An Impersonation Paradox is a noted curiosity in doing impressions. It basically states that the more often a person attempts to imitate a celebrity, character, etc., the worse he will be at it, and the less a person tends to attempt it, the better he will be at it. This might be explained by the fact that one who can do the imitation perfectly will be satisfied in knowing that he can, and won't need to attempt it at every chance.

This is directly related to {{Flanderization}} and CharacterExaggeration. If someone has Flanderized his mental picture of the celeb, then the actual celeb, untouched by AdaptationDecay, will no longer match the mental picture.

This is also a huge problem for people writing RealPersonFic.

Compare YourCostumeNeedsWork, in which the real thing is mistaken for a fake.
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!!Examples

* [[Series/TheDailyShow Jon Stewart]] doing an impression of ''anything'' will usually be followed by his apologizing for how terrible the impression was.
** "Oh, Bush impression. I'll miss ''you'' most of all."
* Dana Carvey's impression of UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush started out somewhat accurate but ended up such an exaggeration of an exaggeration that it didn't resemble Bush at all. This came full circle when [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Bush]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome appeared]] on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' to chew Dana out: "I have never said 'nah gah dah!'"
** Dana Carvey himself said his Bush was more like a spastic Paul Lynde.
* Darrel Hammond has stated in interviews that he CAN do a fairly good Creator/SeanConnery, but that the crazed, perverse characterization that eventually evolved on the [[Series/SaturdayNightLive Celebrity Jeopardy series of sketches]] was just funnier, so he and the writers ran with it.
* Rich Little based his entire career on vocal impersonations. FridgeLogic reveals that most of them were terrible.
** Turned around when he gave Jimmy Stewart [[YourCostumeNeedsWork pointers on how to be Jimmy Stewart]] in his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7TEFfPcvBA Dean Martin roast]]. Culminating with this exchange:
-->'''Stewart:''' I feel terrible!
-->'''Little:''' How do you think we feel? We've been watching you for 40 years!
* Played with in the ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' sketch "The Mimic," which starred Alec Baldwin as the Mimic. He had the InformedAbility of being a perfect vocal mimic, but his actual voices were crude stereotypes – and the other characters recognized his badness within the skit.
** Subverted at the end of "The Mimic" sketch when, while being shown out the door by the butler James (played by that night's musical guest Music/PaulMcCartney), Alec Baldwin does a perfect Paul [=McCartney=] impression.
* Towards the end of UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush's last term in office, the main stage cast at the Second City Toronto collectively lost the ability (or perhaps the will) to do a passingly accurate Bush impersonation. The end result? An entire revue where Bush was portrayed as a [[CrowningMomentofFunny manic leprechaun]].
* Creator/BillyWest's impersonation of UsefulNotes/RichardNixon's Head on ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', which really sounds nothing like Nixon did in real life. In one DVD commentary, West admits that he did so deliberately; [[RuleOfFunny he didn't think that a spot-on impersonation would be funny enough.]]
* Played with by Creator/AndyKaufman's "Foreign Man" character, who would naively present [[BadImpressionists terrible celebrity impressions]] ("Hi, I am the president Jeemy Carter. Tank you veddy much") until the audience was embarrassed for him. At that point he would reveal that his costume was a disguised Elvis costume, and swing into the best [[ElvisImpersonator Elvis impersonation]] anyone had ever seen – concluding the act with the same "[[CatchPhrase Tank you veddy much]]." Elvis himself is said to have loved it.

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