Coronavirus

Jay Pharoah Leaving 'SNL'; His Best Impressions, From Jay Z to Drake & Denzel Washington

Jay Pharoah
Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jay Pharoah

After six hilarious seasons, Jay Pharoah is leaving Saturday Night Live. Known for his spot-on impersonations of Jay Z, President Obama, Jimmy Fallon, 2 Chainz, Dr. Ben Carson, Will Smith, Nicki Minaj and Drake, the stand-up is flying the coop in pursuit of "other opportunities," according to TVLine; fellow cast member Taran Killam is also leaving after six seasons. 

Pharoah, who began doing stand-up as a teenager, has appeared in films including Ride Along and Get a Job and landed at No. 55 on Rolling Stone's list of all 141 SNL cast members ranked. The comedian hasn't announced any upcoming projects yet, but here are some of his finest moments inside the heads of your favorite celebrities.

Watch Jay Pharoah Share Thoughts on 'Lemonade' as Jay Z, 50 Cent, Will Smith on 'SNL'

One of his classics is a dead-on Jay Z, which he busts out around the 5:00 mark in this "Weekend Update" segment from earlier this year, during a segment on the alleged annual secret rapper meeting that was also attended by 50 Cent, T.I., DMX, Lil Wayne, Will Smith, Nicki Minaj and Drake.

 

While Pharoah is a master at tapping into MC's cadences, he's also adept at hitting just the right high and squeaky notes when impersonating some of his fellow comedians/actors. Check out this hilarious bit where he pulled back the curtain on the annual secret black comedians meeting, which featured appearances from Kat Williams, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Tucker, Hannibal Burress and Bernie Mac.

 

Here he is as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

 

This Def TED Talk Jam was cut for time, but his intro as Russell Simmons was pretty great.

 

He was also a champ at doing political impressions, including the sleepy one-time Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson and, of course, President Obama.

 

Did we mention he does Drake?

 

And a killer Shaquille O'Neal?

 

If you need them all in one place, check out this fake awards acceptance clip Pharoah uploaded in 2009, a year before he joined SNL, in which he does everyone from Owen Wilson to Jack Nicholson, his classic Denzel Washington, Stewie from Family Guy and Nic Cage. 

 

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.