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Elect Character: Comedian David Allen Takes On Mitt Romney
Known in underground comedy for his unique characters, David Allen has taken an early stance in the 2008 race for the presidency. Allen says his stance is all character and less politics.
David Allen's portrayal of the white house hopeful is "smooth" and comfortable and though admittingly lacking in the voice Allen delivers the Romney people want to see.
MH: Where did you go to find the small traits of Mitt that you portrayed in your latest commercial?
ALLEN: When I first saw him he was talking about saving the Olympics and he smoothly transitioned to another topic. That's how I find him to act, ultra smooth. I didn't pick up on that so much until he was confronted on something he didn't want to talk about. Then somehow it seemed like the answer was " I saved the Olympics" .."and that's America". Right after, I did an image search and he looked, again, so smooth by the mountaintops in this windbreaker like thing. Those few things together gave me the little swagger that I bring to it.
MH: That swagger seems to come out a lot in the voice you're portraying. That is a criticism. However, Politicians are constantly criticized from all directions. By portraying a politician are you expecting the same?
ALLEN: I openly welcome the same and in many ways enjoy it. The whole thing is process. When we first filmed the peice, there weren't as many clips of Mitt online to really hook the voice. So I really characterized it. I wanted people to see where the character was going and I like to tell myself repeatedly, in a dark corner, at 4am that it worked.
MH: In addition to your other talents, you are known for rather uncanny impressions. Do you think you will get this one down?
ALLEN: Oh, I already have it down, buddy. Like I said, It's a process. In the pieces to come you will see things driving in a more serious, satirical, direction with a strong impression. This way ("as I reveal all of my treasured secrets") when I bring the character points out, they will have a stronger impact. Plus I have no BEEF with Mitt Romney. I kind of want to do him well. The strange, confusing, sometimes hurtful version of "well".
MH: Do you have "beef" with any politicians in this race and, if I might ask, where do you stand?
ALLEN: I have no beef ("why are we using the word beef?!. It's my fault isn't it?") I have no BEEF with anyone that isn't in our current administration. I'm actually very interested in politics and the current candidates. I'll throw myself back onto the grill for some folk and admit to leaning a bit left. However, I honestly do believe that Romney has some strong points. Giuliani is someone else that stands out as a very interesting character, right now.
MH: Do you plan on doing anything comedically with Rudy Giuliani?
ALLEN: I want to get a voice down and a handful of ideas with all the candidates. Even Hilary. I really want to write a strong Hilary piece, throw on a wig, and do it as myself, no impression involved.
MH: So we can expect to see you as Hilary Clinton in your next video.
ALLEN: I think it was booked as you were saying it.
David Allen's base of characters is quite varied. Among them are Ted Hart, a 60-some year old Midwest native, that has Allen placed in intense prosthetics. Also, a modern teenage boy named Deven, appropriately named online "xDEVENx [rawrbotz]. Among others, with a dash of Mitt Romney, Allen says "they all play to different audiences, which can sometimes be rough". However, there tends to be a common backbone.
MH: What is the combined backbone of every character you perform?
ALLEN: I think it comes from the improvisation aspects. Everyone thinks in a different way or at a different pace. So, I think it's in my pacing. I just strive to keep an open mind and work with everything. I'm not afraid to correct myself within the take either, so some of that comes out.
MH: When you're dealing with online content, are you studying your audience?
ALLEN: Constantly. Especially, when there is such variety involved in what I do. Different people are looking for different things out of me. So, for every Mitt Romney, I want to give them a Deven. To keep things balanced.
MH: You were recently featured in Sum 41's "Underclass Hero". Does that change anything?
ALLEN: (laughs) No, I'm still nearly homeless. In relation to audience, No also. It's just fun for me to know that I can morph from a high school kid to a politician the likes of Mitt Romney.
No matter the audience, David Allen strives to morph the future direction of character work with innovating techniques and good acting, leaving audiences wanting more. To view the Mitt Romney Campaign advertisement mentioned, a youtube version is available at www.youtube.com/