Reggie Brown, a Chicago-based comedian who impersonates President Obama, was hired to perform at the Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday. But after delivering a string of racially themed jokes and mocking Republican presidential candidates, he was removed from stage.
Brown, whose act included a fake Secret Service detail, took the stage as the Bruce Springsteen song “Born in the USA” played in the background, in a reference to the birther controversy. He then told a series of jokes meant to poke fun at Obama’s family history. Brown said that he was born in Hawaii “or as the Tea Partiers like to call it, Kenya.”
He said that First Lady Michelle Obama enjoys celebrating Black History Month throughout February, but “I celebrate half.” Brown also said that his mother loved a Black man, but “she was not a Kardashian.”
The impersonator showed a photograph of the president and his wife when he took office and then showed a photo of what the Obamas will look like when the president leaves office that depicted the characters Fred Sanford and his sister-in-law Ethel, from the sitcom Sanford and Son.
Being an equal-opportunity offender, Brown also took aim at some of the Republican presidential contenders. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who skipped the event, didn’t come, Brown said, because he was “having his foot surgically removed from his mouth.” The comedian was referring to Pawlenty’s reluctance to challenge former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in person on the healthcare plan he signed into law while in office, during last week’s GOP debate after previously coining a phrase to link his opponent to the president’s health care reform legislation.
“Don’t worry. It’s covered under Obamneycare,” Brown said. “Along with spinal transplants.”
Brown also targeted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign, which has been troubled almost from the start, experienced a recent staffer mutiny. Gingrich’s supporters, the comedian said, “are dropping faster than Anthony Weiner’s pants.”
Brown performed a day after both Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal urged Republicans to focus their remarks on economic—not personal issues—when criticizing the president.
Doug Heye, a strategist and former communications director for the Republican National Committee, lamented on Twitter the fact that the Louisiana Republican Party had hired Brown.
“Wonder why so many minorities have problems with GOP?” he wrote. “Hiring Obama impersonator to tell ‘black jokes’ at SRLC for starters. Our own fault.”