Armisen's impersonation, while good, drew some raised eyebrows because Armisen is of Venezuelan, German and Japanese descent, while the president is African-American. Pharoah, who is African-American, has stood out on "SNL" with impeccable impersonations of Denzel Washington, Jay-Z, and others. ("SNL" tends not to worry too much about the race of its impersonators: Darrell Hammond used to play Jesse Jackson.)
“Jay has been doing Obama in his act this summer, and Jay is coming into his own,” show creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Times. “I just thought it might be time to shake it up.”
Michaels added that as a 10-year-veteran of the show, Armisen, who also stars on IFC's "Portlandia," is “the backbone of the show now.”
"SNL" returns for its 38th season Saturday, with "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane hosting and musical guest Frank Ocean. One of Pharoah's impressions is of "Family Guy" character Stewie Griffin. We'll see if he gets to put it to use.
Watch Pharoah do a lot of impressions — including Stewie — very fast: