Rick Yaeger: Hey, everyone. It’s Rick Yaeger here with “One Question Interviews,” the show where I take the golden opportunity to talk to a celebrity and then waste it on a totally random question.
You might recognize, my guest today from his appearances on the show, “Bones”, but you probably heard his amazing celebrity impressions on countless animated series. He’s got a new comedy special on Netflix. Please welcome, the chosen and taken, Mr. Elon Gold.
Elon Gold: Thank you so much, Rick. So good to be here.
Rick: Thank you for being here. It’s good to see you.
Elon: Even though I’m not there, I’m here.
Rick: Thank you for being there, basically.
Elon: Thank you for being there. More talk shows should be like this, where we don’t actually have to be in the same space.
Rick: It cuts down on the commute for one thing.
Elon: People don’t take into account a lot of these hosts have terrible breath.
Rick: [laughs] You care to name names?
Elon: I can’t do that. Not Jay Leno, he has clean teeth. He cleans his teeth meticulously. “Every morning, every night, I brush my teeth at least three, four times a day. Then I use the same toothbrush to brush up the car windshield.”
Rick: [laughs] Little impromptu Jay Leno.
Elon: Little impromptu Jay Leno. It never hurt to do a little. When you’re doing this little Jay Leno, every now and then you can just throw it out there.
Rick: You get up so high that only dogs can hear you.
Elon: I used to do an impression. My very first impression was Casey Kasem.
Rick: That they recorded.
Elon: The late great Casey Kasem. The thing with Casey is, this is how I learned it. Casey has a high voice and a low one. It’s Casey Kasem. He’s go up and then he’ll go down. I’m Casey Kasem.
Rick: [laughs] So true.
Elon: It was my very first impression.
Rick: What was your next impression?
Elon: I think it was Julia Child. Not the Julia Child that Meryl Streep did, which was Julia Margaret Thatcher Child, because it was the same voice in both movies. It was like, “Oh, we’re going to go. We’re going to cook the stew like this.”
Then all of a sudden, she’s Margaret Thatcher, and it’s the same thing. “Oh, we’re going to go to war today. It’s going to be fabulous.” I’m like, “Really, the same? They both sounded exactly alike?”
Rick: Where did you get your impersonations?
Elon: It’s the Lord. It’s a God-given talent. I grew doing impressions of teachers. When I was in seventh, eighth grade, I discovered, I could just mimic people. It’s usually when you’re starring at them and you’re soaking them in, and you’re sort of admiring them, either in a positive or negative way. You’re just like, “I could be them.” Then you just act like them. It’s really mockery. They say imitation’s a serious form of flattery. It’s mockery.
Rick: It’s mockery.
Elon: I am mocking the person. Even if it’s flattering, even if I love them, like Howard Stern I love, it’s still mockery when I mimic him.
Rick: Please do.
Elon: Are you asking me to do the Howard?
Rick: Please do.
Elon: This is very exciting. Let me tell you something. I’m on a show that nobody’s watching, Robin.
Rick: [laughs] You’re breaking up.
Elon: Oh, Lord. Every time I start a fabulous impression, Robin, this guy doesn’t even have Internet on his house.
Rick: My favorite impersonation that you do is Jeff Goldblum.
Elon: The best.
Rick: I can only do an impersonation of Jeff Goldblum from here out.
Elon: Let me see it.
Rick: It’s this.
Elon: Oh, that’s good.
Rick: Sometimes I throw in a little of this.
Elon: That’s good. Just this alone was good. Do that again.
Rick: It’s just this.
Elon: Jerry Seinfeld, I’m not dropping names. Whenever I see him, he always says, “Teach me the Goldblum,” and he goes like this. I go, “That’s it. You got it.”
Rick: That’s it.
Elon: It’s just the hand has to jut out like this. Then sometimes fingers will raise, and eyes will run amok. Pointing never hurts anyone.
Rick: [laughs] It’s like he’s handing his ticket in.
Elon: Here you go, my ticket. What else is happening? Where’s the hat, and where is the question?
Rick: I have one serious topic to pose. It goes along with the impressions. There’s an unwritten law of stand up comedy that is you never steal another comic’s jokes. True?
Rick: As a comedian who does impressions, it must be harder to stake a claim in an impersonation.
Elon: Not at all, Rick. I just had this conversation last night at the Comic Strip in New York City with other comedians. There are comedians who do impressions. They have a handful of their guys. It’s their guys. For example, for me, it’s the Goldblum. You talked about the Howard Stern, Charles Grodin, all these guys that I used to do and no one else was doing.
For people like Frank Caliendo, it’s obviously John Madden. His George W. Bush is like no other. It’s signature impressions. For Kevin Pollak, it’s the Shatner. Who else does he do? Alan Arkin or whatever.
Rick: Christopher Walken.
Elon: It’s interesting, because he admits to stealing the Walken from Jay Mohr.
Rick: There you go.
Elon: That was Jay Mohr’s Walken. That’s the thing. When you have a signature impression and you found the hook and no one else has done it, some people are off limits or fair game like a president or Jack Nicholson, any of those hackey impressions. I always try to stay away from hackey impressions, because it’s not fun to watch a guy do impressions that other people are doing.
It’s literally like watching a magician do the same tricks you saw other magicians do. That’s exactly what impressions are, they’re magic. They’re magic tricks. Once you have a signature impression, if you find the hook and then someone takes your hook and does it, that’s stealing. That’s intellectual property. It’s not jokes, but it’s hooks. It’s signature impressions, and it happens rampantly. In fact, Frank Caliendo stole my Jeff Goldblum.
