Jay Pharoah shows off the Will Smith and Eddie Murphy impressions that landed him SNL
In a new episode of PeopleTV's Couch Surfing series, Jay Pharoah showed off the impressions of the two actors that landed him a starring role on Saturday Night Live. When asked what he did in his audition for the long-running sketch comedy show, Pharoah said, "I did six impressions of two characters. I did Will Smith as a New York tour guide, and I did Eddie Murphy in a library." Pharoah appeared on the NBC show from 2010-2016.
After giving Couch Surfing host Lola Ogunnaike a taste of the impressions, he explained the key to mastering an impersonation. "The key to it is to never feel like you’ve mastered it, so you always give the illusion of the first time," he explained. "Shakespeare has that quote. He said, 'When you’re doing something, have the illusion of the first time.' So every time I do it, and every time I look at these people, I try to find new nuances and whatever about them."
He added, "And, you know, I never feel like I one hundred percent get them, but even if people tell me I do, I’m like, 'Nah, I still got more work to do.'"
To check out his hilarious impersonations of Smith and Murphy, watch the video above, and watch his full Couch Surfing episode on PeopleTV.