Jay Pharaoh finally performs at U.
Neko White, a comedian from Harlem, N.Y., opened for Jay Pharaoh of “Saturday Night Live” last night in front of a nearly full Trayes Hall at the Douglass Campus Center.
White’s act was well received, and when he announced Pharaoh, the audience’s applause was raucous.
“You know him from ‘Ride Along’ and ‘Saturday Night Live,’” White said. “Are you ready for Jay Pharaoh?”
Pharaoh stepped on a blue-lit stage with a pair of sunglasses and said he was recovering from optical surgery. Since he missed his scheduled visit last year, he refused to stay home.
“You miss work twice, you’re going to get fired. You miss court twice, you’re going to jail,” he said. “I figured I can’t miss this … again.”
Pharaoh joked about everything from race to women and exhibited what he best is known for: his impressions. Among them were comedian Katt Williams, President Barack Obama and rapper Jay-Z.
At one point Pharaoh blasted Kanye West and said he was compensating for his short stature. He said West had a Napoleon complex and proceeded to compare West to a feisty Chihuahua.
“It transcends species,” he said. “You ever see a Chihuahua try and fight a Rottweiler?”
Pharaoh said in a press conference following the show that it was petrifying to start off his career as a 15 year old.
His dad was the one who wrote all the jokes, so he felt like his father was the one telling them.
Pharaoh would still go back to those terrifying years, despite the nerves.
“Would I do it again? Yes, I would, but one negative — I was a fat kid,” he said. “Would I want to relive the experience? Yes. But I would take the fat kid part out.”
He said being on “Saturday Night Live” has been incredible and the cast is like a big family, including all of the dysfunction of the average household.
“It’s the greatest experience in the world. It’s like having cousins, brothers and sisters that you get in grudge matches with,” he said. “You know, it’s competitive. Who gets the last piece of chicken? I do.”
The high point of his career was a sold-out New York show, where he received a standing ovation. He said bringing along young comedians like White was his way of throwing the spotlight on the next generation of comedians.
Pharaoh’s future goals include some upcoming movies with big names like Bryan Cranston, Chris Rock and Kevin Hart.
White said he began comedy in the ninth grade because a friend of his was funnier and he could not handle it — thus began his career performing in comedy clubs like Comic Strip Live in New York seven years ago, which helped him realize his potential as a comedian.
“I’m living the dream, man,” he said. “I’m 20 years old, and I get to do what I love, and I can come around crowds like this. You guys were amazing.”
Kelley Groh, assistant director of RUPA’s comedy and media committee, said the process began last semester by brainstorming about what kind of comedy show to put on.
From there they contacted their agent, who then contacted Pharaoh directly, said Groh, a Rutgers Business School junior.
“Then there’s a bidding process and a contract process, along with day-to-day things to make sure everything goes smoothly,” she said.
She said she felt the show went well and hoped that everyone had a good time.
Kristen Huang, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, won a meet-and-greet with Pharaoh after the show by tweeting at RUPA’s Twitter handle.
Huang said it was “pretty awesome” to get to meet Pharaoh.
“[The show] was so much fun,” she said. “Straight through from Neko to Jay Pharaoh, it was amazing.