Ex-'Saturday Night Live' Cast Member Jay Pharoah Rips Show After He Was Fired: 'It's Unfair'
He was perhaps best known for his spot-on impression of President Obama.
Former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah did not hold back as he discussed his departure from the show.
Pharoah, who starred on SNL for six seasons, spoke to New York hip-hop radio station Hot 97 Thursday and let loose about why NBC did not renew his contract last summer.
“You go where you’re appreciated,” he said. “If 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 and it’s making us feel bad because they don’t use you and you’re a talent...”
Pharoah was famous for his spot-on impressions, including President Obama, Denzel Washington and Jay Z.
He says he was overlooked for other roles, saying: “They put people into boxes and whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do. And I’m fiery.”
When Alec Baldwin’s impression of Donald Trump became popular, he was surprised they didn't put his Obama impression to work.
“I said, 'Let me do my characters and you'll be fine,’ they didn't want to do that,” he claimed. “[Baldwin] said ‘I want to work with you. Thank God you do these voices.’ I never went back on the show.”
Pharoah also spoke about his relationship with the show’s executive producer, Lorne Michaels.
“I’m just a little more affirmative than some of the other cast members. A lot of people are scared of Lorne. Lorne, I respect the hell out of him,” he said. “I like Lorne. Ain’t no problem with Lorne Michaels … there ain’t no beef with Lorne. We’re on good graces and everything, but there have been some shaky times and that time was a shaky time.”
Saturday Night Live had "no comment" when reached by Inside Edition about Pharoah’s remarks.
The former cast member’s comments come on the heels of the show being accused of plagiarism.
A skit this past Saturday night featured comic Louis C.K. as a man being entertained by a clown.
Many viewers were quick to point out that the skit resembled a scene from comedian Tig Notaro’s short film, Clown Service.
In the sketch "Birthday Clown," Louis C.K. plays a depressed loner who hires a clown for his birthday.
In Notaro’s short film, instead of a man, it's a woman saddened over a break-up who hires a clown to make her smile again.
“It has been impossible for me to ignore the cacophony of voices reaching out personally and publicly about the potential plagiarizing of my film Clown Service,” she said in a statement. “I hesitated to even address any of this, but I think it is only right to defend my work and ideas and moving forward, I plan to continue screening Clown Service with the joy and pride I always have."
When Inside Edition reached SNL for comment on the allegations of plagiarism, they said "no comment."
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