Top 10 Celebrity Reactions to Impressions of Themselves

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Top 10 Celebrity Reactions to Impressions of Themselves

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: David Foster
These awesome celebrity impressions garnered considerable feedback from the celebs in question. For this list, we'll be looking at when the impersonated reacts to the impersonator–or at the very least the impersonation. Our countdown includes Andy Samberg Impersonates Nicolas Cage, Kate McKinnon Impersonates Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Brad Pitt, and more!
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Top 10 Celebrity Reactions to Impressions of Them


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Reactions to Impressions of Them.

For this list, we’ll be looking at when the impersonated reacts to the impersonator–or at the very least the impersonation.

Were our picks pitch-perfect or way off-key? Sound off in the comments.

#10: Andy Samberg Impersonates Nicolas Cage

"Saturday Night Live" (1975-)

Nicolas Cage should be used to being impersonated on "Saturday Night Live," as both Jimmy Fallon and Andy Samberg have taken a shot at the "Con Air" star. The latter’s impression would be part of "Weekend Update," with his impression fronting the “Get in the Cage” segment. In Samberg's opinion, his impression wasn't meant to be particularly accurate (nor flattering), but upon seeing it for himself, Cage loved it. The actor even cameoed as part of the segment, surprising the impressionist. In fact, Samberg was thrilled to see how much the star was involved–even skipping back to his dressing room post-rehearsal. As for Nic Cage–he managed to give a performance that was more akin to the parody version than the real thing.

#9: Kathie Lee Gifford & Hoda Kotb on Kristen Wiig & Jenny Slate

"Today" (1952-)

We should just say that it’s only Kathie Lee Gifford’s impression by Kristen Wiig that is worth mentioning here. Like her real-life counterpart, poor Hoda Kotb is relegated to saying few words–and she didn’t have much to say about Jenny Slate’s impression of her either. But Gifford’s reaction to Wiig's impersonation–in which she sings her signature song “Everyone Has a Story” whilst being pummelled by the Black Eyed Peas–is, well, uncertain. At first, Gifford seems unimpressed, and then suggests that Wiig should get a different job–but it’s hard to tell if she is being serious or not… Either way, they could very easily have distanced themselves from the SNL sketch by... we dunno–ignoring it–but the “Today” hosts dedicated an entire segment to it.

#8: Jay Pharoah Impersonates Denzel Washington

"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (2003-)

For impressionists, there are few that can reach Jay Pharoah's level of talent. Before making it big, the young actor and comedian would demonstrate his talents via YouTube videos– attracting the attention of “SNL” producers. But it was his self-shot video of him as Denzel Washington arguing with himself as Will Smith that ultimately helped Pharoah get a spot on the map. The pitch-perfect impressions put Pharoah in the sights of Denzel Washington, who loved his impersonations so much that he’d rave about them in interviews. It was this same video that also got Pharoah his first dramatic role, as Matt Damon showed director Steven Soderbergh who then cast him in 2018’s “Unsane.”

#7: Laura Ingraham on Kate McKinnon

"The Ingraham Angle" (2017-)

Does anyone else get the distinctive feeling of sour grapes with Laura Ingraham over Kate McKinnon's on-target impression of the conservative Fox host on “Saturday Night Live?” After all, Ingraham dedicated an entire segment of her show “The Ingraham Angle” days after the initial sketch, and responded by performing an impression of the impression. Now, this would be a treat, had Ingraham sounded anything like McKinnon sounding like Ingraham (otherwise known as Ingraham-tion). But, the original Ingraham just seems to dial it allll the way up and comes across a little too cringey for it not to betray any feelings of frustration over the parody. But, no–it’s surely not sour grapes, is it… is it?

