->'''Ryan:''' I've gotta say... You've known him for how long?
->'''Geoff:''' Uh, I have known him since 200...4?
->'''[[Creator/GavinFree Gavin]]:''' I mean, online? 2003.
->'''Ryan:''' In a context, in-person, yeah.
->'''Geoff:''' So, eleven years?
->'''Ryan:''' And that's the ''best'' Gavin impression that you can do?
->'''[[Creator/MichaelJones Michael]]:''' It's Geoff, though; it's always insulting.
->'''Geoff:''' I'm not trying to do an ''accurate'' Gavin impression; I'm trying to be insulting.
-->-- ''[[Creator/AchievementHunter The Off Topic Podcast]]''

Impressions have been a staple of comedy for quite a long time, and a staple of ''bad'' comedy for about five seconds shorter. Ergo, when one of your characters is a comedian, impressions tend to crop up. If your character is a bad comedian, though, his impression is likely to be sub-par at best. Want to point this out to the audience? Couldn't be easier. Simply have him do one or more of the following:

* Having them say who they're impersonating, either before or after they do so.
* Have them sound nothing like the guy. When a male comedian impersonates a female (or vice versa), this can be chalked up to [[LarynxDissonance voicebox difficulties]].
* Butchering the impersonatee's accent. Giving a Cockney celebrity a Scottish accent in your impersonation is firmly this trope. Exaggerating for comedic effect (making the Cockney celebrity speak in full rhyming slang while, normally, he or she just pronounces words in a decidedly Cockney way) is just caricature.
* Doing the voice properly, but [[BeamMeUpScotty misquoting the celebrity in question.]] Badly. Even if another character corrects him, make sure the impressionist continues to screw up.

If a comedian does this intentionally, it's not this trope. Neither is it if he lampshades the fact that his impressions are terrible and otherwise doesn't make them a big part of his routine.

See StylisticSuck, and subtropes such as BadBadActing and HollywoodToneDeaf. This trope is not about bad Impressionist painters.


[[folder: Comic Strips ]]

* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'': When said characters imitate each other, they do the "I'm so and so, DURR" variety. One time, Calvin's mom cut it short by calling him back to the house, leading to this exchange:
-->'''Calvin:''' Leave it up to mom to interrupt our repartee.\\
'''Hobbes:''' Just when I had you writhing within the crushing grip of reason, too.


