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Tag: Jay Pharaoh (1-3 of 3)

'SNL Weekend Update Thursday': The best bits -- VIDEO

I can’t say I was sorry to see Saturday Night Live air its last primetime special of the year yesterday. After all, this means 30 Rock is finally coming back. Plus, Saturday shows that air the same week as a Thursday special never feel like SNL at the top of its game, even when hosted by talented personalities who don’t mind stripping onstage.

Though the Not Ready for Primetime Players looked like they could really use a weekend offthey pulled together four shows in the last 13 days — Update still entertained. The funniest performance of the night was newbie Cecily Strong as “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party,” who got laughs without feeling like a rehash of Bobby Moynihan’s “Drunk Uncle” or Jeff Richards’ “Drunk Girl.” Strong nailed an impression of a person we’ve all met — the girl who’s constantly fiddling with her phone and has strong opinions even though she doesn’t know what she’s talking about — and after watching her big debut, I’m looking forward to her next featured sketch.

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Seth MacFarlane hosts tonight's 'Saturday Night Live' premiere: Talk about it here!

In the midst of all the excitement about Jason Sudeikis not leaving the show and Jay Pharaoh taking over Obama-playing duties, we almost forgot one crucial component of tonight’s Saturday Night Live premiere: Seth MacFarlane is hosting. And that fact inspires some mixed feelings.

MacFarlane and EW have had their differences in the past. TV critic Ken Tucker was famously harsh on Family Guy when it premiered; the show retaliated with a bit in which Peter Griffin, having discovered he was out of toilet paper, wiped his butt with a copy of our magazine instead. But we’ve also openly admired MacFarlane’s work, or at least his work ethic: In 2008, EW named Fox’s animation king the smartest person in TV. Whether you love his creations or hate them — and, generally speaking, there are few people who fall into neither category — you have to admit that the guy is a pretty fascinating figure.  READ FULL STORY

Jay Pharaoh's 'SNL' Obama: Is he the Darrell Hammond to Fred Armisen's Phil Hartman?

When one cast member inherits a political impression from another cast member on Saturday Night Live, it’s usually because the first comedian has left the show. Will Ferrell exited SNL long before George W. Bush’s presidency ended, leaving the role to Chris Parnell and Will Forte. Hillary Clinton impersonator Ana Gasteyer left in 2002, allowing Amy Poehler to put her own spin on the character. And in the ’80s, SNL‘s instability meant everyone from Harry Shearer to Charles Rocket to Joe Piscopo got a chance to do a Reagan impression — even if none of them reached iconic status.

So it’s a little unusual that Jay Pharaoh will reportedly start playing Barack Obama on the show this fall — even though SNL‘s old Obama, Fred Armisen, is still a member of the cast. For many viewers, this transition is long overdue; it seemed ludicrous to keep Pharaoh, a skilled mimic, sidelined while the half-Venezuelan Armisen continued to play the African-American president. (Sure, Obama’s biracial as well — but he strongly identifies as an African-American, and Venezuela isn’t exactly Kenya.) Even so, Armisen’s Obama does have his fans — and since he’s been playing the part since 2007, Armisen is also the only Obama SNL viewers have ever known.

But Pharaoh can take heart by looking back to the early ’90s, where there’s some precedent for the Obama Affair.  READ FULL STORY

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