During Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Molly Erdman sat glued to her television screen to glean a more informed understanding of the Democratic candidates’ views on gun control and social media—and also to source new material for her viral online act.
The Los Angeles-based actor runs the “Warren Unfiltered” account on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, where she says pays homage to her longtime political hero, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with uncanny impersonations of the presidential hopeful.
Her most popular video to date, “Returning a Library Book as Elizabeth Warren,” is 14 seconds of hilarity featuring her simply running passionately (and quickly, à la Warren) to return a library book. The short is spot-on, and it’s already been viewed 3 million times.
The Chicago Second City alum’s first Warren impression dates back to 2012, when she declared her intention to run for the election in Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate. Erdman’s friend saw a facial similarity between the two, and told her she could pull it off. Together, they made a parody video of Warren’s candidacy announcement.”When she entered the spotlight again as a presidential candidate,” says Erdman, “it seemed like an appropriate time to dust off the glasses and start making videos again.”
Erdman says the thing she loves most about Warren is also what makes her so easy to impersonate: “I tap into her passion and the frustration and outrage that’s often simmering under the surface,” she says. “I don’t worry too much about getting her voice exactly right or anything like that. To me, it’s more about capturing the essence of her personality, energy, and body language.”
“And, of course,” adds Erdman, “I always make sure to wear a brightly colored cardigan.” She pairs the cardigans with a Warren-esque blonde wig and clear glasses.
Erdman has uploaded videos of herself as Warren doing everything from calling donors to getting beers with constituents and taking selfies at Comic Con.
“They’re just silly and fun videos that require virtually no planning at all and those also tend to get the most views I think, in part, because people don’t know if the videos are pro or anti Warren,” she says. “There are pro Warren people sharing them, admiring her energy and saying how much they love her, and simultaneously people who don’t like her share them thinking I’m making fun of her.”
Erdman clarifies: “I’m not! Or, maybe a little, but with heart!”
As of now, Erdman says, she hopes Warren wins the nomination. “I believe in her message and ideas, and I love how hard she works to make connections with so many types of people,” she says. “It’s beyond time to have a woman in the White House. Plus, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want her to be president so I can keep playing her.”