Jay Pharoah is opening up about his departure from NBC’s Saturday Night Live after starring in the series for six seasons. In an interview with Hot 97, he accused the network of trying to “put people in a box.” He said, “You go where you’re appreciated. 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.’”
The funny man continued, “They put people into boxes and whatever they want you to do, they expect you to do. And I’m fiery. I’m not a yes n***a.” Pharoah says that he was put into an “impression box,” where he was asked to do all the Black impressions. Also, when he asked to do certain bits, such as wearing a dress, he wasn’t afraid to say no.
He added, “If you really noticed, for the last year and a half, they didn’t do any Obama sketches at all. I was like, ‘Just let me do my character, and we’ll be fine.’ They didn’t want to do that.” As for the numerous celebrity cameos this season, Jay added, “No disrespect to them, but I kind of feel like they gave up, gave up on the Obama thing, I think it was just a whatever attitude.”
Despite his critique of the show, Jay Pharoah insists that he still has a good relationship with SNL creator Lorne Michaels.