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How to Do Impressions

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but impressions are the foundation of comedy. Here’s how to do impressions that are sure to impress.


  • TIP: If you don't have access to a video camera, practice in a mirror while recording your voice.
  • Step 1: Add comedy to your mimicry. Put your subject into atypical or humorous situations and act as they would to highlight their most distinctive traits. Then, once you've mastered one subject, add other people to your repertoire and show off your mimicry to an adoring public.
  • FACT: Appearing on _The Tonight Show_ in 2009, comedian Dana Carvey did impressions of 18 celebrities in 1 minute.
  • Step 2: Once you're familiar with your subject, experiment with your impression. Record and watch your performance to see how well you imitate their vocal and physical qualities. Keep repeating the impression until you’ve mastered it.
  • Step 3: Study your subject's physicality. Watch their face, hand movements, posture, and any other distinctive physical traits.
  • TIP: If possible, make a video recording of your subject to use as reference.
  • Step 4: Listen closely to the person's voice. Note their pitch, tone and the speed and rhythm of their speech pattern. See if they have an accent, and note any phrases they use frequently, which you can incorporate into your impression.
  • Step 5: Observe the person you want to mimic. Study their tone, mannerisms, and mood to figure out how you will approach capturing their personality.

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