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Where's David Frye?

By admin Published: October 10, 2008


New York magazine's Vulture pop-culture section has compiled a list of the 10 funniest political impressions of all time. Tops of their list is Bugs Bunny as Adolf Hitler, with Tina Fey's Sarah Palin in second. They cheat a lot -- treating fictionalized characters like Billy Bob Thornton's in "Primary Colors" and Peter Sellers in "Dr. Strangelove" as James Carville and Adlai Stevenson respectively -- and pull other stunts to start argument and drive Web readers. But I'll take the bait.

And I will take it with two words: David Frye.

Frye was, quite simply, the most brilliant political impressionist of the '60s; I used to perk up whenever he was on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and you can find some of his work on the new SmoBro DVD set.

He should have made the Vulture list for his Nixon -- which puts Hedaya to shame -- but he could have just as easily made it for his Lyndon Johnson or Robert Kennedy. (His William F. Buckley Jr. impression, which you can find a bit of on YouTube, was also splendid.) Frye's star faded as his best-lampooned politicians left the scene, but he was scaldingly funny in his heyday and belongs on any list like Vulture's.

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