Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah performed a stand-up set at SIUE's Meridian Ballroom.

EDWARDSVILLE – Outspoken, unafraid and incredibly hilarious.

If one could sum up Saturday Night Live comedian Jay Pharoah at his stand-up performance this Thursday at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, these words, along with some of their more profane friends, would certainly be included in the vernacular.

Wrapping up SIUE’s Springfest, otherwise known as their spring homecoming celebrations, Pharoah hitting the stage was a perfect fit before the anticipation for finals week in early May and the numerous other activities on campus.

Blasting Justin Bieber’s “Where R U” as he walked onstage to the intimate but incredibly receptive Meridian Ballroom crowd, he mentioned that the artist’s album “totally redeemed him in the eyes of black people,” as he began screaming the “beat drop” portion of the electronic dance music-inspired record. He walked in the front row and practically shrieked the music into the audience.

Kicking off the show with a great ice breaker, Pharoah went into his experience heading into St. Louis the same day after a series of technical difficulties on flights, bad airline club bloody mary’s and hearing the news of recording artist Prince’s death.

Spanning topics from crazy ex-girlfriends, bad Uber drivers, overprotective parents, bullying, college hook-ups, to meeting his idols his love for music and cherishing the time we have with our family and friends, no stone went unturned during his set.

No one was safe from the jokes of Jay Pharoah at his stand-up set at SIUE.As most popular comedians in American culture, Pharoah mentioned that sometimes, you couldn’t step on certain toes in regard to particular topics.

However, the comedian was simply an equal-opportunity jokester, bringing up the gender transition of Caitlyn Jenner, the alleged drugging by Bill Cosby, and ensuing laughter with dozens of stereotypical impressions.

Among probably two of the most spot-on “white girl at a party” or Lil Wayne impressions, Pharoah tossed in a pitch for one of his Barack Obama sketches for Saturday Night Live. Pharoah asked the audience to keep the idea under raps so that he could pitch it to producers and writers for the show.

“Don’t tweet that,” he said.  

While in the middle of a bit during his set, three students started heading out of the ballroom, Pharoah’s self-proclaimed A.D.D. kicked in as he ran off stage, dropped his microphone and chased after the group.

After walking back in laughing, Pharoah said “The girls were like, ‘oh, he has to go, he has a test… but can we take a selfie?’”

“I was like, ‘nah! I got a set to finish!’” he laughed.

After his stand-up show was finished, Pharoah was able to give even more of a gift back to his audience by taking selfies and photos with anyone who requested, solidifying the fact that not only was Pharoah a hilarious stand-up comedian, he's a stand-up guy as well. 


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To contact Madelaine Gerard, contact or call 618-465-9850 at ext. 235.

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