MOST COMEDIC IMPRESSIONISTS are little more than a rich set of pipes. Often found on cruise ships, in small-town casinos, and within the cast of Saturday Night Live, these comedians offer nostalgia and little else.  

James Adomian, however, is much more than a set of elastic vocal cords. The 30-year-old is a comedian first, and his act includes bits delivered in his own skin. And while his impressions are vast and shockingly accurate, Adomian has the mind of a writer. It is the jokes, after all, that must carry the day. And it all means nothing if someone sounds just like Al Pacino but all they can think to say is "hooooo-HAHH!"

Adomian made a name for himself during the mid-'00s with a devilish caricature of President George W. Bush that showcased a finely tuned wit and understanding of the character. When Bush left office, Adomian mostly retired the act. The remaining stable of characters is a testament to his eclectic and sharp sensibilities, running the gamut from wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan to writer Christopher Hitchens.

In or out of character, a subversive thread binds Adomian's work. He maligns the ruling class as a ponytail-wearing, Lamborghini-driving, recession-weary landlord and, in the form of a faux-drug commercial, unmercifully berates the softening of the Baby Boom Generation. Together, the many facets make Adomian a rare bird—an impressionist with something to say.