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Monday, September 23, 2019
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Atamanuik to Channel Trump in Comedy Debate

Actor and comedian Anthony Atamanuik ’97 will be back in the Emerson College neighborhood Saturday night. And it’ll be tremendous.

Atamanuik, who has appeared on TV in 30 Rock and Broad City and has performed at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), is touring as Donald Trump in Trump vs. Bernie: Debate Tour 2016, and will perform at the Wilbur Theatre Saturday, May 21.

As the name of the show would suggest, Atamanuik as The Donald debates comedian James Adomian as Bernie Sanders in what TV and digital channel Fusion calls “the shoutiest debate of the 2016 election.” So far.

Atamanuik’s portrayal of Trump is a combination of outrageous satire and eerie mimicry. Here’s “Trump” on energy, from a list of “The 15 Most Provocative Quotes from Anthony Atamanuik, aka Donald Trump in the Trump vs. Bernie Debate” in Paste magazine:

“I’ve been endorsed by a number of these groups recently. And I think it might be the future of American energy. I don’t know what it is, but I love the endorsements, it’s called ‘white power.’ I don’t know what it is, but white power, I think white power is the future of America. I think white power might solve all our energy problems. And a lot of people are telling me the country’s been running on white power for 25 years. And apparently the Republicans have been using white power for over 60 years to get elected and they aren’t sharing this power source with the rest of the country, and I would.”

To get inside Trump’s head, Atamanuik told The Daily Dot, he had to find the ways in which he and Trump are alike. He said both he and the apparent Republican presidential nominee can “bloviate,” can “work a room,” and get very upset when they feel they’ve been treated unfairly.

“We probably have very similar personality Venn diagrams,” Atamanuik told The Daily Dot. “The difference is that I have a reflective self and he has no reflective self.

“It affects you because you’re thinking in his head and that level of aggression for that long is taxing,” he added.

Marlena Yannetti, senior dancer-in-residence in the Department of Performing Arts and Atamanuik’s mom, said she was “very proud” of her son’s career, and frequently goes to see him perform at UCB in New York.

“This is what he’s wanted to do all his life and he’s doing it, and how many people can say that?” she said.

But has Atamanuik’s impersonation of Trump changed her feelings toward the billionaire-turned-reality-show-star-turned candidate?

“I’m looking at him exactly the same,” she said.

For tickets to Trump vs. Bernie at the Wilbur, visit thewilbur.com.