Ever wanted to invite the president to your dinner party? He’s a pretty busy guy so chances are Mr. Obama would have to politely decline the offer, but that doesn’t mean you need to cancel the party. Just call up President Obama Impersonator Michael Bryant, aka Barack-alike (San Francisco, CA) and watch as each and every one of your guests get the shock of a lifetime.
Not only is Michael a dead ringer for President Obama, but he has also perfected the president’s speech patterns, gestures and sense of humor. This goes far beyond a President Obama impression you’d see on Saturday Night Live. This is the real thing, or, as real as you are going to get.
Michael first began impersonating President Obama professionally in early 2009 after much encouragement from the public. “I found it difficult to move around (even in disguise with a cap and sunglasses) without someone wanting to take a photograph or telling me how much I look like President Obama. That is when I decided that I was going to either have reconstructive surgery to alter my appearance or impersonate him.”
Luckily Michael chose to stay away from the operator’s table and instead embraced the resemblance.
It’s not every day that you meet a presidential impersonator of Michael’s caliber, so we thought we would ask him a few questions to learn what it is like to impersonate the most important man in the world. Michael was kind enough to indulge us and gave us some intelligent and democratic answers.
Before he became president and you began impersonating him, were you aware of Mr. Obama’s career?
Residing in California, I was not aware of Barack Obama’s career prior to watching him deliver a rousing and inspirational speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
How did you discover your likeness?
In 2006 there was a Wal-Mart employee who would often tell my wife and I that if then Senator Barack Obama were to run for president, that I would have to go into hiding. On retrospect how right he was.
Were you doing any impressions before you became aware of Mr. Obama?
Most of the impressions I did prior to becoming aware of Mr. Obama were of family, friends and acquaintances. I was considered the family jokester and would often impersonate people so well that is was not necessary for me to identify the person I was impersonating.
What does it take to be a successful impersonator?
To be a successful impersonator requires practice, preparation, marketing and networking. A successful impersonator must be flexible and willing to improvise when the unexpected occurs. A successful impersonator is an ever evolving student of the character that they impersonate.
As the president’s popularity has gone up and down, has your demand changed accordingly? Or have you been able to find steady work throughout his entire term?
That is a very good question and one that I often contemplate. In 2010 when the President’s popularity ratings were similar to where they are now, I fielded more corporate inquires. The level of individual’s inquiring or hiring me has been consistent.
Gigs and gig offers tend to come in waves. Gig inquires are heavy at times and lighter in volume in others. Gig offers that I deem inappropriate are declined. Finding steady work as an impersonator is not as consistent as a permanent job.
I read on your bio that you are an electron microscopist. I have no idea what that is but it sounds impressive. How do you find time to balance your two careers?
An electron microscopist operates a high resolution (magnifying) microscope that uses high voltage and focused electrons (instead of photons or regular light) to view a subject/sample. I use electron microscopy to do material characterizations (identify and quantify) of subjects as well as take electron micrographs (photographs) for various reasons i.e. structural analysis, failure analysis, subject identification and identifying manufacturing defects.
As a freelance electron microscopist, I am an independent contractor. My independent status gives me the flexibility to balance both careers.
Have you done any particularly memorable gigs that you’d like to share with us?
One of the more memorable gigs I’ve done was introducing a key note speaker and welcoming attendees to Microsoft Corporation’s annual conference in Washington D.C. on the same stage that former President Bill Clinton had occupied several hours earlier. The sponsor was so pleased that they decided to also hire me to co-host a private party for Microsoft’s foreign partners and dignitaries the following evening at a posh restaurant on the Potomac in Georgetown.
Anything else you would like to share with our audience?
It is an honor and a privilege to impersonate the President of the United States. There is a certain level of respect and decorum due to the office of the President. My impersonations of President Obama are done in a dignified, respectful and entertaining manner only. I will not accept work that demonizes or misrepresents President Obama.
Have a look at President Obama Impersonator Barack-alike’s Profile and start planning that dinner party.