'SNL' Cast Member Jay Pharoah Will Take Over President Obama Impersonation From Fred Armisen
Now that a good deal of the former Saturday Night Live talent has moved on to make room for newcomers Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson and Cecily Strong, it's also likely that some existing cast members like Kate McKinnon, Taran Killam, Nasim Pedrad and Jay Pharoah, many of whom have previously merely subsisted in the shadows of SNL greats like Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg, who bid adieu to the late night sketch comedy program last season, will get a clearer chance to shine in the upcoming 38th season.
Pharoah, for one, who has wowed SNL fans with his staggeringly spot-on impressions of such celebrities as Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jay-Z, will be stepping into the highly coveted role of impersonating President Barack Obama — a big deal at any time, but especially during an election year.
Never fear — Fred Armisen, who has taken a stab at impersonating the president since 2008 but never got the best reviews at the job, will not be leaving the show. He's simply stepping out of the Obama role in order to let impersonating genius Pharoah take the reins, and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is delighted about the newest cast shift. "Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer, and Jay is coming into his own," Michaels said, reports the New York Times. "I just thought it might be time to shake it up."
Armisen, however, especially in the wake of Wigg, Samberg and newer cast member Abby Elliott, is more crucial than ever, Michaels assures. He called Armisen "the backbone of the show."
In his new Obama role, Pharoah will undoubtedly square off against Mitt Romney impersonator, Jason Sudeikis, who will be sticking with SNL at least until the New Year, says Michaels.
Watch Pharoah's impression of President Barack Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman here:
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