Seizing on Trump’s Political Rise

johnd

Donald Trump impersonator, John Di Domenico

Back when Donald Trump began to gain some serious momentum as a presidential candidate, readers started asking me if I thought anything good could come from a Trump nomination and possibly a Trump presidency. They continued to ask that question throughout the primary, in part because I’ve been very critical of Trump in my columns. A lot of people probably sensed that I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to vote for the man if the time came, and they were of course right.

Now that Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, and the reality of the situation has settled in among us #NeverTrump folks (who’ve been busy researching Gary Johnson and David French), I’m still seeing that question asked — not just of me, but of other right-leaning Trump critics. Thus, I figured it was time to go ahead and address the topic in a column.

This might surprise many of you, but my answer to that question is actually yes. I do, in fact, see one small silver lining in the rise of Trump to the upper echelon of American politics. It just doesn’t have anything to do with leadership, policies, or political ideology. It’s about the continued success of my friend, John Di Domenico.

You see, John’s a professional Donald Trump impersonator. Actually, he’s a corporate entertainer and character actor who specializes in celebrity impersonations, but his work as Trump is what has been earning him a great deal of national recognition over the past several months.

Trump’s cultural impact on politics has brought John to a pivotal moment in his career, and he’s now in high demand all over the country, because there’s simply no one better at being Trump (other than the candidate himself, of course). John’s impersonation has been molded over several years — starting long before anyone ever viewed Trump as a potential political force — and it shows.

I first caught John’s act after I fell asleep watching television one night last summer. My DVR had switched over to Fox News to record Red Eye w/ Tom Shillue, and I was awoken by the sound of a feisty Trump trashing primary opponent, Jeb Bush. Thinking it was a news clip, I was about to turn off the TV. That’s when I heard individuals giggling in response to Trump’s outrageous statements. Once my eyes focused, I realized that the man on the screen was in fact not Trump, but rather someone made-up to look like him.

I watched the rest of the comical segment and was enamored by how dead-on the impersonation was. The voice was identical the real Trump’s, including the dialect and the trademark catchphrases. He had the mannerisms nailed down too, and when he was able to carry on improvised exchanges with each of the the show’s guests exactly as Trump would — I was blown away. His comedic timing was brilliant, and it was clear that he was more than just an entertainer. He was also an artist.

I got in touch with John with the help of Tom Shillue, and I let him know how impressed I was with his work. He was gracious for the recognition, and directed me to his website. There, I enjoyed some video viewings of his other humorous characters and impersonations, including Austin Powers, Jay Leno, Dr. Phil, and Guy Fieri. They were all great, but Trump was still my favorite.

Believing that John’s Trump would be a perfect fit for a regular spot on Red Eye (Fox News’ comedic late-night show), I (along with some other viewers) applied a bit of Twitter pressure on Shillue to get the talented man back on. It eventually happened (though I don’t know if we had anything to do with it), and those bits continue to be some of the show’s most entertaining segments.

John and I stayed in touch on Twitter, and I later hired him (as Trump) to do the book trailer for my latest novel, Blood Trade. He knocked it out of the park, and I’m convinced he contributed to the book becoming my publisher’s top-selling title of 2015.

Beyond Red Eye, John has appeared regularly as the voice of Trump on Conan O’Brien, and has been profiled on Inside Edition and NBC News, and in various publications. He’s been in high demand over the past year, constantly traveling and appearing at a plethora of events all over the country. It’s been fun to follow his adventures on social media, and watch him make the best of an unbelievable political situation that has otherwise given me heartburn.

John and John in Las Vegas (Dec, 2015)

John and John in Las Vegas (Dec, 2015)

In December, my wife and I met up with John while we were on vacation in Las Vegas (where he lives). Over breakfast, he entertained us with impersonations and told us some fun, fascinating stories about his career and where it has taken him. He’s a super nice guy, and I couldn’t be happier for his success. Trump winning in November would obviously be even bigger for his career, and should that happen, I predict that you’ll all be seeing a lot of John Di Domenico in the future.

John was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to do an interview with me for the website. Enjoy!

How long have you been impersonating Trump?

I’ve been impersonating Donald Trump for almost 12 years. I started doing his voice at the end of the very first season of The Apprentice. An agent had called on a Friday about a voiceover and she asked if I could do Trump. I ran out, bought the first season of The Apprentice on DVD then watched the entire season that weekend, learned his voice, auditioned on Monday and got the booking.

Have you ever met the real Donald Trump? If so, what does he think of your impersonation of him?

I have met Donald Trump. I performed at his 55th birthday party in Atlantic City. I wasn’t impersonating him, I was actually performing as Austin Powers at the event. In fact I jumped out of the cake as Austin Powers and presented Trump with 24 models on stage. 

When we spoke in Vegas, you told me that you had researched the origins of Trump’s dialect to better understand his speech pattern. What did you find?

Well, I knew he was from Queens and he has a very unusual style of speaking. It’s not your typical New York accent in any shape, way or form. I did discover that Christopher Walken is also from Queens and has that unusual staccato style similar to Trump’s. Maybe it has something to do with the water in Queens, maybe not.

Have you ever had people, who hold negative feelings toward Donald Trump, take their frustrations out on you?

Overall the response to my Trump impersonation has been extremely positive. There have been some events where people have made a point to come up to me and say “I don’t like you, I don’t like what you stand for.” I also had a Muslim woman come up to me at a corporate event and say that she didn’t like Trump. Luckily, at the end of the event she returned to me and said “I like your Trump” she said it was a lot funnier and warmer than the real guy. 

What do you think of Jimmy Fallon’s Trump impersonation?

Jimmy Fallon is an amazing entertainer and impersonator. I actually think he can do anything. I like what he’s done with his Trump impersonation he’s really blown it out and gone over the top with it. Very funny.

Who’s your favorite celebrity or character to impersonate, besides Trump?

Hands-down it’s Austin Powers. That character is beloved around the world and I’ve had the honor of performing as that character all over the world. I think it has something to do with the fact that he is so positive and so fun, people want to be with the character. And of course he’s grooooooovy baby, yeah.

Were there times during the Republican primary when you thought that Trump had said something so offensive that people would stop hiring you because of it?

Actually, early on when he made the comments about John McCain I thought it was over. After that comment it seemed like nothing he said hurt him, it only helped him. From my corporate clients they’ve asked me not to mention certain things which I have always honored.

Get your signed, personalized copy of John Daly's thriller BLOOD TRADE

Get your signed, personalized copy of John Daly’s thriller BLOOD TRADE

Do you think that Trump will win in November?

Judging by the number of people I have met all over the country in the last 10 months of performing Trump in every city in every state, at events with attendance up the 5000, I would say he’s going to win in a landslide.

Thanks John. Best of luck.

More on John Di Domenico:

Official Website:  http://johnnyd.net/

John Di Domenico on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/didonyc

John on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=110396497724

John on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/Johnnyd23




“The Cesspool at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave” and “Cruel & Unusual Punishment”

A friend of mine, after taking note of Obama’s approach to foreign affairs, has decided that his doctrine is to speak softly and carry a big grudge. But if you stop and think about it, that also sums up his domestic policies, which seem aimed at burdening the middle class with additional taxes; a health system that will be the envy of nobody on earth, including the folks in Bangladesh; and an EPA and IRS that are out to target anyone who didn’t contribute to Obama’s re-election campaign.

In other news, John Hinckley, 58, would-be assassin and would-be swain of lesbian actress Jodie Foster, is now a free man. It’s only a rumor that in his rush to appoint left-wing dingbats to the federal bench, Obama is considering appointing Mr. Hinckley to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where he would be right at home with the other liberal nutburgers. After all, he established his bona fides by trying to off conservative icon Ronald Reagan.

As I appreciate anything that saves my doing heavy lifting, I’d like to share an email I received from a reader named Juan Motie. He was writing in response to a piece in which I stated that Harry Reid owed his political career to Nevada’s unions and casino owners. He wrote: “You’re not entirely correct. In the general election of 2010, the establishment GOP Party in Nevada abandoned its own candidate, Sharon Angle, and came out vocally and financially in support of Harry Reid. Those traitorous Republicans formed a PAC, calling themselves “Republicans for Reid.” That was because these turncoats were upset that their fair-haired girl, Sue Louden, had lost the primary election to Ms. Angle, the Tea Party favorite.

“In 2010, another unhelpful factor was Wayne LaPierre of the NRA sharing a stage with Reid at the grand opening of a shooting range in southern Nevada. There was LaPierre shucking and jiving with Reid, acting as if he and Reid were the best of friends. While it seems that the NRA made no formal endorsement of Reid, I’m sure LaPierre’s actions swayed a large number of wavering voters.”

So it would appear that Chris Christie isn’t the only loony tune who doesn’t think twice about betraying the Republican Party.

There’s a good chance you missed the news about Benghazi, considering how disinterested the media is in exposing the truth about Obama and his stooges. Ironically, it seems there is finally a smoking gun covered in dirty fingerprints belonging to members of this rabidly anti-gun administration that sheds new light on the 2012 massacre that left four dead Americans in its wake.

