I was shocked to hear about the death of Steve Bridges whose uncanny impressions of George W Bush were hilarious and always done without any malice. He was only 49 years old.

As I watched one of his more memorable imitations of Bush at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner – an annual fixture of Washington DC, during which there is well-intentioned fun made of the president and other public figures – one of the thoughts that passed my mind is that this sort of thing can only happen in the West. One cannot imagine that this would occur in most developing countries without the comedian facing serious repercussions. Perhaps it is a mark of the political maturity of a country when one can poke fun at its leaders without fear of retribution. Even in India with its very democratic traditions, it is difficult to imagine the prime minister or president participating in this sort of event. Of course, the likelihood of this occurring in countries with a more autocratic form of government is even more remote.

However, this posting is really not intended to be a commentary on the willingness of different countries to tolerate humor directed at its leaders but more a remembrance of a remarkable comedian who died prematurely and brought a lot of laughter with his impressions. One of the most memorable imitations he did was the one mentioned above at the Correspondents Dinner and it was done with the full cooperation of Bush. It is well worth watching …… and for those not familiar with some of the intricacies of US politics, there is a reference in the clip below to Dick Cheney and it has to do with the time when he accidentally shot a lawyer friend who went hunting with him.

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Less known is Bridges imitation of Barack Obama ….. it gives on a sense of how very talented an impressionist he was:

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And this was what Bridges really looked like without the make-up!

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One Response to “Steve Bridges: RIP”

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