A Trump for All Ages


Randy Nolen is a 66-year-old talent manager based in Indian Wells, Calif. He specializes in the meetings and conventions sector. His clients seek acts that can entertain, say, a thousand conference attendees who have nothing in common except that they work in the insurance industry.

Long ago, Mr. Nolen realized that everyone knows the president of the United States, and everyone likes to make fun of the boss. Thus, his bread and butter for the last 25 years has been booking and managing performers who portray the president. In the 1990s, he did well with a natural Bill Clinton look-alike named Tim Watters. In the 2000s, he hit it big with Steve Bridges, who used elaborate facial prosthetics to transform into a striking likeness of George W. Bush.

While the corporate clients want unique and memorable performers, they generally don’t want anything risqué or offensive.

That’s why the buzzword that guides Mr. Nolen is “respectful.” He encourages the entertainers he represents to “poke fun” at the president, in a clever but civil way.

“Our objective is to make people chuckle and say, ‘Gosh, that was fun,’” Mr. Nolen said. “We’re not political people. We’re not going to change any policy with this. We’re entertainers. Our job is to make everybody laugh, in a way that even the president and his family will like.”

A decade ago, Mr. Nolen achieved that with Mr. Bridges, who performed alongside Mr. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006, and also at a private birthday party at the White House. According to Mr. Nolen, George H.W. Bush approached Mr. Bridges after his show, saying, “Steve, I just want to thank you. Your material is so gracious.”