Eight months after NBC confirmed Jay Pharoah would be leaving “Saturday Night Live,” he is speaking out about the experiences that preceded his termination, including his refusal to wear a dress.
“You go where you’re appreciated,” Pharoah tells Hot 97’s “Embro in the Morning Friday, April 14.
After noting other cast members felt he was underutilized, Pharoah said he feels SNL places limits on its stars.
“I think they put people into boxes and whatever they want you to do, [they] expect you to do,” he says. “I’m fiery, I’m not like one of those … I’m not a ‘yes’ n—–. So, that’s not me.
“‘Oh we’ve got this great idea where you put on a dress.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not doing that,'” Pharoah says. “‘What? What do you mean you’re not doing that?’ ‘I mean I’m not putting on a dress. I’m not gon’ get no tweets from David Banner. He was like, ‘Yo man, don’t put on no dress.’ I was like, ‘All right, cool. I got you, David.’ I ain’t never do it. I was like, ‘No.'”
Pharoah, who is set to star in the Showtime comedy series “White Famous” based on Jamie Foxx’s experiences getting into the industry, added that he was relegated to impressions of Black celebrities like Jay Z, Chris Rock, Barack Obama and Ben Carson.
“[I feel like they] gave up on the Obama thing,” Pharoah says. “I honest to God feel like they stopped and especially for me it was like, ‘All right, cool. Whatever.'”
Pharoah said SNL was ready to let him go once it brought on Black women writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones after hiring Sasheer Zamata, a Black female cast member, in 2014.
“I think me speaking up, they were ready to get rid of me [in] 2013, September,” Pharoah says of his remarks to for SNL to hire Black comediennes.
Pharoah maintained that despite his outspokenness, he and SNL creator Lorne Michaels have no issues with one another.
“It ain’t no beef with Lorne,” he says. “We on good graces.”