While Saturday Night Live is reportedly sticking with white comedian Fred Armisen as its Obama, YouTubers are rallying behind an unknown actor who goes by the name of Alphacat as their fauxbama of choice. One of his videos, the “president-elect” singing a parody of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” has racked up 1.4 million views. Alphacat has also won the admiration of one of the most vocal boosters of the real Obama: the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan, who judged his impression as “better than Fred Armisen” on his Daily Dish blog.
Alphacat’s real name is Iman Crosson, a 26-year-old Dayton, Ohio, native and dance major who started perfecting his Obama impression while working as a waiter in Manhattan. He recently moved to Los Angeles to stake out a career in Hollywood. “People told me I looked like Obama because I was the only light-skinned black guy at work,” Crosson told us in a telephone interview.
So what’s the secret to mastering the president-elect? “It’s all in the speech patterns and vocal cadences, and a whole lot of uhhs. I’ve learned to lower my register a little bit. He’s very pensive. He puts a lot of thought in what he’s about to say. Sometimes, he’ll highlight a word in a sentence. He might reiterate a word under his breath.”
Says Crosson: “One thing that has been important to me is to make it funny without making it profane or obscene. My ultimate hope is that Obama will see it one day and laugh.”
So far, he says he’s gotten a lot of offers from agents but no calls yet from SNL. He just posted his latest video, which has “Obama” interviewing possible Cabinet members, such as Ludacris and Ray Charles (also played by Crosson).