'Saturday Night Live' Courageously Chooses Black Guy To Play President Obama
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'Saturday Night Live' Courageously Chooses Black Guy To Play President Obama

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | September 13, 2012 | Comments ()


Look how far we've come in America, folks. Nearly 150 years after we ended slavery, nearly 60 years since we ended separate but equal, forty years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the "I Have a Dream Speech," and four years after we elected our first black president, Saturday Night Live has FINALLY cast a black guy to impersonate a black president.

Indeed, after four awful years of Fred Armisen impersonating President Obama, Saturday Night Live has wisely given that job to the best pure impersonator the show the show has ever had, Jay Pharoah, who is black, JUST LIKE OBAMA.

My God! We've come so far as a country. But I will not rest until a black man is impersonating Mitt Romney on Saturday Night Live.

Here's an awesome, awesome reel of 50 Jay Pharoah impressions, including his Obama impression at 6:21.

(Note, also, that Taran Killam is set to play Paul Ryan, and this week's season premiere has "three different takes" on Clint Eastwood, whatever that means.

Elegies for the Brokenhearted by Christie Hodgen | Media Companies Doing Stupid Things? Must be Thursday.

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • oilybohunk7

    My greatest wish is that they write better political sketches. It felt as though they were putting any mediocre political sketch on the show because it is an election year and SNL HAS to be political. Most of them last season felt very forced. And, no, I'm not one of those "SNL hasn't been funny since..." people.

  • Viking

    I thought Fred Armisen was black.

  • dizzylucy

    I never thought Fred's was bad, but Jay's is pretty good. Glad he will be getting more screen time with this.

  • Jackseppelin

    They also need to get BJ Novak for Paul Ryan, Eva Amurri for Ane Romney, and a stuffed alligator for Mitt Romney.

  • lowercase_ryan

    His Fifty Cent has me in tears.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Pharoah is wow

  • Maguita NYC

    The important question would be: Seeing how the GOP has purposely disregarded any inclusion of ethnic diversion in their RNC, would any self-respecting black comedian want to play Romney?

    I say yes! Please give us your point of view on how the African American perceives Romney to be. I would definitely watch!

  • luthien26

    I'm hoping Pharoah will do a good job, but it should be noted (as others have pointed out) that Obama is just as much white as he is black, although I know from outward appearances most people just see him as black and nothing else.
    who is black, JUST LIKE OBAMA" could just as much read "Armisen, who is white, JUST LIKE OBAMA". Sorry, but as a person of mixed ethnicity, I hate to have to choose.

  • kayla

    Yeah, people seem to be pretty hesitant about saying that Obama is also white. It's like the one drop rule still exists in some weird way. Oh well. He's definitely the closest to black we've ever had as president.

  • Three_nineteen

    I know you're being sarcastic about this, but lest we forget, this was how SNL portraye Jesse Jackson just a few short years ago:
    And since I brought up Jesse Jackson and SNL, I have to post this:

  • blacksred

    jordan peele from Key and Peele does a fantastic spot on impression. And he is bi-racial just like obama win/win!

  • laylaness

    A thousand times yes!

  • vicky

    p, li { white-space: pre-wrap; }

    I'm not form America, but aren't most African Americans part European and African anyway?

  • Slashie

    Yes, but people only tend to call themselves "biracial" if their parent or grandparent was white, not a slaveowning rapist from hundreds of years ago.

  • alwaysanswerb


  • TK

    Fuck and yes.

  • seth

    I was thinking of watching, but more Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam... nah.

  • AudioSuede

    Sudekis and Killam vs. Pharaoh and Sudekis.

    Clash of the Titans.

  • John G.

    Armisen did a great job with Obama. Obama is half white, so it's not absurd that a Venezuelan like Armisen could play him. And he did a great job.

    That being said, the need to use Jay Pharoah more, so at least this will get him more stage time.

  • FrayedMachine

    But... he doesn't look like him... like. at all. I'm not saying he didn't do a good job. It's just... weird and slightly disconcerting that this was the route they went down as if there were no black comedians available to play the role.

  • John G.

    But he does. He looks like him a lot to me. Jay Pharoah looks nothing like him. I mean, besides the fact that he is black, he doesn't look like him, and he's not even the same shade of black.

  • FrayedMachine

    I'm not saying that Pharoah is a better decision, but I am saying that Armisen does not look like him. He really doesn't look much like him. It takes a good deal of eye squinting and head tilting to get a semi-sorta-kind of-maybe feel that he looks like him.

  • I think Armisen's Obama is better (although Pharoah's impression has probably improved since this was recorded). And do you *really* want to get into which actor is closer in ethnicity to the President?

  • Ley

    I'm actually more excited about Taran Killam playing Paul Ryan. Or Taran Killam being on any SNL sketch, really. Man that guy's awesome.

  • Alice

    OK, you've convinced me to tune into SNL before the opening credits run. This was a delightful montage. Pharoah's impressions are funny and spot on without being condescending.

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