Some big changes will be on display when Saturday Night Live (SNL) returns for a 38th season this weekend. In addition to three newcomers to the cast, funnyman Jay Pharoah will be taking over the plum Barack Obama role from series veteran Fred Armisen.
Armisen, 45, has impersonated the president on the sketch comedy classic since 2008. It was SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels who decided to elect a new Obama.
“Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer and Jay is coming into his own, I just thought it might be time to shake it up,” Michaels told The New York Times Wednesday.
Pharoah, 24, joined the SNL fold in 2010. His spot-on impressions of Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Jay-Z and Will Smith have made him a cast standout.
Jason Sudeikis — who will remain with the show at least until the end of the year — will continue to play Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney, as well as Vice President Joe Biden.