November 12, 2012

Jay Pharoah’s Not a Punk; He’s a Survivor

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On Sunday, a little part of Saturday Night Live arrived (again) to our very own campus in Ithaca. Thanks to the Cornell University Program Board, Jay Pharoah delivered a stand-up comedy show at the Statler Auditorium on Sunday evening. As soon as Pharoah walked onto the stage, the audience knew what it was in for; it gave him a thunderous applause that was matched later when he did his first impersonation of the night, a highly accurate one of Chris Rock. Pharoah joined the SNL cast two seasons ago and is known for his remarkable impersonation skills. He nailed many throughout the night, including, but not limited to, Tracy Morgan, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington and Matthew McConaughey (the only one that was sub-impeccable, which he himself admitted).

Pharoah opened the show with racial jokes in order to gauge the demographics of the night’s audience and continued to effortlessly lampoon stereotypes in ways that I never would have been able to think of (props, Jay!). According to him, black women talk with their hands, as if they are trying to “pull a conversation out of the air,” and he himself, as a black man, is “not a punk, [he’s] a survivor.” As he joked about the different racial groups, Pharoah sprinkled impersonations in here and there, but it was only halfway through when they became the crux of his act. Pharoah finally did the impersonation we were all waiting for – Barack Obama, the Prez himself. As the President, Pharoah creatively redefined the meaning the “head of state” when asserting his theory that Michelle and Barack Obama were busy being man and woman, delaying his appearance on stage for his victory speech.

Later into the evening, Pharoah explained his penchant for impersonations. You see, when he was younger, he just had a lot of voices in his head, and he would talk to them. And that’s why he never had any friends. People thought he was weird. I probably would’ve thought he was weird, too. But hey, look at him now. Joke’s on us.

For those of you in love with Pharoah, he also divulged his romantic fantasy (read: listen up, ladies). He confessed he would love to spend a night with Raven-Symoné and imagined how she would swoop him up into her arms, carry him up to the bedroom, kick open the door and drop her pants, at which point The Lion King’s “The Circle of Life” would play. This was one of my favorite moments in the show; I’ve always had a fantasy that when I dropped my underwear, The Lion King would start playing too, Jay!

At 8:31 p.m., after approximately an hour, Pharoah finished his show.

But wait, this guy was still not done. For the next five minutes, Pharoah rapped freestyle. He had to warm up to the impromptu subject first (someone yelled at him to rap about Cornell), but as the rap progressed, Pharoah scored many ooh’s and aah’s. I would write what his rap was about, but I had no idea what he was saying.

As Pharoah left the stage, he requested his audience to tweet about the show if they liked it. For those of you who have read nothing in this 700 word review, here’s the twitter-version summary of all the things I learned from Jay Pharaoh: “rock” means crack, smart phones are from Satan and Blue Ivy will grow up hating her name.

Correction: This article incorrectly stated that Jay Pharoah joined the cast of Saturday Night Live this season. In fact, he joined the cast for the 36th season, two seasons ago.

Original Author: Danyoung Kim