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Jared Antonio Farrow (born October 14, 1987), better known by his stage name Jay Pharoah, is an American actor, stand-up comedian, impressionist, and rapper. He joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2010, for its thirty-sixth season.[1] In 2015, he was ranked the 55th greatest Saturday Night Live cast member by Rolling Stone magazine.[2]

Jay Pharoah
Jay Pharoah by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Pharoah in June 2016.
Jared Antonio Farrow

(1987-10-14) October 14, 1987 (age 32)
EducationVirginia Commonwealth University
OccupationActor, comedian, rapper
Years active2010–present
WebsiteOfficial website

Early lifeEdit

Pharoah began doing impersonations at age six 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."[3]

In 2005, Pharoah graduated from Indian River High School in Chesapeake. One of his characters, Principal Daniel Frye, is heavily influenced by IRHS's former principal,[4] James Frye.[5] Pharoah went on to study business at Tidewater Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University.[1]


Pharoah at The Stand in June 2016.

Pharoah has been performing stand-up comedy in community theaters and at comedy clubs in Virginia since he was 15.[6] He at one point toured with Corey Holcomb and Charlie Murphy.[1] He became known for his many celebrity impressions,[7] including Barack Obama, Will Smith, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy, Chris Rock, Kanye West, Stephen A. Smith, Peter Dinklage, and Denzel Washington.[1]

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.[1][3]

2010–2016: Saturday Night LiveEdit

In 2010, Pharoah was hired by Saturday Night Live as a featured player for the show's 36th season. Pharoah debuted on Saturday Night Live on September 25, 2010 and was regarded by Rob Moynihan of TV Guide as the "breakout player" for that season, for his impersonations of Barack Obama, Ben Carson, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Stephen A. Smith, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Michael Strahan, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and Denzel Washington.[1][3] He debuted his SNL impersonation of Barack Obama in the 38th season premiere on September 15, 2012, succeeding Fred Armisen in that role.[8] Rolling Stone magazine described him as the "Jimmy Fallon of 2 Chainz impressions."[2]

Pharoah appeared in the independent film Lola Versus, released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in June 2012. In 2014, he had a small role in the buddy cop film Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, and appeared in the independent film Balls Out, a sport comedy starring fellow SNL cast members Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon.[9]

In 2016, he appeared in a commercial for Old Navy,[10] alongside fellow SNL cast members Nasim Pedrad and Cecily Strong. On August 8, 2016, it was announced Pharaoh alongside fellow cast member Taran Killam would be exiting the show ahead of its 42nd season.[11] Pharoah hosted the American Music Awards of 2016 with model Gigi Hadid. Pharoah has been working on his first album with record producer Myles William.[12]


Film and televisionEdit

Video gamesEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Virginia native Jay Pharoah snags cast spot on "Saturday Night Live"; will he be their new Obama? Pharoah also raps". Washington Post. September 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  2. ^ a b "55. Jay Pharoah - 'Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  3. ^ a b c Moynihan, Rob. "SNL's Fab Four", TV Guide, March 7, 2011, Pages 44-45
  4. ^ The Virginian-Pilot© June 12, 2014 (2014-06-12). "After 27 years, Indian River Principal James Frye retires". Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  5. ^ The Virginian-Pilot© December 14, 2010 (2010-12-14). "Jay Pharoah pays tribute to his Chesapeake principal on 'SNL'". Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  6. ^ Sources conflict on when he started standup. The Washington Post source indicates he started at 15.
  7. ^ "NBC'S 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE' PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 25 WITH SNL ALUM AMY POEHLER & CHART-TOPPING MUSICAL GUEST KATY PERRY". 2010-09-07. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  8. ^ "Inbox". TV Guide. October 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Luippold, Ross (2013-07-24). "Kate McKinnon, Jay Pharoah Shooting Indie 'Intramural' In Austin This Summer". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  10. ^ "Old Navy enlists SNL alums to improvise series of online spots". Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  11. ^ "Jay Pharoah Is Saying Goodbye to 'Saturday Night Live' to Pursue Other Opportunities".
  12. ^ "Jay Pharoah ("Saturday Night Live") Preps New Mixtape - Pitchfork".
  13. ^

External linksEdit