Jay Pharoah Bio, Family, Obama, SNL, Movies, Interview

Jay Pharoah Biography

Jay Pharoah born Jared Antonio Farrow  is an American actor, stand-up comedian, great impressionist and rapper. He is known for his popular impression of Barack Obama, as this impression made him attract public attention and growth in popularity. 

He Joined NBC’s cast of  Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) 36th season in 2010 and in 2015, he was ranked 55th greatest SNL member by Rolling Stone Magazine.


He was born on October 14, 1987 in Chesapeake, Virginia, U.S. He is 35 years old as of 2022.

Jay Pharoah Family

The names of his parents have not been disclosed yet but his sister’s name is Shaina and his sister is his manager. He was born prematurely with a twin brother who died at birth.

Jay Pharoah Wife

He is not married. However, there were rumours that he had hooked up with Kat Graham, an American actress in 2015.

Jay Pharoah Education

He attended Indian River High School in Chesapeake and graduated in 2005. He then went to Tidewater Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University to study business.


He began doing impersonations at the age of 6, his first voice being Gilbert Gottfried’ character in Alladin, Lago. Since he was 15, he has been performing in community theatres and comedy clubs in Virginia.

He became known for his performances especially that of Barack Obama as well as Ben Carson, Kanye West, Jay-Z,  Stephen A. Smith, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Michael Strahan, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and Denzel Washington.

In early 2010, he appeared in series of segments that aired on 106 & Park in promotion for the 20101 BET Awards. In year 2010 with Saturday Night Live for their 36th season.

His performance of the season was so impressive that he was regarded as the “breakout player” of the season. In the 38th season, he made his debut with the SNL.

He gained so much popularity from this debut that he was cast as the cover of many popular magazines. One of the popular magazine was Rolling Stone which first cast him on their cover magazine for his huge success.

In 2012, he appeared in the film Ride Along, Balls Out and many more. He again worked with SNL in 2016 for doing a TV commercial and he was offered to do the TV commercial Old Navy along with Cecily Strong and Nasim Pedrad.

He is a talented host ah he has hosted several events on TV screen leading to his huge popularity as an actor. Among the shows he has hosted, he hosted the American Music Awards along with Gigi Hadid, a famous TV personality.

He has his website, click here to meet him.

Jay Pharoah Movies and TV Shows

Film and Television

  • Saturday Night Live (2010–2016)
  • Lola Versus (2012)
  • Ride Along (2014)
  • Balls Out (2014)
  • Top Five (2014)
  • Can I Be Me? (2015)
  • Get a Job (2016)
  • Sing (2016) – Meena’s Grandfather (voice)
  • Match Game (2017)
  • White Famous (2017)
  • Family Guy (2017) – Kanye Canes (voice, “Don’t Be a Dickens on Christmas”)
  • Unsane (2018)
  • Family Guy (2018) – Kanye West (voice, “Married… with Cancer”)

Impressions | Jay Pharoah Show

Jay Pharoah Show | Impressions Snl | Saturday Night Live

He was hired by SNL (Saturday Night Live) in 2010 as a featured player for the show’s 36th season. He was 22 years by then and he was the first African-American cast member to appear on the series since Keenan Thompson joined in 2003.

Jay  made the show debut on the show in September 25, 2010. His performance was so impressive that he was regarded as the “breakout player of the season.

That season he made impersonations of Barack Obama, Ben Carson, Kanye West, Jay-Z,  Stephen A. Smith, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Michael Strahan, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and Denzel Washington.

He appeared as Barack Obama for the first time, inheriting the position from veteran cast member Fred Armisen. He also performed impressions of Lil Wayne, Samuel Jackson and Dennis Rodman.

Jay Pharoah Stand Up

Jay Pharoah Can I Be Me

Taran Killam And Jay Pharoah | Jay Pharoah Leaving Snl

It was announced In August that veteran cast members Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah would not be returning to “Saturday Night Live” for its 42nd season, even though they had a year left on their contracts. No exact reason was revealed for their departure other than that their contracts would not be renewed.

