Wednesday, 21 August 2013


                  BLACK             SOCIAL               HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jay Pharoah was born in Chesapeake, Virginia on October 14, 1987. Pharoah began performing in comedy clubs as a teenager, developing impressions of celebrities including Barack Obama and Jay-Z. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2010, at the age of 22. He debuted his impression of Barack Obama on the show in 2012.

Early Life

Actor and comedian Jay Pharoah was born Jared Antonio Farrow in Chesapeake, Virginia, on October 14, 1987. Pharoah took an early interest in acting. As a child, he developed a number of impersonations, later moving on to stand up comedy. He has said that his first impersonation was of Iago, a character from the Disney film Aladdin originally voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

Early Career

Pharoah performed in comedy in clubs around Virginia as a teenager. He also toured with Corey Holcomb and Chris Murphy, the brother of Eddie Murphy. Pharoah honed his celebrity impressions, including Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and Jay-Z during this period.
Although he perfected his impersonations with his successful club act, he got his breakthrough performance through social media. A video of his impression of Barack Obama was posted on YouTube and became an Internet sensation during the 2008 presidential campaign. Pharoah subsequently taped an audition reel that brought his act to the attention of casting directors and producers, including Lorne Michaels.

'Saturday Night Live'

The circulation of Pharoah's Obama video opened doors for the young comedian in the entertainment industry. In 2010, he appeared in a series of segments on BET. Months later, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player at 22 years old, and was the first African-American cast member to appear on the series since Keenan Thompson joined in 2003.
Pharoah made his debut on the show in September 2010. Two years later, he appeared as Barack Obama for the first time, inheriting the position from veteran cast member Fred Armisen. He has also performed impressions of Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Rodman and Lil Wayne.
Another character, Daniel Frye, was explicitly based on his high school principal. Pharoah asked his actual principal, James Frye, for permission to portray him on the show. He notified the Indian River High School community of the character’s debut via Twitter.

Film Career

Jared Antonio Farrow (born October 14, 1987), better known by his stage name Jay Pharoah, is an American actor, stand-up comedian andimpressionist. He joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2010, for its thirty-sixth season.[1]

Early life[edit source | editbeta]

Pharoah began 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."
In 2005, he graduated from Indian River High School in Chesapeake. One of his characters, Principal Daniel Frye, is heavily influenced by IRHS's current principal, James Frye. 

Career[edit source | editbeta]

Pharoah has been performing stand-up comedy in community theaters and at comedy clubs in Virginia since he was 15. He at one point toured with Corey Holcomb and Charlie Murphy. He became known for his many celebrity impressions, including Barack Obama, Will Smith, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy, Chris Rock and Denzel Washington.
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.

2010–present: Saturday Night Live[edit source | editbeta]

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 member of the cast at age 25. 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, EddSNL impersonation of Barack Obama in the 38th season premiere on September 15, 2012, replacing Fred Armisen.

ie Murphy, Lil Wayne, and Denzel Washington. He debuted his
Pharoah appeared in the independent film Lola Versus, released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in June 2012.

Characters on SNL[edit source | editbeta]

  • MC George Costanza, a member of the Kickspit Underground Rock Festival who hosts a variety of bizarre charities, such as "Whack-Ass Junk for Immigrants," "Gross Crap for Orphans," "Dirt for Native Americans," and "Make Old People Think They Voted." According to the "Donkey Punch the Ballot" commercial, he is the son of DJ Supersoak (Jason Sudeikis).
  • Principal Daniel Frye, a wheezing, elderly high school principal who makes announcements about the bizarre goings-on and pranks played during school functions (such as the Booker T. Washington High Trojan Horse fornicating with a Nissan Sentra after someone fed it a bucket of Dr. Pepper and several Viagra tablets or someone spiking the punch at the prom and getting the janitor in trouble for violating his parole) and often refers to the students as "jive-time turkeys." Has, so far, appeared on the season 36 episode hosted by Paul Rudd, the season 37 episode hosted by Josh Brolin, the season 38 episode hosted by Christina Applegate, and the season 38 episode hosted by Justin Bieber. Based on Jay Pharoah's actual high school principal, James Frye.

In addition to his television career, Pharoah has appeared in several feature films. He played a small role in the 2012 independent movie Lola Versus, starring Greta Gerwig. In 2013, he filmed Ride Along, a Tim Story movie starring Ice Cube and John Leguizamo. The movie is scheduled for release in January 2014.