“SNL,” you’ve got some explaining to do.
As fans of the comedy skit show know far too well, it’s been nearly nine months since Jay Pharoah’s shocking departure and now that the dust has settled, the comedian is breaking his silence about his exit.
During a recent interview with HOT 97, the 29-year-old opened up about the series in which he starred for six seasons. “You go where you’re appreciated,” he said. “They put people into boxes. Whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do. And I’m fiery too … I’m not a ‘yes n—–.’ That’s not me.”
The comedian went on to admit he grew frustrated that his talent wasn’t truly being tapped into; a sentiment he revealed his fellow co-stars shared. Nabbing a gig at “SNL” thanks mainly to the viral success of his uncanny impressions of stars like Jay Z, Pharoah added he felt he was put in an “impression box.”
Fast-forward to 2013 — after several years of sitting behind Fred Armisen — Pharoah was finally able to showcase one of his most popular impressions; that of President Obama. Unfortunately, due to a surge in popularity surrounding Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of President Trump, Pharoah said the show simply “gave up” on Obama.
“If you really noticed, for the last year and a half, they didn’t do any Obama sketches,” he said. “I was like, ‘Just let me do my character and we’ll be fine.’ [They] didn’t want to do that.”
But, the blows just kept coming. According to Pharoah, he was fired back in 2013, after pushing for more Black writers and actors — adding that he takes credit for recent cast additions like standout star Leslie Jones and Sasheer Zamata. “I am the reason it happened,” he claimed.
Still, Pharoah, who is set to star in Showtime’s “White Famous,” reveals he isn;t holding a grudge against “SNL,” or his former boss Lorne Michaels. In his best Chris Rock impersonation, Pharaoh said, “I met Lorne Michaels and I ain’t been broke ever since.”
What are your thoughts on Pharoah’s long-awaited response to his “SNL” exit? Sound off in the comment section below.