Jay Pharoah spent about 6 years cracking us up and slaying us with his dead-on impressions on Saturday Night Live.
Playing everyone from Jay-Z to President Barack Obama, Pharoah proved that his impressionist skill was unrivaled by any other living comedic actor, and then all of the sudden, without warning, he was gone.
At the time, no explanation was given as to why Jay and his fellow castmate Taran Killam, wouldn't be returning, and both men made it clear that actually... they didn't either.
Well now, in a recent radio interview, Jay Pharoah opened up about what happened, and he isn't pulling any punches.
Speaking about his time at the show, Pharoah said, "If you have multiple people on the cast saying things like ‘you’re so talented, you’re so able, they don’t use you and it’s unfair and it’s making us feel bad.' They put people into boxes. Whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do,” he added. “I’m a little fiery too…"
Jay went on to say that for the last year and a half that he was there the show pretty much threw in the towel on Obama sketches. He said, "I was like, ‘Just let me do my character and we’ll be fine.’ [They] didn’t want to do that."
In addition to all this, Pharoah also revealed that he grew exhausted of being stuck in the "impression box" on the show, since the majority of his skits involved him being someone else, like a celebrity.
This particular grievance feels fair because if you think back you'll recall, Pharoah never lead a sketch as just a funny guy. He was always portraying someone else, which probably does get old after awhile.
Later in the interview, Pharoah recalled that "They [SNL] were ready to get rid of me in 2013, in September, when I spoke up. When I said what I said, and it got on The Grio, and it went viral, I almost freaking lost my job."
The statement that got Jay in trouble was when accusations of a lack of diversity came up against SNL and Pharoah publicly said that the producers need to "pay attention."
Dedicated to my Uncle and Friend Charlie Murphy the Charlie Impression is better than the Eddie in this R.I.P... https://t.co/kBVI9O4tLY— Jay Pharoah (@JayPharoah) April 13, 2017
Regarding legendary SNL producer Lorne Michaels, and their relationship, Pharoah said, "A lot of people are scared of Lorne. I respect the hell out of him, but if I want to talk to you, I’ll go up to you, ‘Hey man, this is what I’m feeling.’"
While his time on SNL came to an untimely end, Pharoah has been doing pretty good since. He's been able to spend more time cultivating his stand-up routines, and he even voiced a character in the massively successful animated film Sing.
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