Jay Pharoah, a 6-season cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” will not be sticking around for a 7th.
The comedian/actor best known for his wide array of uncanny celebrity impressions, including Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Chris Rock, Stephen A. Smith, Kanye West and Chris Tucker, to name a few, has decided to leave NBC’s long-running late-night series to “pursue other opportunities,” reports TVLine in an exclusive confirmed by an NBC spokesperson.
These “other opportunities” he plans to pursue likely include acting for film and TV, and maybe a stand-up special every now and then, as he did for Showtime last summer (2015). His IMDBPro page doesn’t list much in terms of upcoming projects he’s attached to. There are 2 voice-acting roles in animated features – “The Adventures of Drunky” and another titled “Sing,” set for 2017 and late 2016 USA releases respectively.
Pharoah developed his comedy skills at a young age, training in local comedy clubs. His feature film credits include “Ride Along” with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, “Get a Job” with Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick, “Top Five” and “Balls Out.”
Pharoah exits SNL as several new cast members are set to join before the new season kicks off next month.
I do wonder how much longer SNL can continue. I haven’t watched a full episode of the show in years. But clearly, it’s still popular enough to remain on the air. Viewership averaged in the 4 million range per episode during the last season.
Good luck to Mr. Pharoah as a new adventure begins for him…