Fred Armisen will still get to play Prince and Manuel Ortiz and Nicholas Fehn and the “What’s Up With That” sax player on “Saturday Night Live.” But he’s surrendering the role of Barack Obama to newer cast member Jay Pharoah, according to SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels.
Pharoah has long done a much better Obama than Armisen, so the only question is why this took so long.
Michaels also hinted that Bill Hader would dust off his Clint Eastwood impression and Taran Killam would likely play GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan.
SNL has a long tradition of passing presidents along to various cast members.
Ronald Reagan was played on the show by Harry Shearer, Joe Piscopo, Randy Quaid and Phil Hartman.
Bill Clinton was played by Phil Hartman, Michael McKean and Darrell Hammond.
George W. Bush was played by Darrell Hammond, Will Ferrell, Chris Parnell, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis.
SNL launches its 38th season Saturday, with its first 2012 political special following one week from today.
Find the New York Times’ story on the matter here.