Imitation is not sincerely flattering to Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), evidently.
The newly elected serial fabulist tweeted Monday evening that having "now been enshrined in late night TV history with all these impersonations," he would like to note that "they are all TERRIBLE so far." Santos specifically name-checked Saturday Night Live alumnus Jon Lovitz, saying he's "supposed to be one of the greatest comedians of all time" but his Santos impersonation "was embarrassing — for him not me!" He ended by suggesting comedians "step their game up."
Santos has a point about being hard to parody. His embellishments and outrageous lies are his own act, and he is very committed to the bit. Lovitz, who appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, went bigger and bolder — and threw in a song.
On Stephen Colbert's Late Show, Harvey Guillén was only slightly more subdued, but he looked the part — and brought props and costume changes.
Jimmy Kimmel Live's impersonation was the most realistic, as Kimmel chased a kleptomaniac, questions-dodging Santos (Nelson Franklin) through the halls of Congress.
SNL had its Santos impersonator, Bowen Yang, on twice, in the NFL cold open....
...and on "Weekend Update." Yang's Santos even had an explanation about why he appears Asian — a claim Santos has not yet made, as far as we know.
The full Oscar Wilde quote is: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness." Wilde borrowed that idea. Santos borrowed all his purported greatness from jobs he never had, history he never earned, people he never knew, and institutions he never attended. So maybe the better adage here is about people in glass houses not throwing stones.