THE NEW TRUMP TAKE

An­thony Ata­manuik will im­per­son­ate Trump’s “soul” on “The Pres­i­dent Show.”

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - KATE MOONEY @yat­in­brook­lyn [email protected]

An­thony Ata­manuik brings his im­pres­sion to late night.

Many Amer­i­cans would sleep a lot eas­ier if Don­ald Trump were host of a late night show in­stead of leader of the free world. The former reality star could do con­sid­er­ably less dam­age if he had stuck to en­ter­tain­ment and stayed out of pol­i­tics. But what if Trump the pres­i­dent had his own late night show?

That’s the premise of “The Pres­i­dent Show,”a new weekly late night show on Com­edy Cen­tral that puts our com­man­der-in-chief — as played by Trump im­per­son­ator An­thony Ata­manuik — be­hind the desk.

The 42-year-old co­me­dian, a vet­eran im­pro­viser at New York Up­right Ci­ti­zen’s Bri­gade (UCB) who’s also known for his work on “Broad City” and “30 Rock,” de­buted his take on the Don­ald in a one-man show at UCB called the Trump Dump, back in June 2015, shortly af­ter Trump had an­nounced his can­di­dacy. In 2016, Ata­manuik fol­lowed it with “Trump vs. Bernie,” a sketch series of mock de­bates along­side Bernie im­per­son­ator and co­me­dian James Ado­mian, which the two took on a 40-city tour and re­leased as a com­edy special “Trump vs. Bernie: Live from Brook­lyn,” ranked no. 1 on iTunes. That gar­nered attention from fans like Judd Apa­tow and Howard Stern, ce­ment­ing Ata­manuik’s rep­u­ta­tion as the guy whose Trump im­pres­sion ri­valed Alec Bald­win’s.

In Jan­uary, Ata­manuik pitched the show to Com­edy Cen­tral; by Fe­bru­ary, it was green­lit. Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project”) ex­ec­u­tive pro­duces; writ­ers in­clude Emmy Blot­nik (“@Mid­night with Chris Hard­wick”) Neil Casey (“Inside Amy Schumer”) and John Gem­ber­ling (Bev­ers on “Broad City”!).

Ahead of tonight’s pre­miere, we vis­ited the “Pres­i­dent Show” set in Mid­town, where Ata­manuik (in char­ac­ter as Trump) held a (mock) press con­fer­ence, fol­lowed by a (real) Q&A with Ata­manuik (as him­self). Here’s what we heard from both men about what to ex­pect from the show.

How his Trump take is dif­fer­ent

“I like to say that I do an im­pres­sion of his psyche, an im­pres­sion of his soul. [That’s] the thing that’s miss­ing in how people por­tray Trump,” said Ata­manuik. “It’s easy to do the, ‘I’m Don­ald Trump, this is how I do my body,’ that’s just con­di­tion­ing and train­ing, but in watch­ing him, I found all these psy­cho­log­i­cal re­frains that were re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing.”

He calls out Trump as a “weird, lech­er­ous guy”

“I don’t think any one thing can take a pres­i­dent out of of­fice. My show is not go­ing to get him im­peached — that’s a left fan­tasy any­way, be­cause the process would take so long,” he ex­plained. “I think we can con­trib­ute to re-ex­am­in­ing his iden­tity and forc­ing ca­ble news me­dia to stop do­ing this pre­tend game where just be­cause he’s the pres­i­dent, we pre­tend he’s not a weird, lech­er­ous guy.”

His re­sponse to claims that he’s nor­mal­iz­ing Trump

“If any­thing, I’ve tried to show how ab­nor­mal he is. Was Char­lie Chap­lin nor­mal­iz­ing Adolf Hitler when he played him in ‘The Great Dic­ta­tor’? Com­edy and satire are the lifeblood of the most tragic pe­ri­ods in hu­man his­tory. I have survivors in my fam­ily, and they laughed their way through the camps be­cause that’s how you sur­vive.”

“Trump” on his dream guests

“All the stars of ‘Bring it On.’ All the girls, so won­der­ful. I’d wan­der into the dress­ing room be­fore the show, like I used to with so many pageants with un­der­age teenagers. Did you know I re­ally did that? Isn’t that won­der­ful?”

How he’d choose be­tween be­ing pres­i­dent or host­ing late night

“I would def­i­nitely choose for me to be on the show and for me not to be pres­i­dent.”

GAVIN BOND

An­thony Ata­manuik plays Trump as the late night host of “The Pres­i­dent Show,” pre­mier­ing Thurs­day at 11:30 p.m. on Com­edy Cen­tral.

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