We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Along with Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah was among the big names confirmed to not be returning to Saturday Night Live this season. And also like Killam, he will be greatly missed. He delivered spot on impersonations (and lots of them) while also giving great performances in often wacky premises. He often reminded fans of a young Eddie Murphy (a fellow SNL alum he also does a great impression of), but arguably even more willing to go above and beyond for a sketch to succeed.
Thankfully we’re already getting a nice fix of Pharoah to prepare us for an SNL without him. Just this past Sunday he was seen in both the Goddamn Comedy Jam special on Comedy Central and on the VMAs. He’s also got another stand-up special in the works and is slated to star in a Jamie Foxx-produced show on Showtime.
Ok, so Pharoah himself has already shared his personal favorite sketches from SNL. However, check out our favorite moments from Pharoah’s time on SNL below.
What Does My Girl Say
Frankly, you don’t even need to see absurd video this sketch is mocking to find this funny.
Obama Vs. Romney
We love Fred Armisen, but it was so refreshing to see someone on SNL who could actually impersonate the Commander In Chief (sorry Fred, but you’ve got to admit your version was lacking compared to Jay’s). Case in point: watch the first time Pharoah takes over the job of impersonating President Obama from Armisen, where he explains why he is so much cooler than Mitt Romeny.
Young Ben Carson
While his impersonation of President Obama was dead-on, what made Pharoah’s version of Ben Carson so special was how he transformed the brain surgeon-turned presidential candidate into its own wacky character (similar to what Dana Carvey did with George H. Bush). Only as the above sketch about a young Carson proves, you just can’t make up some of the crap he actually said in real life.
Weekend Update: Black Comedians Meeting
We really could dedicate this week’s Sketchy MVP solely to Pharoah’s impersonations. But for those who don’t feel like watching individual sketches, Pharoah combined a bunch of his best impersonations into individual Weekend Update segments this past season (in hindsight, it was the perfect parting gift he could offer to SNL fans) . The first compiled his impressions of comedians, as seen above, though his roundup of rappers is also hysterical.
For those who still need twenty eight reasons to observe Black History Month…
Corner Boys Of Bushwick
Watching three gangsters talking about their daily activities while living in gentrified Brooklyn is such a simple premise done so well. The sight of Pharoah drinking wine and painting landscapes alone makes this a classic sketch.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn Gets Economical Advice In Prison:
It’s another simple yet well done premise, where the former head of the International Monetary Fund converses with two fellow prisoners in an unexpected manner. Both Pharoah and Keenan Thompson pull it off so well, that it makes the twist at the end even funnier.