Obama Impersonator Goes Too Far for GOP Leaders

Monday, Jun 20, 2011  |  Updated 6:43 AM CDT
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Local Obama Impersonator Making Waves

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Chicago's Reggie Brown has made a career as an Obama lookalike. But he's turning more heads than usual after his performance at the RLC.

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A Barack Obama impersonator and Chicago native is attracting attention of his own after he was kicked off the stage at the Republican Leadership Conference.

Reggie Brown was invited to appear at the conference Saturday in New Orleans, but event organizers stopped his performance midway after the crowd, and RLC leadership got uncomfortable with his jokes.

Scroll to the bottom of this story to watch Brown's entire RLC performance.

Brown's one-liners spared no one, Republican or Democrat. Afterward, RLC President Charlie Davis, who made the call to pull Brown, said he wasn't ready for Brown's kind of humor.

“I pulled him off the stage,” Davis told the Washington Post. “I just thought he had gone too far. He was funny the first 10 or 15 minutes, but it was inappropriate, it was getting ridiculous,”

NBC Chicago has profiled Brown in the past. He's a former member of the NBC Chicago Street Team, whose natural resemblance to Mr. Obama took him from waiting tables, to a career as an impersonator, just as the Democrat from Hyde Park was gaining national attention.

"A customer said, 'I can't get over it. You remind me of my professor from the University of Chicago,'" Brown said during a 2009 interview. "I checked him out on the Internet and thought, 'I don't look like this guy. He's got to be in his 40s."

At the start of his RLC performance on Saturday, Brown drew raucous applause from the GOP's supporters when he projected lewd photos of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Brown later played up the mass exodus of advisers to candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign and said Gingrich's supporters "are dropping faster than Anthony Weiner's pants."

The audience grew more uncomfortable when Brown turned to the candidates who are looking to make Obama a one-term president.

The impersonator took a shot at former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, saying Pawlenty missed the conference because "he's having his foot surgically removed from his mouth."

"Don't worry: it's covered under Obamneycare ... along with spinal transplants,'' Brown said.

The impersonator joked about Romney's Mormon faith and about polygamy, and Rep. Michele Bachmann's tea party support.

Organizers then cut off Brown's microphone and turned on music. A man came out and escorted him off the stage.

Brown told NBCChicago.com that the entire situation has been blown out of proportion, and that the reason his mic was cut off was because his time was up, similar to what happened to several other speakers during the program. He says he was invited to the after-party on Saturday, where he was warmly received and signed autographs for many of the Republican supporters there.

The jokes came a day after Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour urged Republicans not to be distracted from a message honed solely on jobs and the economy.

"If we let people in the Obama campaign take America's eye off the ball, then that's their only chance to win," Barbour said.

Brown opened his routine with jokes about Obama's biography as the son of a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya.

"My mother loved a black man and, no, she was not a Kardashian," Brown joked.

Brown also joked about rumors of the president's birthplace. Obama was born in Hawaii, "or as the tea partyers call it, Kenya," he said.

Brown highlighted photographs of past presidents such as George W. Bush at the beginning and end of their terms.

He showed a picture of George Washington at the start of his term and then projected an image of former first lady Barbara Bush as though it was the nation's first president as he left office.

Brown then projected a picture of Obama at the start of his term, followed by a picture of Fred Sanford of "Sanford and Son" and the character Aunt Esther, as if that's what the First Couple will look like when they leave office.

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