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'SNL' Will Finally Let Jay Pharoah Do That Thing He Does Really Well

By / 09.13.12

Here are some things that are long overdue:

  • A restaurant that lets you call in a breakfast order the night before and then delivers it in the morning at a specified time so it serves as both a meal and a wake-up call.
  • Jay Pharoah replacing Fred Armisen in the role of Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live.
  • A rapper who goes by the name Gats B titling his debut album ‘The Great Gats B.’

Luckily, beginning this Saturday, at least one of those things can get crossed off. Saturday Night Live Grand Poobah Lorne Michaels announced in an interview with the New York Times yesterday that Pharoah will be taking over the role of the president for the upcoming season.

Fred Armisen has been the show’s President Obama since 2008, but Mr. Michaels said he would be relying on Jay Pharoah, who joined the cast in 2010.

“Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer, and Jay is coming into his own,” Mr. Michaels said. “I just thought it might be time to shake it up.”

Mr. Armisen will still have an enormous amount to do, Mr. Michaels said, describing that 10-year player as “the backbone of the show now.” [NY Times]

I get that you don’t want to bring in a brand new cast member and throw him to the wolves right away by having him portray the most powerful person in the world, but, yeah, the trigger probably should have been pulled on this one a while ago. Even if it’s not a perfect solution, there was always something that made my skin crawl a little about a high-profile, influential comedy show having a white guy put on makeup and pretend to be the country’s first black president, especially when there was a black dude who also did the impression standing just off-camera. I know the show has a bit of a history with playing fast and loose with political impressions (see, Dan Aykroyd refusing to shave his mustache while playing Jimmy Carter), but this one just feels right, and I’m glad it’s finally settled.

NOTE: I’m serious about that breakfast delivery thing btw.


TAGSFRED ARMISENJAY PHAROAHLORNE MICHAELSsaturday night live

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