Do you have to be black to play Obama?


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The Independent Online

In the US political impersonations on the long-running sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL), are a Very. Big. Deal. Witness how Tina Fey's uncannily accurate take-off of Sarah Palin dealt the final blow to the latter's credibility as her party's VP nomination.

So it's no idle speculation to wonder how the replacement of Fred Armisen (Venezuelan-German-Japanese-American) with Jay Pharoah (African-America) as SNL's go-to Obama impersonator will play nationwide.

"The more interesting question than how accurate the impression will be is what qualities of the president's Pharoah will bring out," writes David Haglund in Slate. "Armisen mostly captured Obama's nerdy side, a quality that Lorne Michaels emphasized in revealing the switch to Pharoah in the upcoming season. But if these clips are any indication, Pharoah may highlight the president's well documented swagger."