News: Drake & Jay-Z Impersonator "Lights Up" Saturday Night Live [Video]

Thursday, Sep 9, 2010 4:25PM

Written by Biz Jones

Comedian Jay Pharoah, known for impersonating Jay-Z and Drake, is joining the comedic lineup of the popular "Saturday Night Live" show.

Pharoah is the most recent African-American cast member on the show in seven years.

If you're excited about "SNL" hiring new cast members for the upcoming season, kicking off on Sept. 25, then you might really, really, really like that 22-year-old comedian Jay Pharoah, who's made a name for himself by impersonating celebrities like Jay-Z, Drake, President Obama, Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy, among others, is one of them. Pharoah, who hails from Virginia, is the fourth new talent hired by SNL this season and will be the first African American to join the cast since 2003, when Kenan Thompson arrived. (Billboard)

Appearing for the first time during the September 25th broadcast, Pharoah will be one of three new actors to join.

The information was provided by a person with firsthand knowledge of planning at "Saturday Night Live" but who was not given permission by NBC to speak on the matter. Jenny Slate who finished her freshman year at "Saturday Night Live" in the spring, will not have her contract picked up for a second season, the person said. Will Forte, who performed on and wrote for "Saturday Night Live" for eight seasons, recently announced that he was departing. The new featured performers this coming season, the person said, will be Taran Killam, an actor and comedian who has appeared on the sketch shows "Mad TV" and "Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out" and the comedies "Scrubs" and "How I Met Your Mother"; Paul Brittain, a performer from the iO Improv Theater in Chicago; Vanessa Bayer, also of iO in Chicago; and Jay Pharoah, a comedian and impressionist. "Saturday Night Live" will have its season premiere on Sept. 25. (New York Times)

The comedian has also made a buzz for impersonating blockbuster actor Will Smith.

Jared "Jay Pharoah" Farrow studied business at Tidewater Community College and VCU, but all that scholarship went by the wayside in favor of comedy: He's been performing since he was 15, honed his craft at Virginia Beach's Funny Bone and toured with comics Corey Holcomb and Charlie Murphy (Eddie's brother). "I'm known for impressions and family stories," Pharoah told us Tuesday night. He wouldn't say much about his future roles on "SNL," but admitted he's good at celebrities. Which ones? Again, not talking, but Pharoah does a dead-on Will Smith, Denzel Washington and ...President Obama. (Washington Post)

Last May, Jay-Z performed multiple songs on "Saturday Night Live."

During her appearance on "Saturday Night Live," 88-year-old host Betty White referenced her age often, both as a nod to her spunky old-lady persona and her expansive Hollywood career. Jay-Z, the musical guest, is roughly half White's age, but the legendary rapper's resumé is just as vast, spawning 11 #1 albums. And the Brooklyn MC seemed intent on showcasing as many of his LPs as possible as he ran through a five-song medley of his hits. (MTV)

Check out some of Jay Pharoah's material below:

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