SNL's JAY PHAROAH, The Impersonation Master, Performing 2 Shows at StarDome on NEW YEAR'S EVE!
Jay Pharoah is returning to Saturday Night Live's Studio 8H for his fourth season. Pharoah is best known for his wide array of uncanny celebrity impressions including President Barack Obama, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Stephen A. Smith and Kanye West, as well as for his recurring character of school principal Daniel Frye, a character heavily influenced by the current principal of Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, where Jay graduated in 2005.
Pharoah developed his comedy skills at a young age, doing impersonations at age 6, and cites Gilbert Gottfried's character in Aladdin, Iago, as his first voice, explaining, "My father put me in a talent competition a couple of months later, and out of the whole thing I got fifth place." Later, around age 15, Jay began training in local comedy clubs. He went on to tour in the U.K., the U.S. and Montreal.
Pharoah became an internet phenomenon when his impersonation of Barack Obama became widely seen on YouTube. In early 2010, Pharoah appeared in a series of segments that aired on 106 & Park in promotion for the 2010 BET Awards, where his character had to deliver an important package for television personalities Rocsi and Terrence J.
In 2010, Pharoah was hired by Saturday Night Live as a featured player for the show's 36th season. As of August 2012, he is currently the youngest male member of the cast at age 25 and the second youngest black male cast member after Eddie Murphy (who was only 19 when he was hired in 1980).
He debuted on Saturday Night Live on September 25, 2010 and is regarded by Rob Moynihan of TV Guide as the "breakout player" for that season, for his seemingly effortless impersonations of Jay-Z, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Lil Wayne, and Denzel Washington. He debuted his SNL impersonation of Barack Obama in the 38th season premiere on September 15, 2012.
Pharoah will next star alongside Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in “Ride Along,” with Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick in “Get a Job,” with Chris Rock in “Finally Famous,” and in “Intramural.” His past feature film credits include “Lola Versus.” Pharoah’s Kanye West parody, “I Am A Dog,” was featured on Above Average and became an instant viral video reaching over a million views within the first week.
Originally from Virginia, Pharoah currently resides in New York City.