Jay Pharoah is putting his “Saturday Night Live” days firmly behind him in an effort to become “White Famous.” The latter is the title of his upcoming Showtime series based on the experiences of Jamie Foxx which sees Pharoh as comic Floyd Mooney venturing toward white audiences while trying to remain true to his blackness.
Premiering later this month, Pharoh’s involvement in “White Famous” came not long after SNL higher-ups decided not to have him back for its 43rd season.
“Transitions go on at the show,” he told UsWeekly in November 2016. “The show’s a constantly evolving place. You have to do that. I was cool, you know? Everything is so smooth, that it was just like, ‘Yeah, man, let’s just do it.’ And then I found out I’m doing ‘White Famous,’ I was like, ‘Great! Yeah, I want to do that! That’s something I can see as a next step.’ Everything just worked out together, and it was cool.”
However, Pharoah made his true thoughts known earlier this year indicating things weren’t always so smooth between him and the NBC show’s staff.
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“You go where you’re appreciated,” he told Hot 97’s “Embro in the Morning” in April. “I think they put people into boxes and whatever they want you to do, [they] expect you to do. I’m fiery, I’m not like one of those … I’m not a ‘yes n—–.’ So, that’s not me.”
One piece of contention was Pharoh’s unwillingness to wear a dress for an SNL sketch. Now, it seems that has come full circle in the debut episode of “White Famous.”
“There’s always been the thing [for comedians] of like, should you wear a dress?” Foxx told Entertainment Tonight in a teaser for the pilot dropping Oct. 15. “Like me wearing a dress when I played Wanda [on “In Living Color”], Martin [Lawrence as Sheneneh on “Martin”], all of the great comics that have done it, but … some come at you like, ‘Yo, man. You had to wear dress, you had to sell out.’ So [you see] me in the pilot episode trying to see if [Jay] will compromise and wear the dress. Every comedian out there … they’re going to understand what that is. And we’re showing the world what it really is.”
If you can’t wait to see the episode, Showtime has released the full NSFW pilot online.