In a memo written seven weeks before the presidential election by the Deputy National Security Advisor to the President, Ben Rhodes reminded everyone in the White House that “…the purpose of the talking points” Susan Rice was to deliver on five Sunday morning news shows “were meant to underscore that the protest was rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

A dozen senior members of Obama’s inner circle were copied. Among them was serial liar Jay (“Don’t call me Pinocchio”) Carney, who looks like a choir boy, but lies like a sleazebag running for office.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) wants the government to track down hate speech wherever it can be found. One, I doubt if the senator and I would agree on what constitutes hate speech. But, two, I am quite willing to admit I hate Sen. Markey and every other self-appointed censor who is looking to trim the 1st Amendment to suit his partisan agenda, while pretending that they’re just being sensitive to the bruised feelings of their liberal base.

But in the unlikely event that Markey is having a difficult time tracking down the haters, I would suggest that he pay closer attention to what the likes of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Rangel, Durbin, Schumer and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, have to say about Republicans in general and Tea Partiers in particular.

It’s possible that you are already aware that the U.S. pays the lion’s share of the bills, between two and three billion dollars a year, keeping the U.N. afloat. As stupid and as essentially immoral as that is, considering what a gang of cockroaches and cut-throats inhabit the place, and that Russia has the authority to veto anything they like or, rather, dislike, that’s only the tip of the scum-covered iceberg. It seems we also send foreign aid to 145 nations, and that among those with whom we share this largesse are – if you’re standing, please be seated, and if you’re seated, please lie down – Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Rwanda, Turkey, Mexico, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, Brazil, Cambodia, Yemen, Afghanistan, China, Russia, North Korea and those folks in Gaza who go by the name of Hamas.

It’s bad enough when a little kid gets bullied out of his lunch money. But for America to voluntarily cough up tens of billions of dollars, especially, when we’re already in the hole for 17 trillion bucks, you’d think someone in Washington would not only insist we stop digging, but would hide the damn shovel.

CRUEL & UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT

It’s an odd paradox, but I understand those who commit cold-blooded murder better than I do those people who attend vigils outside prisons where killers are being executed. The murderers, after all, are evil, making their acts, along with those of rapists and child molesters, comprehensible. When such a crime is committed and people say, “How could anyone do such a thing?” conservatives know the answer is: “They’re the evil spawn of Satan.”

Liberals, on the other hand, assume that nobody, except conservatives are truly evil, and that bad behavior can inevitably be traced back to capitalism. If it weren’t for money, they’re convinced we’d all be living in condos in the Garden of Eden. They never bother explaining how money or the lack thereof motivates rape or the sexual abuse of children, but logic, as you may have noticed, is never their strong suit.

Therefore, it was no surprise to me that when the lethal injection given to Clayton Lockett wasn’t as painless as advertised, the pinheads had a major hissy fit.

The fact that Lockett was guilty of murder, rape and burying a 19-year-old woman, Stephanie Neiman, alive was of no concern to the self-righteous loons, but they were morally outraged that the monster had experienced some discomfort while being executed.

Well, I’m outraged by their outrage. The fact that he took 43 minutes to finally die of a heart attack hardly compares to the time it took Ms. Neiman to suffocate in a shallow grave. The 15 years Lockett got to live after killing the only child of the Neimans is the thing that should offend the sensibilities of normal human beings.

If it had been up to me, Lockett would have been spared the chemical injection. Instead, if we were truly a moral society, he would have been locked away in a dungeon shortly after he was convicted, where he would then be gnawed to death by rats.

Speaking of immorality, it took about 70 years for elderly American G.I.s to finally receive the medals they were entitled to after being interned in a World War II POW camp. It seems the problem was that they weren’t in a camp run by Nazis, but by the Swiss. Because we generally think of Switzerland, if we ever think of Switzerland at all, as the happy land of chocolate and cuckoo clocks, we tend to overlook the fact that they are as corrupt a nation as any place on earth.

When you consider their stringent banking laws, which, in the main, serve little purpose other than to safeguard the accounts of Nazis, drug dealers and various dictators — tyrants ranging from Idi Amin to Yasser Arafat, from al-Assad to Vladimir Putin — their death grip on the pilfered funds of Jews who were herded off to the German death camps; and their much-flaunted, extremely profitable neutrality, the only clean thing about them are their streets!

A reader, Tom Halleck, shared an item he’d come across on the Internet: “The way Obama is slashing military defense, Putin might decide to take over New York City instead of eastern Ukraine. In fact, if he displaced Mayor Bill de Blasio, it would result in less communist control of that city.”

