Fall TV Preview

Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah to Replace Fred Armisen as President Obama

SNL ObamaElection Day isn’t for another two months, but Saturday Night Live has already chosen a new man to sit in the Oval Office.

Jay Pharoah will replace Fred Armisen as President Obama in the sketch comedy show’s upcoming Season 38, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Times Wednesday.

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Armisen has played the Commander-in-Chief since 2008. Michaels told the newspaper that in an effort to “shake it up,” newer cast member Pharoah – who’s made a name for himself with dead-on impersonations of Jay-Z, Chris Rock and Denzel Washington, among others – would take the part as election season heats up.

Jason Sudekis, who is definitely staying with the show for the foreseeable future, will continue to play both Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden. Taran Killam will likely take on the part of Romney running mate Paul Ryan.

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The presidential switcheroo is the latest cast move in a year that’s seen a changing of the Not Ready for Primetime guard. Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Abby Elliott departed after last season’s finale, and Second City grads Tim Robinson, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant joined the cast earlier this week.

Pharoah will likely debut his version of the leader of the free world when SNL returns to NBC this Saturday, Sept. 15 with host Seth McFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean.

Comments (14)

  • It’s about time! His impression is far better than Fred’s.

    Comment by Amanda – September 12, 2012 06:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great news! He is a great impersonator!

    Comment by Mikaylah Roggasch – September 12, 2012 06:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t think Jay Pharoah is funny at all. He can do a few impressions, so what?

    Comment by erin – September 12, 2012 07:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • with wiig gone hes easily the funniest castmemeber on the show

      Comment by jay – September 12, 2012 08:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Sorry, but no. Not sure who it is, but its not him.

        Comment by Nick – September 13, 2012 12:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • yes!! i love fred but he should have gave obama to jay a long time ago.

    Comment by ed – September 12, 2012 07:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • they just need to bring something dynamic to the obama impersonation. fred armisen’s was never interesting, it lacked a hook. hopefully jay can improve upon it.

    Comment by cjeffery7 – September 12, 2012 08:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Finally! It is about time that SNL put their money where their mouth is with Jay. He has been relegated to the background with barely one sketch a week if he is lucky. He is a huge talent and deserves to show he has chops. Congrats Jay!

    Comment by scorpo – September 12, 2012 09:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s a shame Paul Brittain is gone…he would have made a great Paul Ryan!

    Comment by Aprilcot26 – September 13, 2012 01:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nah, Paul Ryan is like a foot taller than Britain. Killam seems like the right choice for him.

      Comment by SJ – September 13, 2012 06:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Should Bill Hader be Paul Ryan? They could be brothers!

    Comment by gocanes – September 13, 2012 06:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Are we talking about the guy tries to do impressions but they all just sound like weird Will Smith? That guy is terrible.

    Comment by No Thanks – September 13, 2012 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • At first I thought I would hate this, but honestly Jay is doing a great Job. It’s almost like Fred was a good early Obama, and now that both Obama and Jay are feeling more comfortable in their roles, it fits to have Jay now PLay the president over Fred. Honestly, I wanted to see more Jay this season, so I’m glad he got this huge opportunity. I’m sure that this will be a good decision in the long run.

    Comment by mikecronin2012 – October 21, 2012 06:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jay pharoah isn’t funny!!! Like the post before me said “ok he can do a few impressions…so what” I mean the impressions he does EVERYBODY does them. And he just does black guys.., yaaaaawwwwnnn do some non black people DEAD ON and I might be a Lil impressed. Fred had Obama down and I think they’re making a mistake not only by giving jay the role but by having him as a cast member still… The guy thinks he’s Eddie Murphy but Eddie had mainstream crossover appeal AND his standup was brilliant was Jays standup. Its not funny, has no substance. Take away the impressions and then what do you have…empty mindless lame jokes.. SNL what happend !?!

    Comment by Penndiana jones – November 8, 2012 12:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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