick French accent, chatted with Sarah about topics including hunting ("I just love killing those animals. Mm, mm. Take away a life, that is so fun!"), next door neighbors ("You know we have a lot in common also except that from my house I can see Belgium"), and Joe The Plumber ("Yes, yes, I understand, we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France, it’s called, "Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit, oui.")

The Masked Avengers finally broke it to Sarah that she'd been pranked — and although she tried to sound nonchalant, it was pretty obvious she wasn't exactly thrilled.

Here's the hugely amusing recording of the call here. You can also read a transcript from the Daily Kos.


3. Everyone On the Planet Imitates Justin Bieber

No, really: Justin Bieber impersonation has reached plague-like levels, and there's little indication the scourge will stop anytime soon. Something about the baby-faced teen idol fascinates (and often repulses) the public — including The Biebs' fellow celebrities.

Indeed, his colleagues in ridiculous international fame seem to enjoy pretending to be him the most, especially at major events. This is probably because it's really funny, but there may be some deeper, darker motivation at play here.

Recent offenders include: Bruno Mars (head-jerkingly good), Miley Cyrus (Oh dear), and Jimmy Fallon (not quite convinced). Lady GaGa was, however, by no means impersonating Biebs when she vomited on stage. She simply had to vomit.

The best effort? Heart-throb grown man Michael Buble takes the prize. Remarkable.

And then there's Justin Bieber himself, who in 2011 did a somewhat awkward impersonation of President Obama. This is getting awfully meta.

Better watch out: you may wake up one morning filled with an insatiable desire to spend your day disguised as Justin Bieber if this, uh, malarkey doesn't end soon.

4. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro Totally Can't Take a Joke

Some Communist dictators just can't accept when the joke's on them. That's what happened when two mischievous presenters from Miami's Radio El Zol successfully prank-called Hugo Chavez, the perhaps equally-mischievous president of Venezuela, leading him to believe he was on the phone with old friend Fidel Castro back in 2003.

Presenters Joe Ferrero and Enrique Santos used recordings of Fidel Castro's voice to trick Chavez into thinking he was an average (if somewhat one-sided) conversation with the Cuban despot, says the BBC—until Ferrero and Santos launched into an expletive-laden critique of Chavez's policies. Chavez immediately hung up. If you understand Spanish, here's a recording.

But the prank didn't end there. The two presenters decided to go for even bigger game: Fidel Castro himself. Using pre-recorded words by Hugo Chavez this time, the two got through to Fidel Castro and engaged him in a surreal chat about some lost luggage — until they accused Castro of being an "assassin" (among other things).

Castro, for his part, shot back, peppering the discussion with angry expletives until he hung up. You can view the obscene transcript here. Someone obviously got up on the wrong side of the revolution that morning.

5. Queen Elizabeth II: Grand Dame of Prank-Calls

The Kate Middleton kerfuffle isn't the first time Queen Elizabeth II has been involved with a prank-call. Infamous prank-caller Pierre Brassard, a Canadian DJ, got through to the Queen one way or another back in 1995, pretending to be the Canadian President. 

Brassard yammered on with the Queen for a good 15 minutes on the air about everything from Canadian separatists hoping to break from England to Halloween costumes, and she was apparently none the wiser — here's the transcript.

Brassard, infamously, also managed to prank-call the Pope, according to the BBC. The now-deceased Pope John Paul II apparently figured out the conversation was a ruse when Brassard asked if he'd consider getting a propeller for his pointy papal hat.