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Jay Pharoah Ben Carson | Jay Pharoah As Ben Carson

Black Comedians

Jay Pharoah Comedian Impressions | Jay Pharoah Barack Obama

Impressions On Saturday Night Live

Jay Pharoah Stand Up Full


Jay Pharoah Interview

Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah Cracks the Obama Code

Source: nycgo.com

How’s the premiere coming along? Are you in for a late night?Jay Pharoah: I’m always here for a late night. I’ll be here until six o’clock in the morning.

In that spirit, can you walk us through your typical week as you prepare for the show?JP: On Monday, we have pitch, which is everybody coming up with ideas to talk to the host about. Then Tuesday is writing night. Wednesday we have read-through, Thursday and Friday are rehearsal. And then Saturday we have run-through, dress rehearsal and then the show.

There’s been a big cast turnover going into this season. Do you feel like this is your chance to put your stamp on the show? What are you looking to do differently?JP: I’m looking to collaborate with the newer folks, show them the ropes and, yes, put a stamp on the show. That “I Am A Dog” [Kanye West parody] that I did a couple of weeks ago got over a million hits in four days.

I’m kind of looking to do more of that kind of stuff on the show. And I’ve been thinking about sketches all summer. So now it’s time to execute those, get with the right writers and translate those [ideas] on screen.


You’ll be performing at Carolines on November 7. What’s going to surprise people who’ve only seen you on SNL?JP: A lot of the commentary is, “Wow, we didn’t know you actually did stand-up. We thought we were just going to get impressions.” I say, that’s boring.

I wouldn’t want to come to a show and just see impressions. I’d walk out of that stuff. I’d say, “Let’s go to the movies and see something we actually haven’t seen before.”

Do you ever get anybody yelling out, “Do Will Smith right now”?JP: Of course. Having impressions is a gift and a curse. It’s like being a major artist and having a hit song. People will always come to your show to see that.

How do you shut them down?JP: I’ve been doing this since I was 15, so if you call something out, I know exactly how to shut you down. I will hurt your feelings very badly.

This is not Jimmy Kimmel or Johnny Carson. This is not Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where the crowd is going to interact with me—unless I pull you onstage, which I have done.

I started calling a girl up onstage and doing this Trey Songz thing. I serenade the hell out of her. She loved it, whoever she is.


You have the very high-profile job of impersonating the president. What qualities do you latch onto when you’re imitating him?JP: His pauses and the time he takes to say things. There’s not really a lot you can poke fun at, but I think the code of Obama has been cracked.

It just takes him forever to get to the point, and that’s the comedic hook right there.

Have you heard anything from the president himself about your impression?JP: I talked to him directly, and he loves it.

How did that feel?JP: It was amazing, man. It was at Harvey Weinstein’s charity event last spring. It was me, Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake and Steve Martin. We did this sketch, and I was dressed as Obama. And after I finished, he said [in President Obama’s voice], “Uh…that guy’s pretty good. Uh…I’m glad I met him. Uh…he sounds like I do. Uh…there we go.” It’s always an explosion with Barack. It’s like an explosion of his voice. “Uh…there it is. Uh…there it goes again. And…uh…here I go.” So it’s like that. Like, you didn’t say anything, but it sounded great.

Favorite Comedy Club

What are your favorite comedy clubs in the City?JP: There are a lot of places. UCB, I was there a couple of times; that was good. I’m always going to Stand Up New York; The Comic Strip and the Comedy Cellar are always a good places to see comedy, too. 

Levity Live, that’s a good place in New York [but it’s in West Nyack]. Carolines is the first club I ever played in New York City, so of course that’s amazing as well.

When did you first play Carolines?JP: When I was 19 years old, in about 2007. That’s when I was grinding. That’s when Charlie Murphy first started taking me on the road with him.

And then to go back there in late May and early June and sell out some shows—it just meant the world to me.

Times Square

What do you say to those guys in Times Square who ask, “Do you like comedy?”JP: When they ask me that, I just laugh and keep walking. You have no idea. You have no idea that I used to be the person that you used to give out tickets for to go see at these little crappy venues.

