Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Jay Pharoah on the ‘Fun and Honor’ of Playing Obama for ‘Supermansion: Summer Vacation’ [EUR Exclusive]

Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama

*Since exploding on the scene as the breakout star of “Saturday Night Live” during it’s 2010 season, Jay Pharoah has become known for many things – acting in movies like “Ride Along” and doing uncanny impressions of stars as varied and huge as Will Smith, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Kanye West, Stephen A. Smith and Denzel Washington.

But he is best known for his uncanny impression of former President Barack Obama.

So when the producers of Sony Crackle’s Supermansion: Summer Vacation Special – which was just released last month on the streaming service – the opportunity to once again voice our 44th Commander In Chief proved too good for the comedian to pass up.

“President Obama is still so beloved,” said Pharoah to EUR/Electronic Urban Report in an exclusive interview. “It’s fun and an honor to play him.”

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Sony Crackle "Supermansion: Summer Vacation"

Pharoah also said it was fun inserting his Obama in the wacky “Supermansion” world, which consists of a superhero group called The League of Freedom that is led by the aging superhero Titanium Rex, and that also includes fellow superheroes Black Saturn, American Ranger, Robobot and Cooch and their fight to not only defeat villains but stay relevant.

“The show is funny. So, when you consider that and that I got to play President Obama and interact with Bryan Cranston’s character – well it was a no-brainer”, said Pharoah.

While this satirical take on superheroes is middling at best – sorry, many of the supposed funny lines don’t work. This is due in large part to Zeb Wells, who wrote, produced and even voices Robobot.

However, just as then President-elect Obama’s mere appearance in the “Amazing Spider-Man” comic book turned a mediocre story by Wells into the top-selling comic of last decade, Pharoah’s Obama makes “Supermansion: Summer Vacation Special” memorable.

Though, Pharoah says that he never got to meet any of the other actors while doing his choice work, he says that there was strong comedic chemistry between Bryan Cranston’s Titanium Rex and his Obama.

Indeed, the pair provide the biggest laughs in the special.

For example, when the notoriously cheap Rex says he’s sipping his 12-dollar drink and Obama says “I’ve got this one”, Rex immediately replies, ‘Bottoms up!”. Later in the conversation, when Obama orders eight drinks and says, “What do you say we take this up a notch?” and Rex replies, “As long as you’re buying, yes we can!”

Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama

Pharoah’s Obama really cuts loose in the Special. He smokes pot, jokes about flashing a bouncer “my Kenyan Drivers’ License”, fights like a ninja and joins Rex in riding jet skis to save the day.

In fact, the only thing Obama seems to fear is his wife catching him sowing his wild oats, which is conveyed brilliantly in both the animation and Pharoah’s voice, in a running gag.

“Yeah, that’s to me the funniest part,” concluded Pharoah laughing. “That even being the former most powerful man in the world and with all he does in the episode, including fighting ninjas, and he’s still on the lookout and worried about Michelle. That’s funny.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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