This weekend, Saturday Night Live regular Kenan Thompson did a Weekend Update bit as “Corey,” “the one black guy in every commercial.”Corey’s life consists playing drums at Venice Beach, DJing, and partying with “Hispanic girls with bangs and thrift-store outfits, and white guys who dance while wearing fedoras!”
He also notes, “This year I was in 14 commercials and I was also the one black guy in a college brochure!”
Photo: Jamison Reeves / YouTube
If any of this sounds familiar, or even looks familiar, that’s because it is. There is, in fact, an actor whose life is astonishingly like that lived by “Corey.”His name is Jamison Reeves, and prior to 2010 he did 14 commercials in one year, and has done more than 40 over his career. He told Adweek’s Barbara Lippert that he always gets booked as “a non-threatening entity“:
“I’m the quirky guy with the glasses. Not the guy who’s going to be in a fight. I seem like the type guys want to hang out with. I’m the one acceptable black friend.”
He’s done work for Bud Light, Time Warner, Honda and State Farm. Currently, his LinkedIn profile lists him as a session director at Mimi Webb Miller Casting, and he also coaches others on how to book commercials and other auditions.
The ad business is often accused of being racist, and Reeves’ career is in some ways the anecdotal proof: How else to explain why, with thousands of other black actors available for work, one man booked all that work with the same look and the same style?
Reeves told Adweek he’s also often the only black person on a shoot:
“Agency, client and crew all seem to be white. I am usually the only black person on set, or one of three, say, and I have PA’d for more than 100 commercials. There are so few people of colour working as copywriters, ADs, directors, DPs and producers that when I see one, it seems weird, but good.”
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