Jay Pharoah is one of the funniest guys in the business, but the comedian and actor shared a serious side to Jennifer Hudson while discussing his friend, Michael K. Williams, who passed away in 2021.
The former “SNL” cast member told Jennifer on Monday’s episode of “The Jennifer Hudson Show” that he went to the premiere of her movie “Respect” in August 2021, and that was the last time he saw Michael in person.
“That was the last time I got to see Michael K. Williams. That was my friend,” he said. “He was embracing Marlon [Wayans], and they were having that moment. And I thought to myself, ‘I’ma see him later.”’
“Then I heard what happened to him, man, and I didn’t get to say bye.”
Jay shares some hard-earned advice to the audience: “Make sure you tell people that you love them, because you don’t know who’s gonna be there today or tomorrow.”
Later in the interview, JHud and Jay bonded over their shared experience of lending their voice talents to the animated movie “Sing” — although Jennifer couldn’t remember what animal she even voiced, and only recently found out that she and Jay were in the same movie!
“I don’t even know what I was,” said JHud. “I think I was a sheep.” (For the record, she voiced the younger version of Nana Noodleman, who is indeed a sheep.)
Jay voiced a grandpa elephant in the film, and based the voice of the character on his own grandfather. “I’ve known that voice for years,” he said before launching into an impression of his grandpa.
How Jay approaches impressions of stars like Eddie Murphy
Jay, who is a master impressionist, also delivered some jaw-dropping impressions of celebrities including Steve Harvey, President Obama and President Biden, Kevin Hart, and Denzel Washington, as well as JHud’s “Dreamgirls” co-stars Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.
Jay shared a bit of insight into how he gets into character for his many impressions. “As soon as you get the face, you can get right into it,” he said.
A wide-eyed Jennifer was blown away by Jay’s skills. “Man, I don’t want it to end!” she declared.
But it was Jay who was blown away by the fact that JHud even knew who he was. “I didn’t even know that you knew I existed!” he said. “You got an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Tony… I’m just trying to be like you!”
“I got a TV along with the EGOT,” she replied, laughing. “I’m a fan!”