Eric Jackman is a normal guy. He works for customer service at a car dealership in Southern New Hampshire, he is as much of a die-hard Bruins fan as the next guy, he has cookouts in February for him and his friends, and he loves to talk politics. But what sets him apart from the usual political junky is that, instead of only talking about politics over the family dinner table or at work, he has crafted his love for the great circus we call American politics into something unique: a Donald Trump impersonation.
You may have seen him getting the attention of the Republican front-runner during the New Hampshire primary season, or you may have checked out his video on YouTube, titled Trump Cabinet Announcement, which has over 3,000 views, or you may have seen him in the flesh, on stage with his one-man show full of material poking fun at the famed real estate mogul. But what you may not know is that, for Jackman, Celebrity impressions, including that of “The Donald,” are no new thing.
“I’ve been doing impressions all my life, with my twin brother, Mike,” says Jackman. “I guess it’s just something we’ve always been into. When we hear about interesting people, from any walk of life, people that we are fascinated by, and that we like, we usually get an impression of them going,” he continues. “The Donald Trump impersonation started 10 years ago, when he started the feud he has with Rosie O’Donnell, and when I started getting publicity for this Trump stuff, I called my mom and reminded her of all the times she told me to stop doing that impersonation at family holiday parties and such. And when he announced he was running for President, all I could think was ‘Oh my God, this is perfect. We are going to have the best comedic material for political satire ever!’”
So, it’s not a new development in Jackman’s arsenal of impressions, but what is new for him is actually being the character, and putting it all out there for everyone to see, and the reception he has received from itunlike anything he’s ever experienced.
“Honestly, I’m still shaking my head at it. I can’t believe it’s real” he says. A little over a month ago, I was crazy enough to go out in public dressed as Trump. I went to a big rally he did in Milford, New Hampshire at Hampshire Hills Sports Complex, and I felt comfortable enough that I could do the impression on my toes, and I had all of his talking points memorized, his rhetoric, so I just infused current events and comedy into that, and I’m just blown away by the reception,” Jackman continued. “At that rally, I posed for, like, a hundred selfies, a half a dozen people interviewed me afterwards, and really, my original goal was only to gain attention and hand out cards to advertise my podcast, Jackman Radio.”
“It was part performance art too, just to go out there and do live street art in a huge setting like that. It allows for a very organic response, and then people realize that it’s satire and not in admiration, or that I would take a bullet for the guy or anything. It’s actually the complete opposite.”
As stated, there is no love lost towards Trump for the Jaffrey, a New Hampshire resident. But, as with anything, there is a “pros and cons” list when it comes to Trump.
“Part of me is fascinated by him,” admits Jackman. “How he’s a real estate mogul, and how he got his start because of who his father was, and also because of how crass he is, and how he doesn’t pull any punches with anything,” he continued. “But when I go to rallies, a lot of people ask me how I really feel about him, and I hammer the point home that I would hate to be an immigrant in the United States right now who is either Muslim, Hispanic, or a person of color. If I had Trump in front of me, and I could tell him something to his face, it would be how he has created the environment for hostility towards immigrants, and against people who aren’t white, and playing up on people’s fears, and playing up the inflated fear of terrorism. It’s horrifying, and I’m disgusted that he’s created that type of environment.”
“Another thing that I have to hand to Trump is that he is taking on the Bush criminal enterprise, and the Clinton criminal enterprise, and he has the money and the power and the media to do that,” said Jackman. “Dynastic politics are toxic, or as Trump would say, they’re ‘disgusting’, and that’s what conflicts me about Trump,” he continued. “When he called out Jeb Bush about his brother not keeping us safe, and how 9/11 happened on [the Bush administration’s] watch, I started cheering.”
And while he has new-found fame with this Trump dramatization, Jackman doesn’t let that cloud what he, the normal guy who is working towards his Master’s Degree in Education from Franklin Pierce University, feels about the dominating social issues that have plagued the country, and New England specifically.
“For me, these are important issues. Going back to Iraq and the war that he Bush’s cooked up, we have a large segment of millennial veterans who are homeless, who are battling drug addiction, and the suicide rate is through the roof, and that’s all connected to these wars we cook up and get going. Our foreign policy and domestic policy are connected in that way,” says Jackman. “I think, if we’re going to appropriate money to send them over to these bullshit wars that are based on lies and profit for a small group of people, then there should be money and resources available to them without any questions asked,” he continues. “Do you deliver that through a private system, or a public system, or through a mix of the two? I don’t really know, but something has to be done, and we need to vigilant on that.”
Jackman is frustrated, and he sees the hypocrisy and self-interest playing a huge part in the inaction of elected officials that has contributed to the continued rise in homelessness and poverty.
“Outside of the veteran homelessness, we have people who are out on the streets in the winter, and it always irks me that there always seems to be a lack of beds and shelter, and resources to help homeless people, but there has never been a lack of bombs to drop on other human beings 8,000 miles away,” says Jackman. “Where’s the disconnect between those two things? There’s endless appropriations and endless money and resources to kill, and bomb, to invade other countries and take their resources, but we want to have a few bucks to help people who are down and out, and then it’s ‘how dare you!!’,” he continues.
“Obviously when you see someone that’s unemployed or homeless, they don’t want to be in that position, [contrary to what] a lot of people assume. They feel that they like being homeless and unemployed, and I really feel that this could not be farther from the truth. I also think that removing stigma is a big step,” says Jackman. “At a basic level, it’s all about empathy, taking care of your fellow man, and understanding that circumstances change [in a blink of an eye]. Luckily, I have a strong foundation of friends and family who, I would hope, wouldn’t let me go homeless if I wound up unemployed or injured and unable to work. But we have to realize that some people don’t have that, and it’s up to us to help them.”
Eric runs a podcast called Jackman Radio, and is currently working on bringing his one-man Trump show to stages all around New England.