#6: Kate McKinnon Impersonates Ellen DeGeneres

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)

Two in a row for Kate McKinnon here, but this entry describes a much more favorable response. The subject of McKinnon’s impersonation might have fallen somewhat out of favor with her audiences, but there was a time when Ellen DeGeneres was very much able to hold down her daytime talk show without help–and be very entertaining whilst doing so. However, after witnessing the incredible talents of Kate McKinnon playing an exact replica of her on “SNL,” DeGeneres reacted by inviting the comedienne on to the show. Furthermore, so thrilled was DeGeneres by the sketches and McKinnon’s talent, that the host asked the impressionist to perform the “Ellen” opening monologue in her place. Which she did… as Ellen DeGeneres, exactly like Ellen DeGeneres would.

#5: Steve Harvey on Kenan Thompson

"Steve Harvey" (2012-17)

It was clear from how Kenan Thompson sheepishly made his entrance on to Steve Harvey's self-titled talk show set, that he figured he was in hot water with the veteran host. Having provided "Saturday Night Live" with a perfect rendition of Harvey's not-so-finest moments, which Harvey was none-too-reluctant to remind his audience of, the target of the parody threatened Thompson with violence in response. All in good fun, however, as Harvey found Kenan's lampooning to be as hilarious as viewers feel too. In fact, according to Thompson, Harvey was very forgiving–owing to how far back the two men go (Steve Harvey used to have Kenan and Kel on his show) and how close they are. So, the impressions are all done out of love.

#4: Tom Cruise on “South Park”

"South Park" (1997-)

Now, you really have to be thick-skinned if the “South Park” people target you for impersonation. It’s very rarely going to be a positive for the lampooned–just ask Tom Cruise. The show depicted Cruise as a zealous cry-baby who wouldn’t leave a closet (make of that what you will). In response, the actor reportedly threatened to boycott his part in promoting Viacom’s fellow project, “Mission: Impossible III.” Despite these reports, the episode is still in circulation and Cruise is still making “Mission: Impossible” movies. So, we guess they decided to let bygones be bygones… for now.

#3: Dr. Anthony Fauci on Brad Pitt

"Saturday Night Live" (1975-)

Few entries on this list can claim that they were nominated for awards thanks to their impressions, but in the case of Brad Pitt, he would be speaking truths. At the height of the pandemic, when the world was shut down and TV shows were being shot at home, people needed just a little respite. Arguably, few people needed a laugh more than Dr. Anthony Fauci–who turned on “Saturday Night Live” one weekend and saw himself being played by one of his favorite actors. The doctor was elated to see the sketch, and to learn of Pitt’s subsequent Emmy nod–but has promised he doesn't get distracted by it.

#2: Harrison Ford on Mark Hamill

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (2014-)

It’s one thing to be impersonated by a professional you’re not likely to meet, but we assume it’s a different thing altogether to be impersonated by a friend. As Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford go way back to a long time ago, it’s safe to say they may have picked up a trait or two from the other. With Hamill–it’s Ford’s low, almost distant cadence–which he is all too happy to employ when recounting stories from behind the scenes of their “Star Wars” days. With Ford, it’s Hamill’s enjoyment of the whole thing–even going so far as to tell Jimmy Fallon that he can “have the job…” What job? We’re not sure but let’s pretend it's taking Harrison Ford’s phone calls.

#1: Dana Carvey as George H. W. Bush

"Saturday Night Live" (1975-)

It should go without saying that political figures are always going to be the target of impressions and parody–and especially on “Saturday Night Live.” The Dana Carvey era, which went from the late eighties to the early nineties–and parallel to the presidency of one George H. W. Bush, is no exception. On many occasions, “SNL’s” cold open would be Carvey, as Bush, delivering a presidential address–whilst perfectly reflecting the then-POTUS’s little idiosyncrasies and deliberate cadence. But rather than get mad, Bush Sr. found it hilarious, and even invited the comedian to the White House to entertain his staff post-election defeat. In fact, it started a quarter-century long friendship between the pair, with Carvey often performing with Bush’s blessing.
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