I was that person. I’m going to be honest with you: back then, I sucked [laughs]. I mean, it was okay. It was pretty good. But it wasn’t like it is now. I remember one time I was at Broadway Comedy Club.

At the time, I was auditioning for the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Donald Glover was there—at the time he was 25 and I was 21.

All my impressions that I was about to do, before I got onstage, he did them. And they worked. He’s good. That dude is funny. He’s my homeboy. But at the time…he did Obama, and his groupie fans in the audience, it was [imitates ridiculously raucous laughter]. I was like, “Oh, damn. Now I’ve got to go up and do the same thing two acts later, and it’s already been done. I’m not going to the festival this year.” I should have just walked out, because after he did that, it was like: it’s a wrap. At the time, I didn’t really have a lot of jokes [laughs]. That’s all I had.

Donald Glover

Was it rough when you finally got on?JP: It was horrible [laughs]. My dad was there, and he was like, “Who does this kid think he is, going up there doing your act before you do it?” I was like, “I don’t know, he think’s he’s Donald Glover. He [writes for] 30 Rock.  He can do whatever he wants to do.” So that was just crazy. I didn’t go to the festival that year.


Jay Pharoah Disses ‘Saturday Night Live’ After Firing: ‘I’m Not a Yes N—-‘

Source: variety.com

Jay Pharoah is coming clean about his time on “Saturday Night Live” in a new interview — and he’s not holding anything back.

The comedian’s contract with “SNL” was not renewed last summer, after starring on the NBC series for six seasons.

“You go where you’re appreciated,” Pharaoh said in a radio interview this week with Hot97. “If you have multiple people on the cast saying things like, ‘You’re so talented and you’re able and they don’t use you, it’s unfair and it’s making us feel bad because they don’t use you and you’re a talent…”

He continued, saying, “They put people into boxes and whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do. And I’m fiery. I’m not a yes n—-.”

NBC declined to comment on Pharoah’s interview, per Variety‘s request.

Impression Box

Pharoah, who was most famous for his portrayal of President Barack Obama, says that he was put into an “impression box” where he was asked to do all the black impressions on the show.

He explained to the radio hosts that when he was asked to do certain bits, such as wearing a dress, he wasn’t afraid to say no. He explains the reaction was, “‘What do you mean, you’re not doing it?!’”

This past season, “SNL” has had booming ratings and much success with Alec Baldwin taking on President Donald Trump. The show has also brought on A-list comedians, such as Melissa McCarthy playing press secretary Sean Spicer, to rave reviews from critics and fans.

“If you really noticed, for the last year and a half, they didn’t do any Obama sketches at all. I was like, ‘Just let me do my character, and we’ll be fine.’

They didn’t want to do that,” Pharoah said, noting that “SNL” has turned to more celebrity cameos this season, and adding that he would have liked to share scenes as Obama with Baldwin’s Trump.

“No disrespect to them, but I kind of feel like they gave up … gave up on the Obama thing … I think it was just a whatever attitude.”


Pharoah also took credit for “SNL’s” inclusion of more black female comedians, which saw the hires of players like Leslie Jones and Sasheer Zamata. He also alleges that the show almost fired him for speaking up about the lack of diversity among the cast, calling the series, “Wonder Bread — straight up.”

“I was at the audition and me speaking up, they were ready to get rid of me in 2013 when I spoke up,” he said about the casting call for African-American women. “When I said what I said and it went viral … I almost lost my job.”

Among his criticism of the show, Pharoah did maintain that he has a good relationship with “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels.

“I’m just a little more affirmative than some of the other cast members. A lot of people are scared of Lorne. Lorne, I respect the hell out of him,” he said. “I like Lorne. Ain’t no problem with Lorne Michaels … there ain’t no beef with Lorne. We’re on good graces and everything, but there have been some shaky times and that time was a shaky time.”

Following his “SNL” departure, Pharaoh landed the lead role on Showtime’s upcoming series “White Famous.” Looking back at the NBC show, he said “it was definitely a good experience and it was a stepping stone to other opportunities, which I viewed it as that as soon as I got there.”