Reggie Brown (impersonator)

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Reggie Brown
Actor & Comedian Reggie Brown.jpg
Reggie Brown, Barack Obama look-alike
Birth nameReginald Dennis Odell II
Born (1980-09-28) September 28, 1980 (age 38)
Maywood, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Mediumimpersonation, comedy
Subject(s)politics, popular culture

Reginald D. "Reggie" Brown (born September 28, 1980) is an American comedic impersonator and look-alike of former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Reggie Brown is best known for the controversy surrounding his performance at the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference,[1] his occasional television appearances, and his activity on YouTube.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Brown is a native of Chicago, and was born Reginald Dennis Odell II in Maywood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.[2] Like President Obama, Brown was born to a white mother and black father.[3] When Brown was five years old, his father left his mother to raise Reggie and his older brother Lawrence on her own. When Brown was 9, his mother married his step father, Lawrence Brown. A year later his step father was diagnosed with Leukemia and began a 3-year battle with the disease. At the age of 13, his step father died, leaving Brown and his siblings to be raised by a single mother.[4]

Brown attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign before dropping out of college to pursue a career in modeling. He also had a snake in college.[4] After joining Ford Model Management, he enrolled at The Acting Studios Chicago to take voice and acting classes.[5]


Local reporter[edit]

From 2006 to 2008, Brown worked as a blogger for WMAQ-TV's Street Team, where he covered local events. On September 9, 2008 Brown won an Emmy for 'Outstanding Achievement for Alternate Media/ New Media Interactivity' for his contributions to the coverage of Looptopia Live as part of the Street Team from the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts And Sciences.[6]

Obama impersonator[edit]

Brown claims that he first learned of his resemblance to President Obama at the age of 21, when Obama was still an Illinois state legislator.[4] Brown's career as a professional impersonator was launched by a series of appearances on Fox Business Network, starting with a mock debate against Representative Ron Paul on Stossel.[7] Brown subsequently appeared on Stossel for similar mock debates with Governor Gary Johnson[8] and Herman Cain.[9]

2011 Republican Leadership Conference controversy[edit]

Brown's controversial 2011 Republican Leadership Conference performance being ended early by Conference Chairman Charlie Davis amid allegations of racism

Brown was the subject of a national controversy in June 2011 when, during a nationally televised performance by Brown at the Republican Leadership Conference, he was cut off mid-sentence by Conference Chairman Charlie Davis.[1] Davis told CNN that he ended Brown's performance because the Conference has a "zero tolerance [policy] for racially insensitive jokes."[10] At first, Brown disputed the factual basis of Davis' statement, claiming that the performance was ended because Brown "was over [his] time by a few minutes."[11] Later, Brown responded to the allegations of racism by stating that he "didn't hear any boos on any of the racial jokes" and that he felt "very safe delivering content like that" because he and the President are of a similar mixed racial background.[10] "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," said Brown.[10]

In the aftermath of the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference incident, Brown was invited by comedian Bill Maher to finish his act on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.[12]

YouTube activity[edit]

Brown appeared in a viral YouTube parody of Psy's hit song Gangnam Style, entitled Obama Gangnam Style![13] The video received over 100 million views all over the world including over 30 million views from Twitter users in China, who reportedly believed that the real President Obama was responsible for the video.[14] He also impersonated Obama in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,[15] and in the 2016 U.S. presidential election he debuted a cross between Obama and Donald Trump, speaking popular Trump quotes, on CollegeHumor.[16] He gave a similar performance in 2017 on Real Time with Bill Maher in a segment called "New Rule: What If Obama Said It?".[17]


Year Title Role Notes
2008 The Obama Effect Barack Obama
2010 Hannah Montana Barack Obama
Huckabee Barack Obama 4 episodes
Lopez Tonight Barack Obama
Piscopo After Dark Barack Obama
2011 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Barack Obama
Real Time with Bill Maher Barack Obama
Stossel Barack Obama 3 episodes
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Barack Obama
Workaholics Barack Obama
WWE Capitol Punishment Barack Obama
Mr. Bam Redistributes Your Wealth Mr. Bam
2012 Real Time with Bill Maher Barack Obama 2 episodes
Huckabee Barack Obama 10 episodes
2013 Funny Or Die Drake 1 episode
Goodbye World President Barack Obama Movie
Austin & Ally President 1 episode
2014 I Didn't Do It (TV series) Barack Obama 1 episode
Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn Barack Obama 1 episode
2016 Barbershop: The Next Cut Barack Obama Film
2017 War Machine (film) Barack Obama Film
2017 Real Time with Bill Maher Barack Obama 1 Episode

Personal life[edit]

Brown currently resides in Los Angeles, California.[4] When asked about his political affiliation by NewsOne, Brown refused to comment as to whether he is a Democrat or Republican, noting that he is simply an "entertainer."[5]


  1. ^ a b Belenky, Alexander (June 20, 2011). "Reggie Brown, Obama Impersonator, Defends Performance At Republican Leadership Conference". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Reggie (c. 2012). "About Reggie". Reggie Brown. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Weiner, Rachel (June 20, 2011). "Obama impersonator surprised by backlash". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Manker, Rob (June 20, 2011). "Obama impersonator: A role I was born to play". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Gaynor, Gerren Keith (June 21, 2011). "Obama Impersonator: My Political Affiliation is "Entertainer"". NewsOne. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  6. ^ "About". NBC Chicago Street Team. c. 2006. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  7. ^ Pierce, Tony (April 29, 2011). "Ron Paul debates fake Obama on Fox Business". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Tanabe, Karin (June 10, 2011). "Gary Johnson debates 'Obama'". Politico. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Stossel, John (July 14, 2011). "Herman Cain Debates President Obama". Fox Business Network. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Harding, Alison (June 20, 2011). "Booted Obama impersonator defends performance at GOP gathering". CNN. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "Obama impersonator finds Republicans a tough crowd". Sun-Times Media, LLC. June 19, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  12. ^ Martel, Frances (June 25, 2011). "Bill Maher Invites Obama Impersonator Reggie Brown To Finish Controversial Act". Mediaite. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  13. ^ Brown, Reggie. "Obama Gangnam Style!". YouTube. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Minter, Adam (October 31, 2012). "Chinese Tweeters Dig Obama's Gangnam Style". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  15. ^ Brown, Reggie. "President Obama Accepts The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge". YouTube. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  16. ^ "If Barack Obama Were Donald Trump (with Reggie Brown)". YouTube. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  17. ^ Moran, Lee. "Fake Barack Obama Reads Real Donald Trump Quotes To Expose GOP Hypocrisy". Huffington Post. Retrieved 6 August 2017.

External links[edit]