With the current administration, just when you think it couldn’t get worse, it gets worse. Ever since the 9/11/2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and the State Department, have told us one lie after another, trying to conceal their involvement in the massacre. Because the narrative, constantly parroted by Obama in his presidential campaign that GM was alive, but Osama bin Laden was dead and Al Qaeda was on life-support, they had to pretend that the assault was an impromptu response to an anti-Islamic video nobody had ever seen. Then, to better sell the charade, they sent an armed response to arrest and imprison the producer of the video, after refusing to lift a finger to save American lives in Libya.

Even after they lied about the cause of the bloody event and the reason they hadn’t sent the additional security Ambassador Stevens had pleaded for, they lied to the parents of the murder victims in the presence of four flag-draped caskets, insisting that they would do everything in their power to capture or kill the Islamic jihadists responsible for the carnage. They not only knew they were lying, but compounded the sin by then concealing the truth from Congress.

It is only now that, thanks to Judicial Watch obtaining previously concealed and/or redacted documents and emails, that we are finding evidence that after the initial cover-up, Obama and his cohorts have been as busy as psychotic beavers covering up the cover-up.

To answer Hillary Clinton’s plaintive question, it makes a hell of a big difference, and anyone who would still consider voting for the arrogant shrew in 2016 would be better off holding moonlight vigils for convicted killers.

Most of them, after all, only have the blood of one innocent victim on their hands, not four!

Burt’s Webcast is every Wednesday at Noon Pacific Time.
Tune in at K4HD.com His Call-in Number is: (818) 570-5443

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.




The Notion That Commercialism is Now an Obscenity

mittyMy family doesn’t make it to the movie theater often. Let me rephrase that: We don’t make it to the movie theater AS a family often. My son and daughter are lucky enough to have a grandmother who loves taking them to see the latest animated, family flicks. And my wife and I, on occasion, will use a date-night to catch a new drama or comedy.

It’s not that we don’t enjoy going to the theater as a family. We do. It’s just something we don’t prioritize. One of the reasons is that there just aren’t many movies that all four of us find ourselves getting excited about. Cost is also a factor. Even a matinee viewing for four people is pretty expensive these days – and that’s before you add on the ridiculously pricy concessions. So when we do find an opportunity to go out and see a movie together, we’re pretty selective about which one we choose.

While my children were on Christmas break, we were considering “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” because the trailer looked interesting to me and my wife, and its PG rating suggested that the content would be age-appropriate for our kids who are both of the elementary school age.

Just to make sure, however, I did a Google search on the movie’s subject matter and found some detailed, parental information on Fandango.com, a popular film website. The content was very useful. The webpage’s description included a section entitled “What Parents Need to Know” that listed the five gauges Fandango uses to measure the family-friendliness of all films. A detailed scene-breakdown of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was listed under each criteria.

It was good to see that “violence” was one of the gauges used. After all, no one wants a family-day at the movies to include images of people getting beaten to bloody pulps or tossed in front of moving cars. The same goes for “sexual content” – especially considering that Ben Stiller was the star of the film. Neither children nor adults should be subjected to that. The information on “language” and “drinking, drugs, and smoking” was quite beneficial as well.

The last criteria, however, caught me off-guard and left me completely dumbfounded: “Consumerism.”

Consumerism? I wasn’t even sure what that meant until I read the scene-descriptions listed beneath it. Here is what was stated:

“The film is set in the Time and Life Building in NYC, which are the headquarters of Life Magazine, so there are plenty of mentions of the publication. Also: Dell, Papa John’s, Sony, Cinnabon, Careerbuilder.com, Facebook, Instagram, Heinekin, Zero attache case. It’s also practically an ad for e-Harmony, which is mentioned numerous times.”

I didn’t get it. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how “consumerism” could possibly be a parental concern. What exactly about a slice of Papa John’s pizza or the mention of a Cinnabon cinnamon roll is so offensive that it would prompt a parent to cover their child’s eyes or place a pair of hands over their ears?

I tried to rationalize this concern. I really did. But the only explanations I could come up with left me wincing over what they suggested about today’s society as a whole.

I considered that the unease over consumerism had something to do with the perceived evils of Corporate America. After all, we’re living in an era of class warfare sensibilities, thanks in large part to today’s Democratic Party who has spent the last few years shaming financial success and presenting it to the public as an inequitable outcome in a capitalistic society. I obviously don’t subscribe to that viewpoint, but unfortunately a lot of people now do. It’s been mainstreamed. And I fear that the threat of this “consumerism” concept stems from that shallow form of political activism or today’s sense of political correctness. I hope I’m wrong.

