CNN’s Stelter Fawns Over Trump Impersonator Breaking Down Gestures

To promote his Monday night special glorifying late-night comedians bashing Trump, CNN’s Brian Stelter closed out his Sunday show by showing off his giddy interview with Trump impersonator Anthony Atamanuik. Stelter was like a kid in a candy store as he laughed along with his guest, joking about Trump’s speech patterns and mocking him for being out of shape. All during a show that’s supposed to be “about how the media really works and how the news gets made.”

Stelter began the segment by touting how Trump’s impersonators have a unique view of the man he’s called a dictator. “Impersonating President Trump is a unique assignment for all of these comedians, you know comics learn a lot about the person they're playing,” he said before admitted that he and Atamanuik visited Trump’s childhood home together.

As the taped interview started, Stelter questioned why Atamanuik wasn’t in the Trump getup for his Comedy Central show. “Well it takes two hours to get into the makeup, so that’s why. No, I try to stay out of that suit and face as much as possible,” the comedian responded, drawing a hearty laugh from the CNN journalist.

To satisfy Stelter’s curiosity about what kind of insight studying Trump’s mannerisms led to, Atamanuik predictably discussed Trump’s unique way of speaking. He talked about how normal people spoke with a river of information but Trump would double back and repeat himself often. And to Stelter’s amusement, Atamanuik mocked Trump for not standing and walking like an “adult human”:

And I learned that he has no center of gravity, he’s always pitched forward. And he holds his arms like a toddler sort of at the sides. He doesn’t have—Adult humans tend to have sort of a little bit of a wing-gate, they hold their arms up a bit. He lets them like a dead -- like a puppet just lie to the side.

 

 

When did you realize you had Trump nailed down,” Stelter then asked in wonder. According to Stelter’s description, the comedian studies tape like an NFL player getting ready for the big game.

After critiquing how other Trump impersonators don’t get his signature hand movements right, Atamanuik did Stelter proud by comparing him to a fascist dictator. “He has sort of like an animal thing with his jaw where he's like, he pushes his jaw forward and does this Mussolini sort of turn,” he chided. “When he’s at press conferences he doesn't like to move with his neck. If you notice he pivots with his shoulders. So next time him, you’ll see that he does this as opposed to turning his neck.

Stelter was impressed with how physical and how much effort went into playing President Trump on TV. “A lot of this is physical comedy, you’re making a lot of the gestures, moving, is it tiring,” he fawned. Atamanuik answered by mocking how out of shape Trump was:

Oh yeah, the fat suits alone. Like, I have cooling system underneath and a thing that looks like colostomy bag but it’s running like cool water up my chest, the bald cap is, you know -- but I’m not complaining I have a great job. But I’m saying, physically to be Trump, I wonder what it's like to be him because I've only got to put it on for six hours, he's got to wear that body all the time.

He has to live it,” Stelter exclaimed with joy.

Sunday’s segment and Monday’s special were just thinly veiled glorifications of those who make a living by mocking Stelter’s favorite punching bag.

Transcript below:

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CNN
Reliable Sources
November 19, 2017
11:55:10 AM Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: Impersonating President Trump is a unique assignment for all of these comedians, you know comics learn a lot about the person they're playing. That’s what Anthony Atamanuik when I interviewed him recently. He plays Donald Trump on Comedy Central’s The President Show. We’ve even went out to Trump's childhood home in Queens as part of my upcoming special report on late night in the age of Trump. Now, that airs tomorrow, but I want to show you what Anthony told me about it takes to play Trump on TV.

[Cuts to video]

Anthony great to see you.

ANTHONY ATAMANUIK: Great to see you.

STELTER: Out of character, not as President Trump, why is that?

ATAMANUIK: Well it takes two hours to get into the makeup, so…

[Laughter]

That’s why. No, I try to stay out of that suit and face as much as possible.

(…)

STELTER: What did you figure out early on about playing him?

ATAMANUIK: I would say that playing Trump, there’s three things, he's lyrical, and the way he speaks is sort of like rivers and eddies. So most people speak in sort of a river, maybe parallel rivers of information. He has one sort of flow and then there are little eddies that come off the river where he cycles, right. (…) So he's a [cyclical] talker.

And I learned that he has no center of gravity, he’s always pitched forward. And he holds his arms like a toddler sort of at the sides. He doesn’t have—Adult humans tend to have sort of a little bit of a wing-gate, they hold their arms up a bit. He lets them like a dead -- like a puppet just lie to the side.

STELTER: When did you realize you had Trump nailed down?

(…)

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ATAMANUIK: I would spend every night in a hotel watching his rallies and digesting his hand movements and his pull. [Demonstrating Trumps okay hand gesture] Like a lot of people do this but he pulls, he pulls inside when he does it. He doesn’t do it straight down. He has sort of like an animal thing with his jaw where he's like, he pushes his jaw forward and does this Mussolini sort of turn. When he’s at press conferences he doesn't like to move with his neck. If you notice he pivots with his shoulders. So next time him, you’ll see that he does this as opposed to turning his neck.

STELTER: Watching tape every day, almost sounds like you’re getting ready for a football game, you’re having to watch all the tapes.

(…)

STELTER: A lot of this is physical comedy, you’re making a lot of the gestures, moving, is it tiring?

ATAMANUIK: Oh yeah, the fat suits alone. Like, I have cooling system underneath and a thing that looks like colostomy bag but it’s running like cool water up my chest, the bald cap is, you know -- but I’m not complaining I have a great job. But I’m saying, physically to be Trump, I wonder what it's like to be him, because I've only got to put it on for six hours, he's got to wear that body all the time.

STELTER: He has to live it!

ATAMANUIK: Too bad. Too bad Donald.


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