Monday, June 20, 2011

Obama Impersonator's Controversial Performance Halted

Reggie Brown makes a living doing a comic impression of President Obama. But, this weekend he was yanked off stage during a controversial performance at a Republican Leadership Conference event held in New Orleans. Brown was told he had up to 20 minutes to tell jokes, many of which were racial jokes about the president. But, when Brown began to tell jokes about the latest group of Republican candidates for president he was yanked off the stage by RLC President and CEO, Charlie Davis during a joke about Michele Bachmann.

Today, both Brown and Davis are offering different accounts of the event. Brown claims that his routine is pretty standard for every show he performs, and event organizers should have been aware that he tells racial jokes about the president. On his website, for example, much of his routine is explained. But, Davis has tried to defend hiring Brown to CNN today, claiming that there is "zero tolerance" for racial humor at the conservative political event. But, Brown claims that none of his racial barbs about the president were booed at the event hosted in the deep South. Brown's act only seemed to be cut short by the event organizers when he joked about the candidates for president, which might have angered a few of their partisan supporters.

During every presidency, impersonators can make a pretty good living doing comedy about a president. Rich Little and David Fry did great impersonations of Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton was a popular target of jokes, especially during his sex scandal. And George Bush was a target of comics for flubbing-up the English language. But, the controversy surrounding Brown takes up a whole new argument because so much of the humor appeared to racial rather genuine political humor.

Is Brown the bad guy here, or those that hired him? It seems like there was no winner here in this debate reported on CNN. What was supposed to be light, fun entainment yesterday, is leading to a lot of fingering pointing today.


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