Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate
The Opera House, Toronto ON, May 12
By Julianna Romanyk
Published May 13, 2016
Anthony Atamanuik and James Adomian
This farcical yet biting mock debate between the two remaining men in the American presidential election was undoubtedly the best political comedy show of the year.
Anthony Atamanuik’s and James Adomian’s impersonations of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were so masterful that you could sometimes swear you were in the presence of the real candidates, and each of their answers to moderator Amanda Brooke Perrin’s questions were a superb mix of realism and ridiculousness.
Adomian’s and Atamanuik’s interpretations of the two contrasting men of the 2016 American election were rich with an amazing amount of detail. Backed by “The Imperial March” as he took to the stage, Atamanuik’s Trump didn’t just have the signature orange skin and bad hair: his lapel bared the American flag pin that Trump wears during his political appearances, and both his gestures and his nasal yet raspy tone were stunningly accurate.
Comparatively, Adomian didn’t look much like Sanders, and his voice was a notch too low for his imitation to be a dead ringer like Atamanuik’s was for Trump, but his accent and mannerisms were incredible. In character as Sanders, Adomian spoke with gradually intensifying cadences, coughed with an unsettling amount of phlegm and, best of all, pointed his fingers and twirled them shakily when he wasn’t getting enough attention.
These fantastic impressions were themselves impressive, but it was the outlandish things that the candidates said that really elevated the show to greatness. Senator Sanders warmed up for the debate by repeating “the 1% of the 1% of the 1%…” and demanded that the letters “LGBT” be moved to the front of the alphabet, then eccentrically called the Trans-Pacific Partnership a “grimoire.” In addition, the candidate famous for the #FeeltheBern slogan delighted the Canadian audience by announcing he would run as a member of the NDP if or when he didn’t win the American election, and revealed that the last time he ejaculated was when Jesse Jackson was a nominee for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump hysterically confessed that before he was human he was actually an Orange Julius stand in a mall, disgustingly described how he is in bed and, horrifyingly, told the crowd that “Triple K’s White Power” is a valuable source of alternative energy. Amid all this chaos, Amanda Brooke Perrin was wonderful as a quietly exasperated and exhausted moderator. Her straight man responses kept the preposterousness of the performance in check, and her occasional moments of lashing back at the rambling characters alongside her were very funny.