As the scale of the coronavirus threat crystallizes, a comedian with a Trump impression takes off

J-L Cauvin and a portion of the cover art for his album, "Fireside Craps: 45's First 100 Daze". (via Twitter, via iTunes)
J-L Cauvin and a portion of the cover art for his album "Fireside Craps: 45's First 100 Daze." (Via Twitter, via iTunes)

WASHINGTON — A New York-based Donald Trump impersonator has become an overnight sensation by posting videos parodying the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, providing rare comic relief in the midst of a global health emergency.

“It’s crazy,” J-L Cauvin said during an interview on the Yahoo News "Skullduggery" podcast. “It’s like eight years of a career shot into your vein in 72 hours.”

Cauvin, 40, a former prosecutor in the Bronx and a comedy journeyman, recorded himself parodying the president on a whim last week, as he left his home to walk the dog. His improvised riff about bringing the tanking economy back by Easter subsequently went viral, garnering more than 2 million views on YouTube in just three days.

“I have decided — I’m announcing today — we are going to bring back the economy on Easter Sunday,” Cauvin says in his Trump voice in the video. “Because God, who, to be honest, is — you know, he’s a good God, he’s done some strong things, some — let’s be honest — his record is, like, not so great, though.

“He brought one guy back on Easter Sunday. And it was his son, so it was kind of, like, biased. But we’re going to bring back the entire economy on Easter Sunday. And at that point, I’m better than God.”

Download or subscribe on iTunes: “Skullduggery” from Yahoo News

Cauvin, a Georgetown Law graduate, has produced six stand-up albums, including “Fireside Craps,” a collection of Trump impersonations. But he had never really caught on, forcing him to take a regular full-time job. And then the global pandemic hit.

“And like any success story in entertainment, that was exactly when I hit big,” he said. “I just have to kind of seize on it. ... If this hadn’t happened, maybe this video would have gotten some views and been a nice little thing, but the flip side of that is, ‘OK, now I’m finally having the career moment I’ve been dying for and I’m just sitting in my kitchen basically talking to people on my computer.’ ”

Cauvin says he never scripts his Trump videos before he does them.

“I never write them because that would stifle who he is — which is somebody who is also flying by the seat of his pants but always coming back to ego. It’s a meandering journey back to praising himself.”

After switching to his Trump voice during the “Skullduggery” interview, Cauvin was asked how he reconciled Trump’s comments last week that he wanted to lift social distancing restrictions by Easter — so the churches could be packed — with his later announcement that he was extending the guidance until April 30.

“What we’re actually doing is talking right now to various faith leaders,” said Cauvin in his Trump voice. “We’re talking to the pope. And we’re going to see if we can move Easter — they’re talking about moving Easter to May 5. I think that’s a Sunday. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll make that a Sunday.”

As it currently stands, May 5 is on a Tuesday.


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