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. Bart

    It is totally appropriate that Obama be the feature person on SNL because he exemplifies a Stupid Narcissistic Liberal.
    SNL might trash the Eastwood skit, but the damage caused by Eastwood was to show the much ballyhoo comments by the liberal media of Eastwood backing Obama because of his appearance in a GM commercial during the Super Bowl was a LIE. Obama needs more than Sean Penn, George Clooney, Eva Longoria, and others to offset Eastwood. It is an accomplished actor/writer/director vesus marginal actors.

    September 14, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  2. 2tor

    They better hope he doesn't turn out to be republican too.

    September 14, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  3. Indy

    Gosh its too bad Jimmy Stewart is not alive he would have made a great Mittens Romney.Jay Pharoah is a rising star and it will be great to watch him play Obama for the next four years.Maybe Clint Eastwood can play Mitts

    September 14, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  4. SNL

    Good call. Fred has so many other characters he plays – Lawrence Welk, Prince, Liberace, the Latino talk show host, etc..so he won't be lacking for skits. Jay Pharoah impersonations of Denzel Washington & Eddie Murphy are dead on, I can't wait to see how he does President Obama. Plus, I expect to see more from the new cast member they added last year, aslo. Her Swedish Chelsea Handler & shampoo commercial skits were funny...

    September 14, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  5. Mammy

    Can't they find a Muslim mulatto to play him?

    September 14, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    myviewis wrote:

    ...Yeah, that's why we always have to rescue them and you have been to those countries to see how tiny they are, right??? I do come from Europe and they are tiny countries......
    --------------------------–
    Tiny? The US leads all nations spending $700B on national defense. The #2 country is China, which spends only $70B per year on national defense. It's time for you to change your avatar name again. You've worn this one out, Tarin.

    September 14, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  7. FedUp

    Obama needs to play himself. He does the comedian thing so well.

    September 14, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. Common sense grandma

    Good heavens, lighten up folks. This is SNL so drop the heavy-handed rhetoric for a few minutes and enjoy the prospect of laughing at ourselves.

    September 14, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Hopefully he wears a dunce cap!

    September 14, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. steve

    dude, they need to get donald glover on there. his obama impression is really on point

    September 14, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    @myviewis: "And Obama does not attend intel meetings........ "It appears that the middle east is still volatile". And Obama made deep cuts to the Defense Budget."

    Do claim that President Obama doesn't attend intel meetings is laughable! And the cuts that could be made to the Defense budget are a result of Repubs refusing to agree to the Boles-Simpson recommendations (which Ryan blocked) and the sequestration consequence. (BTW, the Defense increases called for by Mittens 'n' Munster are NOT requested by our military; I suspect they are just another giveaway to the likes of Halliburton.)

    You are a typical Repub, myviewis, who breaks something, cries about it, then blames someone else for your actions.

    September 14, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Vic vega

    SNL was too boring to watch... yes they made fun of Bush. But why don't they do the same for Obama? Don't tell me there isn't anything funny about him. If that is the argument then they need new writes or need to retire SNL.

    September 14, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. gt

    and the new york media ..the dnc..in bed together and they dont care who knows...

    September 14, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Have to hand it to you, CNN... the middle East is on fire, our embassys in 9 countries are under siege, and our economy is in the toilet... and you lead with a story on who's going to play Obama on SNL skits. Beautiful... just beautiful.

    September 14, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Seth

    Maybe he can act like Obama is a competent President – since it all make believe.

    September 14, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Rob Carter

    Vic vega

    SNL was too boring to watch... yes they made fun of Bush. But why don't they do the same for Obama? Don't tell me there isn't anything funny about him. If that is the argument then they need new writes or need to retire SNL.

    UMMM then don't watch!

    September 14, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. ana

    Fair is Fair, then why did you clicked on this link, dont you have a responsibility when the middle east is burning, reading about SNL shame on you.

    September 14, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    ana

    Fair is Fair, then why did you clicked on this link, dont you have a responsibility when the middle east is burning, reading about SNL shame on you.
    ------
    To vent at CNN for putting trivial entertainment garbage on a political section of their website. And by the way... spell ckecker works wonders on both spelling AND grammar.

    September 14, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. JBB

    I didn't even know this lame show was still on the air...I thought it was cancelled due to lack of interest.

    September 14, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Nick Fehn

    As a lifelong SNL fan, I laugh to see people make negative comments simply because they don't get it. I mean, negativity, in and of itself, if juxtaposed with, say, other ideas, is just another way of saying something else, like, maybe that things are not to be understood if not fully explained, other than temporally. Last year, Florence and the Machine live, and, what would say if, like, her band and her voice, in a small room with stained-glass windows, and not a lot of light show or other stuff, would try to imitate the real world, and not other worlds but right here and right now? I have some thoughts about this, and if you were to ask just one question; that question would have to be considered wholly or in part, in light of the current events, and it was Lorne Micheals. Yes!

    September 14, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Name

    dose the color yellow help

    September 14, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "To vent at CNN for putting trivial entertainment garbage on a political section of their website. And by the way... spell ckecker works wonders on both spelling AND grammar."

    You might give spell c(h)ecker a try yourself, Fair. Oh, btw. I have a great deal of confidence in the American people. We can handle the tense moments and the comedic moments simultaneously.

    September 14, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Indy

    Whome

    Is SNL still on and does anyone with an IQ above 69 or not burned out on drugs watch it?

    SNL is still on and they have some major talent on the show,the burnt out druggies with an IQ below 69 are all watching Fox SNews with a side of paranoia

    September 14, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. United Nations Archives and Records Management

    FoxNews is owned by the famously Australian Rupert Murdoch. Yes, it is very provably foreign-owned.

    September 14, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. CNNidegaz

    What? We don't have enough comedians playing the role of President?

    September 14, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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