Friday, October 1, 2010

Jay Pharoah, and beyond, at SNL

When the Virginia comedian Jared (Jay Pharoah) Farrow made his debut on NBC’s long-running Saturday Night Live on Sept. 26, he joined the cast of broadcast television’s most enduring comedy franchise; now in its 36th season, SNL’s as much a brand as it is a TV show, one that’s helped break any number of top-shelf stars.

The young comic, not yet 22 years old, jumped right into the mix, wearing the different identity hats that define the show’s repertory format. On Saturday, he appeared as box-office superstar Will Smith on the 'Weekend Update' news segment, and in a sketch portraying Chris Tucker in a sendup of a sequel to the new action film The Expendables.

Pharoah’s name has been all over the Internet in recent weeks, easily found appended in a Google search to the phrase “new black guy.” It’s both a tantalizingly viral evidence of buzz and an impersonal identification that underscores the relative rarity of black actors on the show. Pharoah also joins a show with a contentious history vis-à-vis black comedic talents. With a dearth of black and minority writers on SNL, and an absence of black women, his addition to this iconic fixture of late-night TV is a necessarily wait-and see thing.

Read the rest at The Root

Image credits: Pharoah: via

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