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Jay Pharoah 

When: Thu., Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Aug. 5, 7:30 & 9:45 p.m., Sat., Aug. 6, 7 & 9 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m. 2011
Price: $20
I’m the world’s biggest Saturday Night Live apologist, but here’s something even I don’t get about SNL. About a season or so ago, they hired comedian Jay Pharoah to assume the all-important “skinny black guy” utility role (also known as the “Tim Meadows”) that had been vacant since Finesse Mitchell left the show in 2006. Best known as an impressionist, Pharoah has a collection of, by his count, upwards of 75 celebrity voices in his repertoire, including Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Jay-Z and the most spot-on Barack Obama I’ve ever heard. And yet, nearly every week, SNL is still doing up Fred Armisen in blackface to do a mediocre parody of the president. To paraphrase a Kenan Thompson sketch, what up with that? Pharoah’s stand-up tour lands in Nashville for an extended engagement through Sunday, where he’ll be doing all of those impressions you haven’t heard in Gilly sketches yet.
— Lance Conzett

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