Live from New York, it's... different actor to play Obama
September 13th, 2012
04:21 PM ET
2 years ago

Live from New York, it's... different actor to play Obama

(CNN) - The role of President Barack Obama will be played by a different actor this season on the comedy program "Saturday Night Live," the show's head writer said Thursday.

In an interview on NBC's "Today Show," writer Seth Meyers acknowledged that Jay Pharoah, who is in his third year on the program, would be playing the president, while the actor who has played Obama since 2008, Fred Armisen, will continue on the show.

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Meyers declined to name who would play the role of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who did not have a regular profile on the show prior to his joining the Republican ticket this summer.

Jason Sudeikis, the actor who has played both Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden, is returning to "SNL" this year, Meyers acknowledged, saying it would be "a bad thing if the two of them ever had to debate each other" on the comedy show.

The show opens its 38th season on Saturday.

Meyers also said in the interview that the show team is looking forward to the series of high-profile debates between the nation's top candidates, which begin in October.

"We'll be very excited when the debates happen," he said. "It's very nice when there's something the entire country is paying attention to."

He also wished the show was running episodes, rather than on a summer hiatus, during the political conventions, which wrapped up earlier this month.

"By Saturday, I don't know what from the conventions people will still remember," he said, adding any convention references would have to be "broad strokes as opposed to about the minutiae"

One of the most mockable moments, he suggested was "when a renowned actor and director talks to an empty chair." Actor Clint Eastwood preceded Mitt Romney's introducer and acceptance address at the Republican National Convention with a speech some characterized as rambling, and which Eastwood acknowledged was inspired only shortly before he stepped onstage.

Will any shows in the eight weeks remaining before the election feature a cameo from one of the presidential candidates himself? Meyers didn't say, but did offer a spot on stage to any of the candidates.

"We would take all of the candidates, every one," he said. "Even, like, lower level comptroller, on a local level."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New York • President Obama
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. truth hurts

    Why did they need to replace the guy that portrays him now? Did he get sick of portraying a lying loser?

    September 14, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. dontbow

    they could find an indonesian to play him probably. lol

    September 14, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. dontbow

    whever they choose, he will have to be a good lier.

    September 14, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. just sayin

    should be easy to find a replacement given the high level of black unemployment.

    September 14, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. parnell in canada

    The piece was about a comedy show. Can you folks not lighten up for one minute??!!

    September 14, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. Charlie

    About time! Jay's Obama is at least 50X better than Fred's – I never, ever, understood why the let Fred do it when Jay is clearly far more dead with the voice and mannerisms. Best decision in a while – can't wait for the premiere.

    September 14, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. Charlie

    About time! Jay's Obama is at least 50X better than Fred's – I never, ever, understood why the let Fred do it when Jay is clearly far more dead on with the voice and mannerisms. Best decision in a while – can't wait for the premiere.

    September 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. BobInIrvine

    And the Foxtards are invading the comment section.

    September 14, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Rasmussen has Romney up over the uhbama, 48-45.

    Romney/Ryan-The only trusted way forward.

    September 14, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Bob

    Pharoah is a really skilled impressionist, should be good!

    September 14, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Tom

    Why do right-wingers insist on misspelling words? It's "liar," genius!

    September 14, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    truth hurts

    >The Real Tom Paine – I was under the impression that the GOP embraced self-interest as the greatest virtue ever

    Wow... pretty uneducated there Tommy. Conservative embrace self SUFFICIENCY, not self interest. Self interest is the entire basis of the leftist/union approach. You see it in Chicago. How much can they take, take, take. A 16% increase over the next 4 years???!! But the BIG problem they have is being held accountable and removing bad teachers. That is whta they are striking over. Their benefits and agreed to increases are not the issue. They are striking to keep BAD TEACHERS on the job.
    *****************************************
    You never made a peep about that, only made your usual bile. As for self-sufficiency, please.....the Right thrives on the illusion that tax breaks for the wealthy make everyone happy. Everything your lot have done over the last 30 years has been designed to build the wealthy on the backs of the middle class, and you have the ignorance to depict that as "self-sufficiency"? Middle-class incomes have remained stagnant, while your plutocrat friends export jobs and pocket the saving long enough to ship it into offshore accounts. Voting conservative decreases the opportunities people have to become wealthy. I don't agree with the idea of keeping bad teachers, but since you don't offer any solutions to make their conditions better, your comments are, as usual, worthless tripe. FYI, self-interest form the basis of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's contribution to conservative "thought": I'm surprised you have not been embracing it as your new God.

    September 14, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. kurtinco

    It might have been a more complete story if CNN would answer one of the most basic questions journalists typically ask: why?

    (Remember who, what, when, where, and how? Jeez.)

    September 14, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. kurtinco

    No, YOUR comment is awaiting moderation.

    September 14, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. John

    This Jay Pharoah is amazing, very talented.

    September 14, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Will any shows in the eight weeks remaining before the election feature a cameo from one of the presidential candidates himself? Meyers didn't say, but did offer a spot on stage to any of the candidates.
    ---------------------------
    Does anyone remember the appearance Palin made in 2008? I loved the "Weekend Update" skit, with the rap song.

    September 14, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Mikey

    Someone said, "Rasmussen has Romney up over the uhbama, 48-45."
    ********************************************************************
    First, Rasmussen is consistently about 5 points off in favor of the GOP. Their number will occasionally move absurdly to the right to prevent the poll averages from moving too much.

    Second, he is Mr. President or President Obama to you – unless, of course, you are not a patriotic American.

    Third, you screen name is an out-of-context dig at the President, which has been discredited numerous times, which tell us all just how much stock we should put in anything you say.

    September 14, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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