Alec Baldwin is hinting that he’s about done with his amusing impression of US president Donald Trump. But there’s someone else ready to assume the mantle: Anthony Atamanuik, an improv actor and arguably the world’s preeminent Trump impersonator, who will host a new show on Comedy Central, the network announced yesterday. Produced by veterans of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the new series aims to be the definitive satire of Trump, even as the absurdity of his administration increasingly parodies itself.
Atamanuik made his name lampooning the president as part of the “Trump vs. Bernie” mock debate tour during the presidential campaign last year. On the new series, aptly titled The President Show, Atamanuik will host his own late-night talk show in character as Trump, complete with guest interviews, field pieces, and more. Starting on April 27, it’ll air Thursday nights on Comedy Central after Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show.
The comedy world has struggled to satirize Trump, who often seems like his own best caricature—but that hasn’t stopped comedians from trying. Most notably, Baldwin has intermittently performed as Trump on the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live, but he’s signaled that role may soon come to an end. Comedians have had some success targeting the president’s advisors and cabinet members. On Saturday Night Live, actress Melissa McCarthy’s stab at press secretary Sean Spicer is a work of comedic genius, for example.
Atamanuik has far less star power than Baldwin, but his Trump impression is even more uncanny. Below is the first teaser for The President Show, in which Atamanuik’s Trump, aboard Air Force One, brags to reporters that ”Comedy Central begged me—begged me!—to do this show.”
Atamanuik, like every late-night host, will be aided by a sidekick. On The President Show, that sidekick is vice president Mike Pence, performed by Peter Grosz, who has written for The Colbert Report and has a role on HBO’s political satire Veep. Among the show’s producers is Jason Ross, an Emmy-winning 11-year veteran of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.
“Laughing at the President is a proud American tradition and we hope not to disappoint anyone in that department,” Atamanuik said in a statement. “But our political system is too broken for us to be content joking about one man, even though he is a disastrous silly little toddler boy.”
Indeed, there’s reason to hope The President Show will offer more than belly laughs by providing some sharp analysis mixed in with the satire, as its predecessor in that time slot, The Colbert Report, did. The central impression is spot-on, and the comedic pedigree of those involved in the show is excellent. But in order to make its mark on politics, The President Show will have to do more than just mock the mannerisms and bizarre vocal cadences of the US commander-in-chief.