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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil.

  • Alice: Can you do any impersonations, Neil?

  • Neil: How about this one: My name is Michael Caine. Not a lot of people know that.

  • Alice: Michael Caine, one of our best loved actors here in Britain.

  • Not bad, Neil. And is a very good way to start today's show.

  • We are talking about impersonationor the act of pretending to be somebody else.

  • Why do we like impersonations, Neil?

  • Neil: Well, sometimes the impersonator is a comedian and doing it to be funny.

  • But another reason is that we get the opportunity to meet people who are no longer with us

  • like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe.

  • Either way, it helps if it's a good impersonation.

  • Alice: Yes, some impersonations are pretty cheesyand that means bad quality.

  • Neil: Oh yeah so... uh-huh... OK, Alice, I have a question for you!

  • Alice: Neil, that's terrible!

  • Neil: Elvis, please, come on.

  • Can you tell me the name of a musical act that impersonates a famous group?

  • Is it ... a) tribute, b) tribune,

  • Or c) tribunal?

  • Alice: I'll go for a) tribute.

  • Neil: A tribute act? OK, well, we'll find out if you got that right later on in the show.

  • But, Alice, don't you think some impersonators start to believe they really are the personalities they imitate?

  • Alice: What makes you say that?

  • Neil: Just think: every time you appear as Elvis Presley, you get fans yelling, 'Elvis,

  • Elvis, we love you, Elvis!'

  • And after a while that boundary between you and the real Elvis starts to blur.

  • It must be quite tempting to, you know, pretend that you're the king of rock'n'roll...

  • Alice: I'm not convinced, Neil. I think Elvis hangs up his wig and moves on.

  • So let's move on too, and talk about the art of imitation.

  • Here's British impressionist Jon Culshaw providing some tips on how to imitateor copypeople.

  • Jon Culshaw: Don't just say the catchphrase, don't just say, 'I am Michael Caine.'

  • Say a bit more, get some gags going, some conversation going.

  • Notice the things which are worth stretching, which are worth

  • exaggerating to really give you the caricature of that person.

  • It might be a little tic, it might be a little nuance - whatever you notice first really.

  • Alice: Jon Culshaw, there. What's a catchphrase, Neil?

  • Neil: It's a well-known phrase, often associated with a famous person

  • like the one I used for Michael Caine earlier on!

  • 'Not a lot of people know that.'

  • So Jon is saying that it isn't enough to repeat a catchphrase or use another impersonator's ideas

  • you need to think of your own gagsor jokes.

  • Alice: And you do this by noticing and then exaggerating a person's tics.

  • A tic is something you do often without realizing you're doing it, like using certain phrases

  • or gesturesfor example, scratching your head.

  • Or in your case, Neil, wiggling your eyebrows.

  • Neil: Do I wiggle my eyebrows?

  • Alice: You're doing it right now!

  • But moving on, there is a serious and very negative side to impersonation.

  • Some impostorsor people who deceive others by pretending to be somebody else

  • pose as doctors or lawyers, for example.

  • Neil: You mean without having the qualifications to do the job?

  • Alice: Exactlywhich can have serious consequences, for example pretending to be

  • a doctor with no medical knowledge.

  • Neil: Like in the film with Leonardo DiCaprio where his character impersonates an airline

  • pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer.

  • Alice: DiCaprio's character in the movie Catch Me If You Can is actually based on a real

  • man called Frank Abagnale.

  • Pan Am estimated that in two years Abagnale flew 250 flights to 26 countries.

  • Neil: OK, let's listen to Dr Naftali G. Berrill, a forensic psychologist in New York City.

  • He evaluates people for the American government.

  • Here he's talking about another real case of a woman in the US who was caught pretending

  • to be an attorneythat's a lawyer.

  • Dr Naftali G. Berrill: The thing that was most troubling is that because she realized

  • that she was not an attorney and that she was taking people's money under false pretence,

  • there was no sense of remorse or sense of sadness that she had exploited the people that trusted her.

  • But, you know, in cases where you get these impostors who specifically are pursuing financial gain,

  • they know what they're doing, but they do it with the shallow conscience of an antisocial personality.

  • Alice: That was Dr Naftali G. Berrill. What does remorse mean, Neil?

  • Neil: It means being sorry for something you've done.

  • Alice: And our conscience is our inner sense of right or wrongso a shallow conscience is one that isn't very deep.

  • Neil: Antisocial in this context means harmful to other people and to society

  • although in a general sense, it means not enjoying the company of others.

  • Alice: OK. Well, I love your company, Neil, as you know.

  • Now, how about the answer to today's quiz question?

  • Neil: I asked: What's the name we use for a band that impersonates a famous group?

  • Is it ... a) tribute? b) tribune? Or c) tribunal?

  • Alice: I said tribute.

  • Neil: And you were right!

  • Alice: Hurray!

  • Neil: Many tribute acts copy the singing style and the appearance of the group as well as playing their music.

  • They often name themselves based on the original band's name (sometimes with a pun),

  • or on one of their songs or albums.

  • For example, Bjorn Again – a famous Abba tribute band. This name is a pun on 'Bjorn',

  • a member of Abba, and the phrase 'Born Again', which means to come back to life!

  • Alice: OK. It's time to hear the words we learned today.

  • They are:

  • impersonation

  • cheesy

  • imitate

  • catchphrase

  • gags

  • tic

  • impostors

  • conscience

  • shallow

  • antisocial

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • Please join us again soon! [Imitates Elvis again.]

  • Alice: Bye bye.

  • Neil: Elvis is leaving the studio!

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

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B1 UK alice elvis tribute impersonation caine catchphrase

BBC 6 Minute English June 23, 2016 - Who would you imitate?

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/06/26
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