Can Performing Monkeys Do Shakespeare?

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Impressionist comedian Jim Meskimen makes the leap from America’s Got Talent finalist to star of new original series The Impression Guys.

“The Impression Guys is written to take advantage of the talents of Jim and Ross, and to capture moments of hilarity and humanity within the context of the absurd situations they get themselves into.”

Impressionist Jim Meskimen, whose appearances on America’s Got Talent earned him a standing ovation at Radio City Music Hall in 2013, stars in The Impression Guys, a new YouTube original half hour series from Soul Pancake productions and Rainn Wilson.

With costar Ross Marquand, Meskimen plays a skewed version of himself, a married father of one who makes his living primarily doing impressions of Robert Deniro, Robin Williams, Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman and other celebrities for film trailers, TV shows, phone messages and live events.

In Season One, (which launches on Soulpancake Monday, February 10th) Jim creates a 12-Step Program to transition him and Ross from “performing monkeys” into seriously respected, dramatic actors.  Over the course of the season, the two go through the various steps, resolving in the final stage to quit doing impressions completely and perform a live, two-man version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

As they go through the steps, they quickly find out how much they will lose to achieve their new dream.  

Writer/director Ben Shelton says, “The Impression Guys is written to take advantage of the talents of Jim and Ross, and to capture moments of hilarity and humanity within the context of the absurd situations they get themselves into.”

With a mockumentary-style in the vein of Modern Family, Extras, and Parks & Recreation (in which Meskimen has played recurring character Martin Housely since 2009) the comedy is based not so much on visual gags or one-liners, but instead on heightened character situations, heartfelt dilemmas, and hilarious celebrity impressions.

Season One also features celebrity guest stars Camryn Manheim, Angela Kinsey from The Office, Erika Christensen from Parenthood, and Matt Jones from Breaking Bad, as well as a host of other talented impressionists from the YouTube universe.

Meskimen, who in 2011 posted a YouTube video “Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices” to draw attention to his live JIMPRESSIONS show in Hollywood, used its viral popularity to reboot his career. The trajectory of that spike lead to sold out appearances in Hollywood, The Today Show in Australia, to America’s Got Talent, and now, The Impression Guys.

“Ross Marquand and I have been mutual fans for years, and we’ve been dreaming about a project like this. We both had great experiences, separately, working with Ben Shelton on his series The Flipside,” says Meskimen, who has provided a wide range of celebrity impressions for Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, “and we are psyched that Soul Pancake had so much confidence in us.”

Soul Pancake is a production company founded by Rainn Wilson of NBC’s The Office. The YouTube channel recently surpassed one million subscribers.

The Impression Guys can be seen on YouTube starting Monday, February 10th.
http://www.youtube.com/soulpancake

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Roland Portugal
@jimrossmeskimen
since: 06/2010
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