I considered that the concern was over children seeing appealing products featured in movies, and then nagging their parents relentlessly to buy those products for them. I’ve heard this argument vocalized on television before by unaccountable parents who blame the irresistible toys inside McDonald’s happy-meal boxes for making their children obese. I hope that’s not the explanation for the “consumerism” warning, because if an adult honestly can’t take some parental responsibility and stand up to their child’s whining over a simple case of product placement, they have far more serious problems on their hands than what’s being projected onto a large screen in a dark theater.

Could it be about false advertising? If there’s a scene in a movie where some kid develops super-powers after gulping down a bottle of Gatorade, is there an honest concern that the false perception left behind could have an inverse affect on our impressionable youth? Do parents really need to be warned about this kind of thing in advance? Would such a scene factor into a parent’s decision to let their child watch the movie? I can’t imagine.

I thought that maybe the list of companies was provided for consumers who don’t want to patronize a specific company whose practices they find objectionable. For example, someone might not want to see a movie that accepted marketing money from a corporation that engages in animal testing for their products. This, I could understand. But I don’t think that’s the rationale. If it were, consumerism wouldn’t be presented specifically as a parental concern under the category of “What Parents Need to Know.” It would be presented as a general concern for any type of movie, whether its target-audience included children or not. From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

So I’m at a loss. If I guessed correctly in any of the explanations above, it’s hard not to be saddened by the state of a society that would essentially liken commercialism to profanity. If I still haven’t accurately identified what the threat of consumerism is to our youth – or anyone for that matter, I’d love for someone to help me out by explaining it to me.

The only thing I’m certain of is that “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was a darned good movie – one that my entire family enjoyed. And the experience was in no way tainted by Papa John’s, Cinnabon, or e-Harmony.com.




I’m Not Ashamed … of Making Money

I wish I were in the 1%.  It beats being in the 99% as far as I’m concerned.  Because I live in Washington State and have no family close by, money enables me to travel to California, New York, Colorado and Georgia to visit the ones I love.  It also enables me to travel to places I’d never dreamed of growing up in Greenpoint, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.  It also enables me to live on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest.

Spending is good.  Saving is good.  Having money gives you options.

I don’t get why people are ashamed of how much money they earn and I’ve known quite a few people who were guilt-ridden because of how well they’d done for themselves.  I’m not one of those people because I’ve worked hard since I was 16, worked full-time while in college and worked full-time while I pursued a law degree at night.  I’m not ashamed on my modest success or the fruits of my labor.

I also don’t get why so many people count other people’s money.

If Barack Obama made millions from his books, I said, God bless him.  I wish I could do the same.

If people in the movie business make millions of dollars reading lines from a script and people are willing to spend their money to see them do it, I say, “lucky for them.”

So, I really don’t get the talk about Mitt Romney’s tax returns and his initial hesitation to release them.  Now, I have no idea if he’s guilt ridden because of his success but I doubt it.  He doesn’t look like he’s ashamed of his success or neurotic like the people I’ve known.  But if he’s concerned that the returns will show that he’s “only” paid so much in income taxes, I still don’t get what the problem is.

In last week’s WSJ, Mr. Romney said he paid 15% in taxes.  So what?  There’s also talk now that he’s got money in off-shore accounts.  Until someone definitively proves to me that Mr. Romney broke the law, I don’t care how much he paid in taxes or where he keeps his money.  He could keep his money under his mattress for all I care.

Presumably he doesn’t have a “job” and receives no salary so any money he earns has to come from his investments and capital gains.  Depending on whether he’s paying on long-term or short-term investments determines the rate of taxation and 15% is what he’s paying on that income.

I commend him for taking his cash, which he probably paid taxes on in the first place, and having the guts to invest it knowing full well that he could have lost it all.  That’s what capitalism is all about.  Risk-taking.

If you want to play it safe, put your money in a CD and earn pennies and collect your interest at the end of the year.  That’s up to you.

But if you want to take risks by investing in something that offers no guarantee, why shouldn’t you get a tax break when you’re actually successful?  It’s your money, you could have it today and it could be gone tomorrow.

That’s what those complaining about the 15% rate don’t get.  They don’t seem to understand that capital gains tax is based on investments – not sure bets like a salary.  Investors, who make the world – and the economy – go around, take risks every day – those investments could either fail or succeed.  It’s all a gamble.

If people are just too stupid to get it and perhaps too blinded by their own envy of people who are successful, then there’s nothing anyone could do to convince them otherwise.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.