Imagine a celebrity impression so good, so dead-on, that if you closed your eyes you wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from the real deal.
That was the goal of Thornhill, Ont., native David Andrew Brent, a comedian whose absolutely uncanny Arnold Schwarzenegger impression has reached nearly 1 million views on YouTube in just a few days. To top it all off, Schwarzenegger himself got wind the of video and tweeted his congratulations the comedian on Tuesday:
“I congratulated him on Twitter because overall, he is really fantastic,” Schwarzenegger wrote on social news site Reddit shortly after the tweet. “People always go way over the top, but he didn't."
The movie star added: “He could maybe slow down a little bit and relax to perfect it. But I don't want to nitpick. He is a talented guy.”
Brent, a 32-year-old stand-up comedian, voice actor, and long-time Arnold fan, told omg! that he's been honing the impression for nearly ten years.
“I didn’t like the impressionists I’d been seeing,” Brent said. “Everyone just does a caricature. They take a few parts of somebody’s voice and they just bastardize it.”
Brent believes that most comics tend to focus on Arnold’s trademark gutteral grunts, growls, and gurgles, instead of the action star's actual voice. “That really pissed me off. I said ‘This could be done better!’”
Brent has put a lot of thought and work into his Arnold voice over the years, practicing words and phrases in the style of the body builder-turned-actor-turned-politician for close to 30 minutes a day at one point.
"I actually used to do it so much that I almost got dumped because of it," the comedian admitted with a laugh. "I was driving with my girlfriend at the time, practicing the impression, and she was like 'I can’t take any more of this!' She threatened to break up with me!"
Brent, who considers Schwarzenegger one of his idols (he's a "Kindergarten Cop" and "Last Action Hero" fan, for the record), said he’s still in shock from the whole experience. “For one of the biggest superstars on the planet to take time out of their life to look at you and say hi, that’s huge. That’s good enough for me!”
Schwarzenegger isn't the only impression Brent does. The comedian also counts Christopher Walken, Patrick Stewart, Morgan Freeman, Dr. Phil, Albert Finney, Walter Cronkite, and Georges St. Pierre among his vocal repertoire.
Interested in hearing more? Brent is about to embark on a 16-month stand-up tour and will next be appearing at the Lafflines Comedy Club in Vancouver on Nov. 1.