British-born comedian Tracey Ullman is quite the mimic.
On "The Rachel Maddow Show" Thursday night, Ullman morphed into actress Halle Berry without realizing it.
Berry landed in hot water back in October 2007 on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" when she told Leno that a distorted photograph made her look like her "Jewish cousin."
Here's Ullman describing how she prepared to impersonate Maddow in the third-season premiere of her Showtime program "State of the Union" --
MADDOW: Do I always laugh like that?
ULLMAN (imitating Maddow): Sometimes. (laughs) You weren't laughing at Doyle's last week. (referring to Maddow's coverage of results of special election in Massachusetts from bar in Boston). Oh, you looked so sad. But ..
MADDOW: I think I was attacked for looking more sad than I actually looked.
ULLMAN: Oh! You literally, it was going down like this. (pulling down corners of her mouth) I don't blame you though.
MADDOW: That's just age.
ULLMAN: So what I did as well, Matthew Mungle, an Academy Award-winning prosthetic makeup artist, gave me a chin, so I had the Rachel Maddow, 'cause you have a long face.
MADDOW: I do?
ULLMAN: Your nose, I tried to make a nose and it didn't look right.
MADDOW: OK ...
ULLMAN: Yeah. It looked really kinda Hebrew ...
MADDOW: ... I can imagine ...
ULLMAN: ... And you're not. So...
MADDOW (after laughing): Distantly, but yeah, OK ...
Much different than what Berry told Leno?
As I understand it, Maddow was raised Catholic by a mother from Canada and father of Russian descent and she is, as Maddow told Ullman, "distantly" Jewish.
Not only did Ullman trim back on the prosthetics, she took a pruning shear to the humor, at least while impersonating Maddow (follow this link to the "State of the Union" segment). Ullman nails Arianna Huffington, who's hardly a challenge to any comic worth her salt, along with Meghan McCain, Christiane Amanpour and Barney Frank, but her Maddow comes across as safe and uninspired.