June 20th, 2011
12:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Booted Obama impersonator defends performance at GOP gathering

(CNN) - The Obama impersonator who stole the show at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans this past weekend is speaking out against reports that he was yanked from the stage because of his controversial performance.

Comedian Reggie Brown told CNN's Kyra Phillips Monday that it was the length of his performance – not its content – that led organizers to escort him off of the stage, but acknowledged some of his jokes may have touched a nerve with the Republican crowd.

"I do believe that I was over my time by a few minutes," Brown said. "And I also believe that the material was starting to get to a point to where maybe they started to, you know, feel uncomfortable with where it was going. But I was just doing my thing."

The Obama look-alike began his performance with a series of often racially tinged jokes about the president, but it wasn't until he began going after some big-name Republicans, including several presidential candidates, that he was told his time was up.

Brown said organizers told him he would have 15 to 20 minutes to perform. But after 17 minutes and mid-way through a joke about newly declared presidential candidate Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, his mic was cut and he was led off the stage.

RLC President and CEO Charlie Davis said the performance had gone too far and was getting inappropriate.

"Had I been in the room I would have pulled him sooner. We have zero tolerance for racially insensitive jokes. As soon as I realized what was going on I rushed backstage and had him pulled," Davis told CNN.

But Brown insists he was told that his performance was cut short due to time restraints, and said several other speakers, including Texas Rep. Ron Paul, were also "kindly escorted off the stage."

Though Paul delivered one of the lengthier speeches, and ended his remarks quite abruptly, he was not escorted from the stage by organizers.

Brown also rebuffed the notion that the crowd was offended by his racial jokes about the president, and insisted organizers knew what to expect when they booked him.

"I didn't hear any boos on any of the racial jokes. The president, like myself, shares a mixed background, you know. My mother's white. My father's black. I feel very safe delivering content like that," Brown said.

"I wouldn't touch anything that I don't think the president would feel comfortable with or hasn't done himself. He is someone I respect. I want to make him happy, appreciate what I'm doing," Brown said.

And though his jokes may have fallen flat in New Orleans, Brown might just be the one with the last laugh. The comedian and impersonator said his phone has been ringing off the hook since his now-infamous performance.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    He finished 18 minutes of a 20 minute routine, so (oh yeah) they pulled him for time. NOT. Can't have the little boys and girls getting laughed at - that's only to be aimed at dems.

    June 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. mm

    I find it very hard to believe that the folks that hired him didn't know what he was like. He was making fun of both sides and I do think that what they didn't like was that he made fun of their side.

    June 20, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. HappyinVA

    His "act" went on for 15 minutes before he switched to telling jokes about Republicans... how convenient that Davis only happened to hear the 2 minutes of inappropriate jokes regarding Republicans. Please! Republicans can't possibly still wonder why a great deal of minorities don't support the GOP.

    June 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. GL

    Charlie Davis, who ran the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans last weekend, sends over a statement regarding the Obama impersonantor who made racially-tinged comments and mocked GOP presidential candidates.

    The RLC is designed to showcase the top Republican leaders and ideas in the country – to talk about limited government, fiscal responsibility and rebuilding the American economy.
    Had I been in the room I would have pulled him sooner. We have zero tolerance for racially insensitive jokes. As soon as I realized what was going on I rushed backstage and had him pulled.

    June 20, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. MARTY

    greg in arkansas, are you a bigot?

    June 20, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Stephen

    So the policy is "be as racist as you want just don't make fun of us".

    June 20, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Tom

    @New Age Independent – Did you actually read the article? There were no instances of liberals complaining about the Obama impersonator. He was performing at the Republican Leadership Conference when he was pulled off of the stage because they "have no tolerance for racially insensitive material." This is all good and well besides the fact that 3/4 of the room was probably bonafide racist and not joking.

    June 20, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. old bull

    What is important to recognize is that he didn't get pulled off the stage till he turned on the GOP hopefuls! Anything he said about President Obama was fair game when he started in on Cain and company he got the hook!

    June 20, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Thai

    To be fair I'm not black... but.. the joke about a half black guy celebrating half of Black History Month? Was that somehow offensive? It didn't seem wrong to me.

    June 20, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Blaqmajik

    New Age independent....Libs don't have a problem with an Obama impersonator, most don't care about the racial jokes, we have a problem with the right getting all bent out of shape when the punch line comes to them. I mean really, lets be honest, if he started going on Michele Bachmann, then the Obama jokes would have been nothing in comparasion. I mean just thinking of Michele Bachmann makes me laugh.

    June 20, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. James

    Why would the GOP book a comedian for this type of event, anyway? And to book a fake Obama to mock him is even more childish than I would normally expect from either party. But to pull the plug when the jokes turned against them is, ironically, laughable. A bunch of bully children who can dish it out on the playground but run crying for teacher when they are forced to take it in return. And we elected these ladies and gentlemen, so I suppose the joke is really on us.

    June 20, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Mikoid

    "...but it wasn't until he began going after some big-name Republicans, including several presidential candidates, that he was told his time was up." Sounds like it was all good fun until Mr. Brown started touching too close to home...

    June 20, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. dave

    Dear New AGe:

    did you read the article - the Republicans pulled the guy off the stage b/c he started to talk about Republicans

    June 20, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. catmom

    Excuse me but it was Republican leadership who thought the impersonator went to far, why would you come on here and blame Liberals? Oh and by the way, Sarah Pakin didn't find an issue with Tina Fey considering she appeared on SNL with her.

    June 20, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. bcrunner

    New Age Independent: We are not complaining about the Obama impersonator... But the right wing nuts were laughing their heads off as long as the jokes were on Obama. The moment he turned on the Republicans, they couldn't take it anymore...

    June 20, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Loon

    What Liberals complained? Why complain about something so obvious and expected. Conservatives love racial jokes.. the meaner the better.. but not jokes about their candidates.

    June 20, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Get house back in 2012

    It's not liberals but conservatives who are complaining about this guy after yanking him off the stage! New Age Indpendent, where do U get ur news? Let me guess Faux!!

    June 20, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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