Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jay's Way

On Saturday Night Live, during the years when Lorne Michaels wasn't there, the two biggest names were Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo.  They were both known for their impressions, but Murphy went on to be maybe the biggest star the show ever produced, while Piscopo, though you could admire the technique behind his work, didn't have the comic life that Murphy offered.

Jay Pharoah, who turns 28 today, is now starting his sixth season on Saturday Night Live, and seems to be falling into the Piscopo camp.  He is known for his impressions, but has yet to make a big impression otherwise.  I recently watched his Showtime stand-up special Jay Pharoah: Can I Be Me? to see if he had anything to offer on his own.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look like he's got much beyond sounding like others.

He's energetic and professional enough that the proceedings don't flag, but his observations aren't particularly witty or incisive, and you end up waiting for the next impression.  Along the way, we get his Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle (he's better doing other comedians being funny than he is being funny himself), Kanye West, Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, Jay Z, Will Smith and, sure enough, Eddie Murphy.  But while the work is flashy, there's no depth, and not much originality.

So it appears, at least for now, Pharoah, though undeniably talented, isn't a major talent.  He's found plenty of other people entertaining, and can show you why, but he hasn't yet found himself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Piscopo dropped out due to cocaine and steroids. He was as funny as some of these others that have survived for years in bit roles and Adam Sandler movies

11:40 AM, October 14, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

He did some other work and starred in a movie, but never impressed the audience much after he left SNL, whereas Eddie's career went like a rocket.

12:38 PM, October 14, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Johnny Dangerously: "You shouldn't grab me, Johnny. My mother grabbed me once. Once!"

Excellent parody of gangster films, imho.

4:39 PM, October 14, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

You Guys are all a bunch of fargin iceholes.

12:10 AM, October 15, 2015  

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