Blue River man makes Breck debut as President Bush
BRECKENRIDGE – Little by little, Brad Groll is making a name for himself – but that name is President George W. Bush.
The Blue River man, who many agree is a dead ringer for the country’s 43rd president, has been trying to land performance gigs since his banquet crew at Copper Mountain notified Channel 9 in Denver that they had a Bush look-alike at the resort. The station’s story was picked up by CNN and later, Groll received a call from a writer for the”Tonight Show with Jay Leno” who was interested in securing a George Bush impersonator for the late-night talk show.
Those aspirations were shot down after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but Groll kept working on his southern drawl and watching Bush on television to learn his mannerisms.
Groll provided the evening’s entertainment at a private conference for Farmer’s Insurance Group Sunday at the Village of Breck, where he, as the leader of the free world, reminded attendees they are in good hands – then cursing the “show’s writers” for putting Allstate Insurance’s motto in a speech to Farmer’s Insurance sales staff.
The look is easy. With a bit of makeup, Groll has stunned people with his physical similarity to Bush. The accent has been slower in coming. And the humor, which originally was softened after the terrorist attacks, is starting to emerge.
“Things are opening up quite a bit more,” he said. “You can take little stabs at Bush, at his family. It was too sensitive in September.”
To compile fodder, Groll watches the news. He’s enjoyed the recent shenanigans and sandbagging of corporate CEOs who stand accused of finagling the books. He told Farmer’s Insurance conference attendees he was passing through the area to see the wildfire damage and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak to them.
Accompanying him was two men from Eagle Access security firm, posing as Secret Service agents. Afterward, he and the two “agents” met with five children whose father had promised them a visit from the President.
“I was told they were doing well in school, so I was there to congratulate them,” Groll said. “Their eyes were like saucers. It was a great time.”
He’s fooled a lot of adults, as well.
Almost three months ago, Groll attended graduation ceremonies at Mile High Academy in Denver, where the principal is a hard-core Democrat, Groll said. He approached the podium as the band played Hail to the Chief; the principal was agog.
He’s performed at an Easter Seals fundraiser in Empire, a mystery dinner theater in Denver and will entertain at a ranch outside of Castle Rock next month, where he will be pitted against a Bill Clinton look-alike in “the debate you always wanted to see.”
Two months ago, he was asked to appear at a luncheon with Gov. Bill Owens.
“They kept me in a side room and his press secretary told me Gov. Owens wanted to meet me beforehand,” Groll said. “He came around the corner and he almost tripped when he saw me.”
He was introduced to the crowd as a surprise guest.
“There was a woman from the press sitting in the front, and her eyes were bugging out of her head,” Groll said. “She was crying hysterically. She thought she was right in front of the president. I couldn’t look at her or I would have just started cracking up.”
Groll might get to meet the man he’s been impersonating this fall when Bush is to come to Colorado to stump for U.S. Rep. Wayne Allard.
He hasn’t given up on the Tonight Show, either.
“The guy they have, the look isn’t the same,” Groll said. “He looks like a caricature. And I just recently realized I look like Bush. It’s scary.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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