15.4.17

Jay Pharoah Says He Was Fired From SNL For Speaking Up About Hiring More Black People

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Jay Pharoah is no longer a prime-time player because "Saturday Night Live" kept him in a box.

The former cast member, who was let go ahead of this season, says he almost got the boot sooner because he tried to speak out about getting more black women on as writers and on the cast.

"I was at the audition and I think me speaking up, they were ready to get rid of me in 2013, September," he said during an interview on Hot 97 this week.


He also told the hosts that he was the catalyst behind the whole conversation to bring people like Leslie Jones on board, which changed the whole dynamic of the show.

"I am the reason it happened," he continued.

Pharoah, 29, explained why he thought he was let go and he thinks it was the fault of the writers for not using him for his talent and only putting him in an "impression box."

"You go where you're appreciated," he said of leaving in August. "They put people into boxes. Whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do. And I'm fiery too ... I'm not a 'yes n!gga.' That's not me."

The comedian held a spot on the late-night sketch comedy series for six seasons and famously impersonated former President Barack Obama.

However, he felt like the show gave up on Obama completely once Donald Trump began running for President.

"I was like, 'Just let me do my character and we'll be fine.' (They) didn't want to do that," he told Hot 97.

Despite being overlooked for his other talents — beyond impersonating famous black men — Pharoah has no ill will toward showrunner Lorne Michaels.

He quoted Chris Rock in a spot-on impression saying, "I met Lorne Michaels and I ain't been broke ever since."

Pharoah's next move is starring in a Showtime comedy called "White Famous" with Jamie Foxx.

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