On Wednesday night’s The Late Show, Colbert unveiled his Bernie Sanders impression:
Larry David’s attempts may have gotten more viral burn (sorry), but his joke is that Bernie Sanders is an old school, crotchety New Yorker—just like Larry David! And hey, they kind of look the same! But the response always felt a bit smug to me. It was always about recognizing the similarity, and never really moved beyond that.
Colbert’s is better in some key ways. He’s got Sanders’s rhythms down, and he’s actually doing Bernie Sanders, not Larry David doing Bernie Sanders. But both he and David are still missing the most important part of Sanders’s bark: the nose.
If you’ve seen The Trip and/or The Trip to Italy, you know that Steve Coogan’s biggest criticism of his costar Rob Brydon’s impressions is that he doesn’t speak through his nose. To get Michael Caine right, to get Robert De Niro right, you have to speak through the nose:
So far, the only Bernie Sanders impression that gets his nasal delivery right, as Dave Weigel noted last summer, is James Adomian’s: