Pharoah in June 2016
Jared Antonio Farrow
October 14, 1987
Chesapeake, Virginia, U.S.
|Education||Virginia Commonwealth University|
Jared Antonio Farrow (born October 14, 1987), better known by his stage name Jay Pharoah, is an American actor, stand-up comedian, and impressionist. He joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live in 2010, for its thirty-sixth season. In 2015, he was ranked the 55th greatest Saturday Night Live cast member by Rolling Stone magazine.
Pharoah began doing impersonations at age six and cites Gilbert Gottfried's character in Aladdin, Iago, as his first voice, explaining, "My father put me in a talent competition a couple of months later, and out of the whole thing I got fifth place."
In 2005, Pharoah graduated from Indian River High School in Chesapeake. One of his characters, Principal Daniel Frye, is heavily influenced by IRHS's former principal, James Frye. Pharoah went on to study business at Tidewater Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Pharoah has been performing stand-up comedy in community theaters and at comedy clubs in Virginia since he was 15. He at one point toured with Corey Holcomb and Charlie Murphy. He became known for his many celebrity impressions, including Barack Obama, Will Smith, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy, Chris Rock, Kanye West, Stephen A. Smith, Peter Dinklage, and Denzel Washington.
In 2010, Pharoah was hired by Saturday Night Live as a featured player for the show's 36th season. Pharoah debuted on Saturday Night Live on September 25, 2010 and was regarded by Rob Moynihan of TV Guide as the "breakout player" for that season, for his impersonations of Barack Obama, Ben Carson, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Stephen A. Smith, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Michael Strahan, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and Denzel Washington. He debuted his SNL impersonation of Barack Obama in the 38th season premiere on September 15, 2012, succeeding Fred Armisen in that role.Rolling Stone magazine described him as the "Jimmy Fallon of 2 Chainz impressions."
Pharoah appeared in the independent film Lola Versus, released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in June 2012. In 2014, he had a small role in the buddy cop film Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, and appeared in the independent film Balls Out, a sport comedy starring fellow SNL cast members Beck Bennett and Kate McKinnon.
In 2016, he appeared in a commercial for Old Navy, alongside fellow SNL cast members Nasim Pedrad and Cecily Strong. On August 8, 2016, it was announced Pharaoh alongside fellow cast member Taran Killam would be exiting the show ahead of its 42nd season. Pharoah hosted the American Music Awards of 2016 with model Gigi Hadid. Pharoah has been working on his first album with record producer Myles William.