Jay Pharoah, a member of the “Saturday Night Live” cast since 2010, has stepped into the limelight this year with his portrayal of President Barack Obama.
Previous to Pharoah taking the reigns on portraying the president, SNL heavy hitter favorite, Fred Armisen, played Obama. Needless to say, Pharoah’s portrayal has been way more dead-on and praised.
With Pharoah’s perfect ability to imitate various famous actors and musicians, like Jay-Z, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington, it was no surprise that Pharoah would do Obama justice.
When the current season of SNL started, Pharoah imitated Obama in different speeches and debate platforms. A particularly entertaining skit was the imitation of the presidential debate called “Town Hall Debate Cold Open.”
In this debate skit, Pharoah paid close attention to the way Obama pauses in his speech, purses his lips and clears his throat. He also successfully captured Obama’s caring demeanor meanwhile still keeping intact his uncertainty.
Moreover, Pharoah’s voice sounds just like Obama’s. For example if the viewer squinted at the screen, Pharoah could easily be confused for the real thing.
However, Pharoah’s impersonation of Obama is not anything particularly entertaining or special compared to the other portrayals of political figures on SNL in the past. Will Ferrell has done hysterical impersonations of George W. Bush and Tina Fey executed an impeccable likeness to Sarah Palin during the last presidential race. These impersonations have left lasting impressions and helped make these two comedians household names.
Perhaps Pharoah just needs a bit more time to brush up on his impersonation of Obama, but there may be no need, since he successfully brings upon laughter with his other impersonations of people in pop culture instead of politics.
To email reporter: email@example.com