Jay Pharoah was one of the brightest stars on SNL in recent years, and his range of impersonations made him a fixture on the sketch comedy show for over half a decade.
Pharoah - born Jared Farrow - told hosts on Hot 97 in NY that he was pigeonholed into being the impressions guy on SNL.
"You go where you're appreciated", he said of his departure in August before the current season began. "You have multiple people on the cast saying things like, 'You're so talented, and you're able, and they don't use you.' It's unfair because they don't use you and you're a talent". "He said 'Without you wouldn't be here, and when you get onstage, carry him with you, because you can't do the performance without God'".
"Honest to God, no disrespect to them, but I kind of feel like they gave up. on the Obama thing", Pharoah said.
Pharoah also says he was almost fired in 2013 when he spoke out about how the show didn't have any black female comedians. "For me, they had a whatever attitude", he said. "If you notice, for the a year ago and a half, they didn't know any Obama sketches, at all". And I'm fiery too ... "Whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do", he added.
"I was like, 'Just let me do my character and we'll be fine.' [They] didn't want to do that", he told Hot 97 host Pete Rosenberg, the New York Daily News reports. "I'm like, 'Wow, I feel you, my n--'". "I nearly freakin" lost my job", he says. Remarking on their relationship, he slipped into his impression of fellow SNL alum Chris Rock: "I met Lorne Michaels and I ain't been broke ever since".
When the hiring of the black women happened-[Sasheer Zamata], Leslie [Jones], LaKendra Tookes-It was Lakendra Tookes and Leslie both were hired as writers, and it was Sasheer on the show. "We on good graces and everything".
Pharoah's next move is starring in a Showtime comedy called "White Famous" with Jamie Foxx.