Pharoah in June 2016
Jared Antonio Farrow
October 14, 1987
Chesapeake, Virginia, U.S.
|Education||Virginia Commonwealth University|
Jared Antonio Farrow (born October 14, 1987), better known by his stage name Jay Pharoah, is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and impressionist. He joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2010, for its thirty-sixth season. In 2015, he was ranked the 55th greatest Saturday Night Live cast member by Rolling Stone magazine.
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."
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, James Frye. Pharoah went on to study business at Tidewater Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University.
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, Kanye West, Stephen A. Smith, Peter Dinklage, and Denzel Washington.
2010–2016: Saturday Night Live
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. He debuted his SNL impersonation of Barack Obama in the 38th season premiere on September 15, 2012, succeeding Fred Armisen in that role. Rolling Stone magazine described him as the "Jimmy Fallon of 2 Chainz impressions."
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.
In 2016, he appeared in a commercial for Old Navy, 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. 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.
Film and television
- Saturday Night Live (2010–2016)
- Lola Versus (2012)
- Ride Along (2014)
- Balls Out (2014)
- Top Five (2014)
- Can I Be Me? (2015)
- Get a Job (2016)
- Sing (2016) - Meena's Grandfather (voice)
- Match Game (2017) - 2 episodes
- White Famous (2017)
- Family Guy (2017) - Kanye Canes (voice, "Don't Be a Dickens on Christmas")
- Unsane (2018) - Nate Hoffman
- Corner Shop Show (2018) - Himself ("Zombies on The High Street")
- Drop the Mic (2018) - Himself (1 episode)
- Family Guy (2018) - Kanye West (voice, "Married... with Cancer")
- A Million Little Things (2019) - Omar Howard
- Live in Front of a Studio Audience - J.J. Evans (Episode: “All in the Family and Good Times)
- Bad Hair (2020)
- Spinning Gold (TBA) - Frankie Crocker
- All My Life (TBA)
- "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.
- "55. Jay Pharoah - 'Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
- Moynihan, Rob. "SNL's Fab Four", TV Guide, March 7, 2011, Pages 44-45
- The Virginian-Pilot© June 12, 2014 (2014-06-12). "After 27 years, Indian River Principal James Frye retires". HamptonRoads.com. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
- The Virginian-Pilot© December 14, 2010 (2010-12-14). "Jay Pharoah pays tribute to his Chesapeake principal on 'SNL'". HamptonRoads.com. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- Sources conflict on when he started standup. The Washington Post source indicates he started at 15.
- "NBC'S 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE' PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 25 WITH SNL ALUM AMY POEHLER & CHART-TOPPING MUSICAL GUEST KATY PERRY". Nbcuniversal.presscentre.com. 2010-09-07. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- "Inbox". TV Guide. October 8, 2012.
- Luippold, Ross (2013-07-24). "Kate McKinnon, Jay Pharoah Shooting Indie 'Intramural' In Austin This Summer". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "Old Navy enlists SNL alums to improvise series of online spots". www.campaignlive.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
- "Jay Pharoah Is Saying Goodbye to 'Saturday Night Live' to Pursue Other Opportunities". shadowandact.com.
- "Jay Pharoah ("Saturday Night Live") Preps New Mixtape - Pitchfork". pitchfork.com.