Rick: [laughs] You heard it here. The gauntlet has been thrown down.
Elon: By the way, when you get an interview with him, ask him. He will admit it. He literally came over to me a couple of years before he did it on Letterman and said, “I love your Goldblum.”
Rick: I love it so much…
Elon: Whereas a guy like Darell Hammond, who was asked to do Al Gore on Saturday Night Live said to me, “I am trying so hard not to do your Al Gore.” He was nice about it and cool about it. He did, he found his own very funny hook.
My hook with Al Gore is that he put Hs, the letter H, in words where they don’t belong. He’ll be giving a speech, he’ll be like, “Several years ago, I began speaking about global warming. When we were growing up, my father Geppetto…”
I had the H thing. That was my little hook. Darell was like, “I’m going to do everything I can to avoid that hook.” He did. There is stealing. That’s a good question. Is that the question? I don’t think so because…
Rick: No, that’s not the question. Tell us what you want to tell us about Chosen and Taken.
Elon: It’s a really exciting Netflix special. It’s called the Elon Gold Chosen and Taken. It just was released couple months ago. It’s the combination of over a decade or more of me working on my act and my stand up and just perfecting it. No comedian can be considered a great comedian until he has a great one-hour special.
I’ve been good for a while now, but I hope that the special has taken me to that level of, “Oh, my God. This guy is great.” Because when you have that act, when you have the hour and you’ve waited 10, 15 years and worked every night on it, it changes the game for you, hopefully.
Already, I could see, I have so many more fans and people recognize me. I cross the border in Toronto and the border police, one women was like “Oh, my God. It’s you.” That’s nice. Really, only a one-hour could do that. By the way, she has still arrested me for having cocahaña.
Elon: Cocahaña, I travel with cocahana, only crossing borders. I don’t keep it at home, only when I’m crossing into another country. I have a little eight ball on me.
Rick: Very nice. What’s the difference between having an act and having a show?
Elon: You’re absolutely right. The difference between an act and a show, imagine you go to a show and it’s eight minutes long. An act is something you build, and it’s always an hour plus, and it’s like a full show. By the end of it, you feel like you got your money’s worth. It gives a fulfilling feeling and it’s like, “Oh, that was a real show. That was a show.”
Rick: I agree. I’m going to get the hat now.
Elon: Oh, no. I’m scared.
Rick: The hat is coming. The hat is here.
Elon: That’s a signature hat.
Rick: It is. As you know, the show is called, “One Question Interviews”. I have almost a thousand different questions.
Elon: A thousand questions.
Rick: Almost a thousand.
Elon: You wear the hat, by the way, for religious reasons?
Rick: I have a 1000 of different questions ranging from the profane to the profound. We will choose one at random. You will answer it seriously or in a funny voice if you like, and everyone goes home happy. Sound cool?
Rick: I’m going to grab a handful of them here. I’ll riffle down the side. You tell me when to stop.
Rick: Do you want the top or the bottom?
Rick: Bottom. Elon Gold, what is a good day for you?
Elon: A good day for me is four good meals, two excellent bowel movements, one good stand up comedy set, and absolutely no sex, because I’m married. I just won’t get it anyway.
Elon: I just know that my day revolves around food and comedy and not getting sex.
Rick: [laughs] Input, output, comedy, and celibacy.
Elon: It’s just all about eating and making jokes. That’s basically everything.
Rick: I haven’t seen you eat, but I’ve seen your comedy. [laughs] Your comedy is amazing.
Elon: Thank you.
Rick: I’m sure you’re quite good at eating and digesting.
Elon: Rick, did you enjoy my special?
Rick: I’m very much enjoyed your special. I’m a big fan of stand up comedy for one thing, and then a big fan of guys who do impressions. You’re one of the best.
Elon: Thank you. I closed that whole special with a reading of the potty book as different voices.
Rick: Loved it.
Elon: It was fun. Thank you.
Rick: Nailed every one of them. You’ve done a few of them today, but you haven’t done them all. People, definitely, check out Elon special, “Chosen and Taken” on Netflix. Follow him on Twitter. He’s @elongold, just the way you’d expect.
Elon: I also in a little show called “Stacked,” that Steve Levitan wrote, who created Modern Family. It’s on Hulu, me and Pam Anderson. All the episodes are available on Hulu. I love you, Rick, and thank you for having me on your show. I appreciate it.
Rick: I appreciate you coming on the show.
Elon: Next time I do the show, I will answer two questions for you.
Rick: I don’t know. Let’s just pace ourselves here.
Elon: Two, twice the questions, same price.
Rick: [laughs] Thank you so much for being on the show.
Elon: Thanks, Rick. Let’s talk soon.
Rick: I’m just going to wrap this up. I invite you all to head over to onequestioninterviews.com where I’m going to have a transcript of this interview along with any links, the cool stuff we talked about, just to simplify your life a bit. Everyone needs that sometimes.
That’s it. This is Rick Yaeger for One Question Interviews. Thank you so much for watching and subscribe to the show for free in the iTunes podcast directory or on YouTube, so you don’t miss out on the next episode.
Elon: You heard that, Jews? It’s free. Cut to, subscribe here. $19.99 a month.
Rick: [laughs] Bye, bye, everyone.