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'SNL' Star Jay Pharoah Tells Us Kristen Wiig & Andy Samberg 'Will Both Be Missed'

Wed, June 6, 2012 1:53pm EDT by Andy Swift Add first Comment

Plus, have you ever wondered how Jay’s unreal Jay-Z impression came about? He explained that, too.

While there’s no doubt Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg will be missed when Saturday Night Live returns in the fall, the weekend staple’s remaining cast members are choosing to look at their departures as a chance to show the audience something new. “It’s sad,” Jay Pharoah told on June 5 at The Cinema Society’s screening of Jay’s new movie Lola Versus, sponsored by Brooks Brothers and Grey Goose. “I’m going to miss them, but you know, it gives the opportunity for the rest of us to show our chops.”

Jay, 24, says filling Kristen and Andy’s shoes will be a group effort, but he’s convinced the SNL cast members are up for the challenge.

“There’s a lot of talent in our cast right now, and I think we’ll all get our spot,” he said. “Now as far as the fans go, they’re going to hate or love us, but I think we’re all the future. … Kristin pretty much ran [the show] and she got to do a lot of things. And Andy basically changed the fabric of the show with the digital shorts. I think both of them are valuable assets, and they will both be missed equally.”

And while we had Jay’s ear, we couldn’t help but ask him about his epic Jay-Z impression. Though he said he hasn’t heard anything directly about Jay-Z’s response to it, he did explain how it came about in the first place.

“I didn’t have any friends, and that caused me to just dive into this ‘character world’ and pull out all these characters from my back pocket,” he said. “So, I don’t know. It’s just trial and error. Some of them you’re going to try, and at first, you’re not going to get. Every one is a progression.”

Well said, Jay. Well said.

— Written by Andy Swift, Reporting by Jenny Pickard