WEST COVINA COMMUNITY THEATRE — Every Wednesday night at 8:00., aspiring comedian Harold Ziskind clocks in at his Improv 101 class with one purpose and one purpose only: to wow everyone in sight with his middle-of-the-road Christopher Walken impression.
“It’s a great icebreaker,” said Ziskind. “You gotta make sure everyone knows you can do it on the first day, and then you bust it out at least once a week so nobody forgets.”
According to Ziskind, he is known as “The Walken Guy” among his classmates, who witnessed his impression each week.
“I mean, yeah, it kind of sounds like Christopher Walken,” said classmate Bethany Casper. “It also just kind of sounds like Harold.”
Ziskind has been honing his craft since he first saw Pulp Fiction as a teenager and realized that Christopher Walken is the only thing a scene needs to become funny.
“The man is a comedy legend,” Ziskind said of the actor, who is best known for his roles in such hilarious films as The Deer Hunter and Batman Returns. “If I think a scene isn’t going anywhere, I’ll just throw myself in there while I’m doing the voice. People go nuts!”
Ziskind’s improv instructor Katherine Chen, however, was less than impressed with the impersonation.
“He hasn’t retained any information about improv. Every week he stands onstage and talks about hiding watches in his ass for 10 minutes before someone else taps him out of the scene,” said Chen. “But if this is what he wants to spend $60 on for the next six weeks, more power to him.”
When asked if he would demonstrate the impression for reporters, Ziskind responded, “I have been doing it. I’ve been doing it this whole time.”
Ziskind’s improv class concludes with a free public performance, at which point he will let everyone know that he “has a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.”