Local a dead ringer for Edwards?
He’s not John Edwards, but he believes he is the world’s only professional John Edwards impersonator. And while the vice-presidential candidate is hitting the campaign trail, Grass Valley resident and Edwards look-alike Frank King is quickly prepping to pick up the political hot potato that follows a presidential campaign by pretending to be just like him.
Today, King is headed to Los Angeles to be fitted for a latex mask that will make his look more believable, an endeavor King says will cost him about $3,000, including the plane fare, hotel and the fitting itself. The new Edwards-esque mask will boast a small mole that Edwards has above his lip and a slight double chin, which King does not have.
King will then need to make a video, a must for any professional impersonator, and says he hopes his efforts will get him on shows such as “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno or the “Late Show” with David Letterman.
King says he has been a comedian since the fourth grade when he told his first joke and has been a full-time comedian for more than 18 years, but this will be his first real stint in impersonation. He says he fell into it by accident because he and Mr. Edwards are so similar – and not just in looks.
“During the primaries, every week or so I’d get an e-mail from a comedian saying I looked just like John Edwards,” King said. He then decided that if Kerry picked Edwards as his running mate, he would jump at the opportunity to take advantage of the commonalties. When Kerry made the fateful phone call, King said he was ecstatic.
“Kerry was probably the happiest man in the country, but I was probably the second happiest man,” King said.
Happy no doubt because of the potential gold mine this North Carolina native may have stepped into.
If King can woo over audiences into believing his impersonating antics, he said, he could potentially receive up to $10,000 for each appearance, which is the price George W. Bush’s impersonator, Steve Bridges, charges.
King said he would like to meet a believable Kerry impersonator and possibly do a duo. He said he also tossed around the idea of teaming up with a Cheney impersonator for a fake debate.
King said he believes he is the only professional Edwards impersonator in the world – or at least the only one who has come forward to stake the claim. During his research, however, he said he did find an impersonator for John Edward, the clairvoyant guru who claims the skill of being able speak to dead family members while hosting the talk show “Crossing Over.”
King said that he gets most of his material from newspapers and has been a political comedian since he began a full-time comic career when he told his then-girlfriend and current wife, Wendy, that he wanted to hit the road and give stand-up a solid try. She told him she wanted to go along and the couple drove off in their Dodge Colt to big cities and small towns around the country, where King performed in bars and clubs. They were gone for 2,629 days, King said.
After a shoer stint in radio as a morning talk-show DJ, King decided to move into the world of performing comic routines at corporate conventions, such as a Kentucky Grocers Association convention, where King was last week. He started his own comedy business, White Collar Comedy, and specializes in political humor.
This move from clubs to conventions is what King called “switching from the bar room to the board room.” While the jokes he now tells are more tame than in private clubs with paying customers, he does enjoy the 80-90 conventions he speaks at each year “because it pays better,” he said.
The jokes he tells must be politically middle-of-the road and more in the style of “good-natured ribbing” in order to appeal to convention audiences, King said. He said he loves politics and this University of North Carolina political science major is also a registered Republican and self-proclaimed “die-hard raw foodist and vegan.” He considers himself a “Schwarzenegger” or “McCain Republican” and says he is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.
To learn more about Frank King, visit his Web site at: http://www.notjohnedwards.com.
Think Frank King looks like John Edwards? Vote in the poll at http://www.theunion.com/news
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