"Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate!" comes to the Boulder Theater on Saturday.
"Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate!" comes to the Boulder Theater on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

If you go

What: Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate!

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder

Cost: $20-$25

More info: bouldertheater.com

While discussing wigs, hairspray and politics on Monday with comedians James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik over the phone, Adomian announced that the pair made Variety magazine's 10 Comics to Watch in 2016, literally "just an hour ago."

"We did?" Atamanuik asked, laughing. "Well, that's fantastic."

That is fantastic. The honor has been bestowed upon the likes of Amy Schumer, Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis and Patton Oswalt.

So who are these guys?

The comedic actors — who met through the renowned improv group Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City (alumni includes Amy Poehler and Adam McKay) — took their political spoof "Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate!" to the road nine months ago and can hardly catch their collective breath.

Donning wigs and pitch-perfect imitations, the parody has rapidly picked up steam and will make a tour stop at the Boulder Theater on Saturday night.

"We did a Trump vs. Bernie sketch ... as a fluke to see if it'd be fun," said Adomian, who lives in Los Angeles. "And then it turned into all this."


"All this" includes two TV specials, a second leg to the popular national tour (now including international stops) and their critically acclaimed portrayal of two men who are at the top of America's political show.

"It's been every possible confusion, or misguided decision that we've been steering through stormy water," said Atamanuik, who lives in New York and largely works as an improv and sketch comedy actor for the Upright Citizens Brigade. He's also known for parts on "30 Rock" and "Broad City."

"Part of the chaos was fueled by the fact that nobody knew if Bernie and Trump were going to stay in the race," said Adomian, known for standup, podcasts and "Comedy Bang! Bang!" appearances.

Both comedians said they are avid Sanders supporters, and their pairing became obvious after they were separately spoofing the politicians. The cheeky and sometimes crass faux debate comes compete with plenty of improv, they said.

"We get deep into political issues, while at the same time keeping it very funny and insane," said Adomian, who has been portraying Sanders before Sanders was "cool." ("It's sort of taken over my whole life.")

"We both do what we wish Trump or Bernie would say — or what they might as well be saying," Adomian said.

But since Hillary Clinton claimed the nomination after Tuesday's primaries in California, what happens next?

They said they'd still ride it through as long as the process plays out.

"I feel like it had enough sustaining power that the idea — especially when they said they wanted to debate each other — fixed itself as a possible alternate reality," Atamanuik said.

Plus, the comedy doesn't only come from characters and points of view, Atamanuik said.

"We're making fun of the political and media landscape," he said, "and we're using those characters as vessels."

As Adomian is both endorsing and lampooning "somebody that I admire a lot." Atamanuik sits just on the other side of the fence.

"It is getting harder and harder" portraying someone who is "overtly racist," Atamanuik said, noting recent remarks Trump made about a federal judge's bias due to his Mexican heritage. "I'm glad that there's an expiration date, in a way, because I feel like there will be a point at which doing him will no longer even be funny. It'll just be frightening."

But back to the wigs.

Adomian has cycled through various iterations of white, frayed Sanders-esque hairpieces, while Atamanuik uses his "tour wig" — one he wore while portraying Trump on a Comedy Central online show after his first Trump wig lost its color.

But no hairspray harmed Mother Earth in the making of this. Wigs can be "molded" with warm water, Atamanuik said. Who knew?

"The wig world is a weird world," Atamanuik said.

So is the political world. At least these guys are on the right laugh track.

Christy Fantz: 303-473-1107, fantzc@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/fantzypants