Jay Pharoah attend AMA after party

Jay Pharoah Speaks Out About Being Fired From ‘SNL’

Jay Pharoah was fired from Saturday Night Live after being a cast member for six years. The 29-year-old comedian departed from the long-running sketch comedy show last August and has, so far, remained mum about the whole thing. Now, he’s finally ready to speak out because he just spilled the beans during a radio interview with Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning.

Jay Pharoah joined the Saturday Night Live cast in 2010. He gained popularity from his spot-on impressions of celebrities like Jay-Z, Ben Carson, and most famously, Barack Obama. Viewers tuned in to see Jay mimic some of their favorite celebrities week after week.

According to Pharoah, the SNL show runners wanted to capitalize off of his popularity and make him the go-to for impressions. Because of this, he felt that he wasn’t allowed to utilize the full scope of his talents.

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“If you have multiple people on the cast saying things like “you’re so talented, you’re so able, they don’t use you and it’s unfair and it’s making us feel bad,'” Jay Pharoah said. “They put people into boxes. Whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do,” he added. “I’m a little fiery too… I’m not a yes [expletive].”

Ironically, Jay Pharoah also believes that they didn’t put enough effort into making his Obama character take off like he thinks it could have. Even though Obama was his most popular character, he feels that SNL abandoned it.

“If you really noticed, for the last year and a half, they didn’t do any Obama sketches at all,” said Jay.

“I was like, ‘Just let me do my character, and we’ll be fine.’ They didn’t want to do that… I kind of feel like they gave up on the Obama thing … I think it was just a whatever attitude.”

Later on in the same interview, Jay Pharoah revealed that comments he made in 2013 about the need to add a Black woman to the cast, almost resulted in him being fired prematurely. At the time, there hadn’t been any Black women on the SNL cast since Maya Rudolph departed in 2006, and Pharoah was not pleased.

“They need to pay attention,” Pharoah told The Grio.

“Her name is Darmirra Brunson…Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented. She’s amazing. She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.”

Referencing those earlier comments, Pharoah said, “I was at the audition and me speaking up, they were ready to get rid of me in 2013 when I spoke up. When I said what I said and it went viral … I almost freakin’ lost my job.”

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Even though Jay Pharoah did eventually end up leaving Saturday Night Live, he feels that did do some good. In response to the backlash from the lack of diversity, Saturday Night Live ended up hiring Leslie Jones and Shameer Zamata in 2014.

Despite all of the drama, Jay Pharoah alleges that there are no hard feelings between himself and Saturday Night Live creator, Lorne Michaels.

“Ain’t no problem with Lorne Michaels,” Pharoah assured Ebro. “We on good graces and everything.”

“I met Lorne Michaels and I ain’t been broke ever since,” he added.

What do you think about Jay Pharaoh being fired from SNL? Do you think that he’s hurt his career by speaking out against the show? You can join the discussion by sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Featured Image by Rich Polk/Getty Images]