Impressionist Frank Caliendo, host of TBS's late night comedy show Frank TV, has mastered impersonations of people like President George Bush, John Madden, Al Pacino, and nearly the entire Seinfeld cast, among others. His uncanny impressions and political satire have also regularly appeared on Fox NFL Sunday and Mad TV. Now, Caliendo revisits his days at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied broadcast journalism.
Name: Frank Caliendo
College Attended: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Major: Broadcast journalism
Graduation Year: 1996
Nickname: I was always the one giving nicknames, and I stayed away from me.
Favorite drink/midnight snack: I've never been a drinker, but I'm definitely a snacker! Pizza or some type of ice cream brownie always works. Ha.
Which schools did you apply to?
I didn't apply to different schools. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do, and at the last second, I went to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. I planned to play baseball (the baseball people enrolled me), but I decided that I'd rather focus on school after going to a few classes. Then I transferred to UW-Milwaukee as a sophomore, just to go to a little bit bigger school and to have more options as far as classes and majors went.
So h ow did you choose your major?
By default, I guess. I always loved TV, and I had no idea what else to do, so I studied what interested me.
Were you a bookworm or a slacker?
Probably more of a bookworm. I was spending my own money on college, so I didn't want to waste it.
What was the biggest obstacle you overcame in college?
The tire drill part? Oh sorry, that was the toughest part of the obstacle course, which was also a class I had in college now that I think about it. I would say it was juggling work and school schedules. I was always working, so I would get reading done very late at night a lot of times.
Looking back on your college experience, what are you most proud of?
My grades! My GPA was around a 3.8, I think. I could never do that again. Ha.
And who was your role model back then ?
I never really had role models. I think I'd heard too many people tell me to be what I wanted to be. I looked up to lots of different people for different reasons, but I wouldn't say I had one role model.
Did you t a ke part in any activities like sports or clubs?
I think I was on a bad intramural basketball team for a game, but I blocked it out of my memory.
What was your favorite Wisconsin-Milwaukee hangout spot?
We always loved the Ping-Pong tables. Nothing beats a good game of table tennis.
What did you like most and least about your school?
I liked the teachers a lot, but I think I'd have to say the parking was probably the worst part of school.
Tell us one way in which college changed you.
It really made me start focusing on important things. I learned to see things through, and make sure I completed projects that I started.
If you could go back, what about college would you do differently?
Oh, I don't see how I could do that, but if I were to do so, I think I'd rather only take classes that I liked. It would be nice to do them as a pass/fail, and worry more about actually learning the material than just shooting for a good grade.
Do you keep in touch with any of your college friends?
One or two, mostly by E-mail. I check in with a couple of good friends once in a while, and sometimes I say hi to them in a magazine [website]. "Hey Hartz!"