Saturday Night Live Taps Black Actor to Play Obama

Creator Lorne Michaels says it's time to shake things up.

Posted: 09/13/2012 03:22 PM EDT
Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharaoh

How’s this for change you can believe in? An African-American actor will play the role of President Obama in the upcoming season of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.

It has taken a few years, but Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator, has tapped Jay Pharoah, who joined the cast in 2010, to portray the nation’s first Black president. Fred Armisen, who is of Venezuelan, German and Japanese descent, has filled the role since 2008.

“Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer, and Jay is coming into his own,” Michaels told The New York Times. “I just thought it might be time to shake it up.”

But, he acknowledged, it won’t be easy and the show is still struggling to figure out a comedy hook for the president.

“[Pharoah] wants to think it through, do it in the fairest way possible and be thoughtful,” Michaels said, adding that Republican Mitt Romney is “easy to play because of that caution of his.”


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(Photo:  Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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