Saturday Night Live player Jay Pharoah moves up, replaces Fred Armisen as show's official Obama
When I interviewed impressionist Jay Pharoah last month, he promised this season would mark his "total takeover" of Saturday Night Live -- a moment when he moved from the back bench of new players to something more substantial.
Now comes a report in the New York Times which may point out what he meant, noting that Pharoah would replace Fred Armisen as the show's resident performer of President Barack Obama.
The show returns to new episodes Saturday with a program hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Contrary to earlier reports, castmember Jason Sudeikis will return to play Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden, while newcomer Taran Killian may play Paul Ryan (the last guy to play Ryan, Andy Samberg, did officially leave the show along with Kristen Wiig after last season's May finale).
“Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer, and Jay is coming into his own,” executive producer Lorne Michaels told the NYT. “I just thought it might be time to shake it up.”
The move may also solve a small controversy for the show, which was sometimes criticized for having a non-black actor playing the nation's first black president.
Check out Pharoah's Obama from a stand up gig below: