Episode 48- Ben Franklin Impersonator Brian Patrick Mulligan
We had the rare opportunity to record in-person recently in Philadelphia and, of course, in anticipation had to make sure we scheduled the perfect interview for the occasion. If you had the chance to interview one person in Philly who would it be? Although there were many contenders, truly the only choice had to be everyone’s favorite Founding Father- Benjamin Franklin. And would you believe it? We actually managed to score an interview with him in his home.
Brian Patrick Mulligan is known nationally as the premier Benjamin Franklin historic interpreter or impersonator. He’s been featured in national commercials, graced TV shows, been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live and recently had Questlove totally fan out on him at an event. We don’t tell you this to be name droppers. We tell you this to show that Luke and Heidi really did score a coup of an interview with him.
Brian began his journey as Benjamin Franklin in third grade following his first read of the classic tale Ben and Me. Over the years he pursued a career in acting and knew he had to incorporate Ben into his repertoire. He built his career on the West Coast and just recently relocated to the Philadelphia area.
His job involves extensive research into Ben’s interests, inventions, experiences and all those famous quotes. He gets to take a little historic license now and then and he finds himself entertaining everyone from school children to corporate holiday soirees. The material changes a bit depending on the audience, but he works to always remain true to Ben’s legacy. We talked to him about all things Ben from rumored lady friends in Paris to learning that he was an avid air bather. Not sure what that is? Have a listen to the episode and you’ll find out. We’re sure it’ll make you even more intrigued by Ben. We know everything we learned further solidified our own fandom of Mr. Franklin and of Brian.
When he’s not flying kites and reminding children that, “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned,” Brian spends time taking up the mantle of some other incredibly notable historical figures as part of his job. He’s regularly hired to portray Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. We were curious how he manages to keep all their quotes straight and which of their well-known garb he tends to wear. Sadly, for Luke, he doesn’t go for Winston’s onesie. We made a good case for him to add it to the wardrobe though.
He’s built an incredibly memorable career that began with transforming into Hollywood great Charlie Chaplin and expanded to Harpo Marx and beyond into a wealthy catalogue of fabulous figures. And yes, you absolutely can make a living and a career doing this kind of thing. Brian’s done it.
So next time you hear a little kid say they want to be Olivia Newton John when they grow up, oh wait, that was Heidi never mind. Next time you hear a child say they want to be Barack Obama when they grow up, don’t laugh it off. They may just end up changing the world of politics or at the very least they may be playing someone who does on TV.
For more information on Brian and his work or to book him for your events, commercials or films visit: http://benfranklinimpersonator.com