[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/{{Help}}'', Superintendent Gluck does a bad impression of Ringo over the phone: "Hello, this is the famous Ringo, gear, fab. What can I do for you, as it were, gear, fab?"
** Not a bit like Cagney.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* There are numerous examples in Michael Winterbottom's ''The Trip'' (and the feature film ''A Cock And Bull Story'') that sees actor Rob Brydon do a deliberately over the top version of character Alan Partridge when making fun of the actor Steve Coogan ("I don't talk like this".)
* Actor Michael Caine has appeared on chat shows doing impressions of people doing impressions of him (The classic being his supposed "catchphrase" of "And not a lot of people know that").
* Although it seems to be deliberate to an extent, [[Series/CountdownWithKeithOlbermann Keith Olbermann]] does truly terrible impressions of those he doesn't like. For instance, his Lou Dobbs impression sounds like [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack Yoda]].
** This trope follows Olbermann to ''Football Night in America'' whenever he tries to revive [[http://www.sportscenteraltar.com/phrases/usage.asp?ID=323 this SportsCenter catchphrase]] complete with bad impression of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.
** Keith is very proud of his Lou Dobbs impression. When Dobbs left CNN his main complaint was that he'd have to retire the impression.
** Keith can, however, pull off a decent [[Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow Ted Baxter]] impression.
* A unique example of this was Creator/AndyKaufman's Foreign Man persona -- whom his audience didn't initially know ''was'' a persona. Foreign Man did ''dreadful'' impressions of whoever the then-current U.S. president was, [[Series/AllInTheFamily Archie Bunker]] and [[Series/TheEdSullivanShow Ed Sullivan]], but thought they were excellent.[[note]]For example, "This is my impression of President Jimmy Carter. ''[pause, then with no change of voice]'' Hello, I am President Jimmy Carter. Thank you very much."[[/note]] As a result, crowds were nonplussed when Kaufman said he would now impersonate Music/ElvisPresley...and then shocked when it turned out to be a good impersonation, complete with full costume.
* ''Series/{{MADtv}}'' used a variant: a geeky white guy gets up on stage and does an absolutely hideous Bill Cosby impression (he even mispronounces it as "Closby") that has the audience in stitches, much to the consternation of a black guy in the audience who we saw earlier doing a decent impression. The black guy tries to go up and show everyone how it's supposed to be done, but he chokes up behind the microphone and can't pull it off.
* A running joke on both versions of ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' is that Colin Mochrie isn't the best impressionist in the world. Taken to an extreme during one infamous "Questionable Impressions" sketch, where his Craig T. Nelson impression is... his own voice, completely unaltered. (Both are Canadian.)
** Ryan Stiles is hardly any better-- in particular, his John Wayne impression is... "unique".
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'':
** In one episode, John [=MacEnroe=] is pleading with Creator/LorneMichaels to let him host the show, and attempts to display his comic ability with a Creator/JackNicholson impression. It's very bad, and Lorne tells him so, causing John to mimic one of his infamous on-court outbursts. "You're deaf, Lorne Michaels! That impression was right on the line!"
** Also done with a one-shot sketch with Creator/AlecBaldwin as "The Mimic," who supposedly could imitate any possible voice, but it turned out he was completely incompetent, except for one impression. When Jameson the butler (played by musical guest Music/PaulMcCartney) goes to throw him out, Alec Baldwin says in a perfect [=McCartney=] impression, "But I'm you! You can't throw yourself out."
*** (The joke is that Baldwin is actually a skilled impressionist. He does it twice in ''Film/TheHuntForRedOctober,'' for example.)
** Like the Michael Caine example above, KirkDouglas did a bit where he imitated impressionists imitating him.
*** And on a later episode when Creator/MichaelDouglas hosted, he told the audience some advice his father had given him. "He said: [bad Kirk Douglas voice] 'Son...'" (Then he laughed and continued in his regular voice instead.)
* ''Series/InLivingColor'' had an "East Hollywood Squares" sketch where Creator/JamesEarlJones shows off impressionist skills with such characters as Tweety-pie and Lucy Ricardo, not changing his voice in the least for his lines.
* Taylor Dedominicantonio from ''Series/NaturallySadie''. Her 'impersonations' consist of her describing the person she is 'impersonating'.
* On ''Series/{{Wings}}'', Lowell attempts to do some impressions for Roy, all of which consist simply of him speaking in a slightly gruffer version of his normal voice and saying, "Hi, I'm (celebrity)!"
* A RunningGag on ''Series/NevermindTheBuzzcocks'' is Phill Jupitus supposedly being a ManOfAThousandVoices, but nearly all of his impressions consist of just saying the person in question's catchphrase in the same throaty Bernard Manning voice.
* [[Series/{{Glee}} Sam Evans']] impressions aren't ''terrible'', per se, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRhHYt7qA_Q but they're not great either]]. What makes them more awkward is his [[{{Adorkable}} tendency to try and impress girls with them]].
* James Quall from ''TimAndEricAwesomeShowGreatJob'' supposedly makes a living off of horrible impressions of celebrities such as Music/MichaelJackson, Creator/JackNicholson, and Creator/BillCosby, and always mentioning spaghetti and meatballs (and usually nothing else).
* Several times on ''Series/TheFastShow''. One of the "I'll get me coat" social faux pas sketches involves a character doing cliché impressions consisting of just saying the person's catchphrase in their normal voice. Simon Day's builder character does completely the ''wrong'' impressions, such as doing a JiveTurkey for an Australian Aborigine or Colonel Sanders for Music/ElvisPresley.
* It's debatable whether or not Creator/StephenFry's Michael Jackson performance on ''Series/ABitOfFryAndLaurie'' can be called an impression at all. He simply appeared as himself, making no attempt whatsoever to look or sound anything like Michael Jackson. He just claimed that's who he was being.
* A classic running joke on ''Series/TheAndyGriffithShow'' was Goober's Cary Grant imitation, which consisted of nothing but him saying "Judy-Judy-Judy" very fast in a heavy North Carolina accent.
* A regular comment by Paul Merton on ''Series/HaveIGotNewsForYou'' is that opposing team captain Ian Hislop can only do one impression, that of playwright Creator/AlanBennett, and that he uses the same voice for everybody he "impersonates".
* An interesting case in ''Series/TheOfficeUK'', in which David Brent attempts an impression of the fictional paper executive Eric Hitchmo, only to have no one recognize it. When he asks the crowd if no one's heard of Eric Hitchmo, one worker says, "Yes, but he doesn't sound like that." Subverted, however, in an earlier episode, when David does a spot-on impression of Dirty Harry.


