Review: Saturday Night Live comedian Jay Pharoah performs at FAU

Regina Kaza

Pharoah’s many celebrity impersonations kept students staying until the very end. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

The last time comedian Jay Pharoah smoked weed, he drove around looking for his car keys.

That was just one of the jokes Pharoah told over 1,500 FAU students on Friday, Aug. 24. in the Carole & Barry Kaye Auditorium for Weeks of Welcome. Before the show started, Owl Radio’s DJ Thunder mixed pop singles. This is the second time Program Board tried to get Pharoah to FAU and finally did for $11,000, according to Program Board Director Lexi Rosario. He has worked alongside Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live and is famous for his impersonations of famous celebrities like President Barack Obama and Jay-Z.

The show started around 9 p.m. as two opening acts warmed the crowd up before Pharoah performed. Ralph LaGuerre, a stand up regular at the Funky Buddha Lounge, kicked off the show and Quincy Carr, a comedian who recently opened up for Kevin Hart, psyched up Pharoah’s crowd.

“It was fun, students were great, overall it was a great show,” LaGuerre said. He called out different class years to the audience. Freshmen yelled back louder than all the sophomores, juniors and seniors. “We’re not giving away free T-shirts, calm down,” he laughed.

Along with impersonations, all three acts had racial jokes and playful jabs at people with disabilities. Although reactions were mixed at times, most of the audience laughed at each performer’s punchlines.

“His comedy was really blunt, really out there,” Chloe Parson, a sophomore business major, said. “I liked it.”

At one point Carr made a joke about the Colorado shooting during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, which gave students mixed reactions.

The opening act prepared the audience for a night full of comedy. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

“That shit that happened in Colorado,” Carr joked. “Never would have happened if the suspect was black.”

“That’s not funny,” one student in the audience mumbled.

The jokes that got the most laughs were about Facebook, getting your picture taken at traffic lights, and problems with stuttering. Despite the few uncomfortable laughs, Carr warmed up the crowd for Pharoah and kept students stomach’s in knots from laughing so hard.

And then Pharoah danced out from behind the curtain and onto the stage like he owned it. He acted out over 20 impersonations for over an hour of famous celebrities ranging from Will Smith to Nicholas Cage, and then the entire cast of Family Guy.

“I love it here,” Pharoah said. “You’ve got some beautiful women here.” Towards the end of his one hour stand up, a thunderstorm outside could be heard through the auditorium.

“I just hate when stuff gets called racist and it’s not racist,” Pharoah started. “That Trayvon Martin case, let’s break it down.” That’s when he paused for the audience’s reaction and instead heard a loud roar of thunder. The audience burst out laughing.

“Even God was like ‘Don’t talk about that,’” he joked.

Pharoah finished up with some freestyle raps of nursery rhymes about Humpty Dumpty and Froot Loops cereal that left the audience cracking up.

Adam Simon, a sophomore business major, thought bringing Pharoah to FAU was a real improvement compared to last year when FAU had Josh Blue, Tony Roberts and Brandon Jackson perform. “The show was definitely better than last year,” he said. “I thought Jay lived up to the hype.”

“I thought it was really good,” said Kathryn Dunkley, a sophomore accounting major. “They should have more events like this.”