In a sketch comedy series with writing as weak as Saturday Night Live's, the best moments come entirely from the talent of the cast. Middling funnymen simply don't work on SNL; it takes the very best -- for example, Bill Hader or Kristen Wiig -- to draw laughs from otherwise mediocre material. Perhaps that's why Jay Pharoah made such a distinctive impression when he became a featured player back in 2010. He's a really funny guy, but perhaps most importantly, his impressions are dead-on funny. Remember Denzel from the Unstoppable parody? Or Jay-Z from the sketch that aired shortly after Blue Ivy's birth? He's pretty darn talented. And now, it appears, his comedic chops will be in the national spotlight now more than ever.
It was announced on Wednesday that Pharoah would be taking over the Obama impersonation duties for the upcoming 38th season. He replaces Fred Armisen, whose impression of Obama was tolerable at best. Armisen, who executive producer Lorne Michaels calls "the backbone of the show now" will stay with the series, but Pharoah taking over is welcome news indeed.
Don't believe that Pharoah's up to the task? Check out the video below, taken from some of Pharoah's pre-SNL stand-up material. His impression of Obama's distinctive voice is spot on, no question.