[[folder: Radio ]]

* On ''Radio/HelloCheeky'', Barry Cryer does all sorts of impressions of varying quality. Sometimes, however, he just sets them up for himself, such as 'a discussion on the German economy between Adolf Hitler and a horse', or 'World War II'.
* One of [[Creator/MorecambeAndWise Eric and Ernie's]] skits revolved around Ernie doing an impression of a newspaper salesman and a butcher. They both sound the same.
-->'''Eric:''' It's the same fellow what runs both shops.
-->'''Ernie:''' What a shame the audience have never met him, otherwise they'd know how good that is. Exactly like him.
* Film critic Mark Kermode's impressions of movie-industry people on his radio show are so bad they go past good and back to bad.
* St. Louis radio personality Frank O. Pinion's show has these as a large part of the show's charm. Frank himself likes to do impressions of Karl Childers from Slingblade, Marlon Brando, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Cohost and producer Dan Strauss does some good and some bad impressions. Strangely, the best impressions on the show are from the show's other cohost, Ian Geiss, who does a dead on Louis Armstrong, Jay Leno, and Homer Simpson. Although that may be because he hardly does them and only does impressions he's good at, unlike the other two, who do the bad impressions all the time because it's fun.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Parodied in ''Webcomic/{{Concerned}}'': Gordon Frohman's impression of Gordon Freeman is... well first of all, the latter [[HeroicMime never speaks]], so impersonating him is officially impossible. But his line is "I'm Gordon Freeman! I never say anything! Blah blah blah!"


[[folder: Web Animation ]]

* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'':
** In "Halloween Potion-ma-jig", choose to do a "Reagan impression" for Bubs:
-->'''Homestar''': ''(leaning over, in a low voice)'' Well... well... Nancy and I... economics... well... rap music... jellybeans... well... we... probably had a... pet...\\
'''Bubs''': That's the worst Ronald Reagan impression I've ever heard!\\
'''Homestar''': ''Ronald'' Reagan?! I was doing my Keanu Reagan!
** And then later, at the end, click on Homestar:
--->'''Homestar''': Hey Strong Bad! ''(adopts "shady drifter" impression)'' Let me get a few dollars. I'm trying to catch a train. My wife, she's pregnant. I got thirteen kids. I'm on hard times.\\
'''Strong Bad''': Well, at least your shady drifter impression is better than your Ronald Reagan.\\
'''Homestar''': Ooh! I can hit you with some more of that, too! ''(adopts Ronald Reagan impression)'' Well... well... Oliver Cromwell...
** Another time, having accidentally broken up with Marzipan via answering machine, he quickly replaces the tape with a fake he recorded. In the fake messages, he does horrible impressions of several characters, including ''himself''.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* An early running gag on ''Website/{{Cracked}} WebVideo/AfterHours'' was Dan O'Brien using the exact same loud, screechy voice to impersonate various celebrities. Michael and Katie don't seem to be impressed (when Dan attempts to imitate [[Film/BackToTheFuture Goldie Wilson]], Michael retorts "You sound like a blender!"), but Soren is bowled over every time.
-->'''Michael''': ...''You've been sitting on that [[Creator/GeorgeLazenby Lazenby]] this whole time?!''
** And {{subverted}} when Sick!Soren gives Daniel grief over an abysmal [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 Krang]] impression that was actually spot-on.
* Both ''WebVideo/JakeAndAmir'' have done bad impressions in their videos.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** The idea for this trope came from a certain episode, where Peter tried to do impressions: "This is my impression of Creator/JohnWayne at the first Thanksgiving. 'Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim!'" He then does impressions of John Wayne Bobbit (a man who famously... [[GroinAttack lost his penis to something very sharp]]) and John Wayne ''Gacy'' (the infamous serial killer), using the same John Wayne voice.
** This was subverted in another episode with a stand-up comedian who did impressions of his friends and family, but they all sounded exactly the same (a stereotypical New York accent). In the next scene, we see him talking to his friends and family and they actually all really ''do'' sound the same.
** There was also an earlier one where he did his impressions of Sir UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill. They all involved him asking for something British (sans British accent): "Would you like a crumpet? I would because I'm Winston Churchill!"
** Carl the gas station attendant once did his impersonation of Sterling Archer from ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' and Bob Belcher from ''WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers''. "Hi, I'm that guy, Archer!" The voice at least was dead on because all three characters are voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, in his natural speaking voice.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'': This is a staple of Jimmy's standup routine.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "The Blunder Years", a hypnotist makes Homer impersonate Creator/EmilyDickinson. Since [[FatIdiot Homer]] apparently has no idea who she is, he confuses her with Angie Dickinson, and his impression consists of him prancing around the room saying "Look at me, I'm Angie Dickinson! Out of my way!"
** Part of [[TheAhnold McBain]]'s unfunny stand-up comedy turn:
-->"Now, my Creator/WoodyAllen impression: (voice stays exactly the same) I'm a neurotic nerd who likes to sleep with little girls."
* King Julien's impression of Mason (a chimp) in ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'' is bad enough ("Ook ook! I sure do love the tire swing!"), but when asked to do one of Private (a penguin)... "Ook ook! I sure do love a stinky fish!" His impersonation of Maurice is slightly better; he puts on a deep voice, stretches his ears out to the sides, and says "Uh, hey, everybody, stop having fun%%PLEASE DO NOT SINK HOLE THIS TO STOPHAVINGFUNGUYS%%, because I am boring!" Maurice protests that he doesn't talk like that:
-->[[RoboSpeak "Yes. You. Do."]]
-->"Now that's just your robot voice."
-->*sulky* "End. Transmission."
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "Bendless Love" illustrates that Bender can't do a believable impression of Flexo, his exact double whose voice is identical to his own. At least, he can't imitate Flexo's voice when he ''tries'' to -- when acting natural while impersonating Flexo he's much more convincing.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'':
-->'''Francine''': I pity the fool, who don't think I'm cool! Get it? I was making a Dr. T reference!
* In ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'' "The Ninja," Chris acts as a decoy for Dan by standing in the park and saying things like "I'm Dan! I get mad at everything, then I yell a lot. I sure don't appreciate my friend Chris."
* On the ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episode "Opposite Day", [=SpongeBob=] decides to act like his complete opposite, Squidward. Patrick wants to be Squidward too, but while [=SpongeBob's=] Squidward impression is spot on, Patrick just sings "I'm Squidward, I'm Squidward, Squidward Squidward Squidward!" in his normal voice.
* A running gag with The [[{{Shapeshifting}} Chameleon]] from ''WesternAnimation/TuffPuppy'' can change any shape but apparently can't disguise his Creator/PeterLorre [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed voice]]. For example, when he disguised himself as a French Poodle, he uses his normal voice while adding French Stereotypes. (Croissants, Eiffel Tower, Napoleon)
* Jeremie Belpois from ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' tries to impersonate Jim, but it sounds bad enough to be mistaken for the principal. It gains laughs from the gang.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'' had Kaeloo, Quack Quack and Stumpy try to do impressions of Mr. Cat and ask him who did the best impression of him. Kaeloo and Quack Quack do horrible impressions that are almost nothing like the actual Mr. Cat. {{Averted| Trope}} with Stumpy, who actually did a pretty good job, but was disqualified anyway because Mr. Cat found the impression too embarrassing.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicSchoolBus'', Carlos' attempt to be TheAhnold leaves something to be desired.