Jay Pharoah is pretty excited for the premiere of his new show White Famous. The show features the former SNL castmember in the starring role of Floyd Mooney, an up-and-coming LA comedian who’s attempting to crossover into mainstream success to become, in the words of his agent, “white famous.” The show is based on the experiences of Jamie Foxx, who serves as executive producer and has a recurring role. It premieres this Sunday on Showtime. Jay Pharoah spoke to CBS Local about what we can expect from the series.
The series premiere of White Famous is this Sunday, which is really exciting. Can you tell me about what drew you to this role?
When I read the script, I connected it immediately because he’s a character that doesn’t want to give up on his morals. He wants to make sure everyone’s taking care of, and he’s got a good heart. I feel like we connected on those levels. I care about folks on my team. I want everyone to do well. I don’t think you have to lower yourself for fame, so I think we connected right there. I think he’s dope. I love Floyd.
How would you define “white famous”?
“White famous” is a term that means just being known by everybody. Crossing that level of fame. There’s some good people you probably aren’t exposed to because they’re still trying to break through that barrier. Then you have people who break through those barriers — your Eddie Murphys, your Chris Rocks. Even Hannibal Buress. Whoever you want to talk about who’s been on that underground burn who has a chance to show the world their talent.
The show depicts a perspective that you don’t see that much in shows — that of an up-and-coming black actor. One of the most interesting things is that the show is based on the experiences of Jamie Foxx, and he’s also an executive producer and has a recurring role. What was it like working with him?
Jamie Foxx is like my big brother. It’s amazing watching him do certain things like take a pause or a beat and turn that into a funny moment. Jamie is phenomenal. Of course, man. I mean, Oscar, Grammy winner. Definitely somebody I watched when I was little. He’s being nothing but supportive this whole time. He’s really looked out. I love Jamie. I love Jamie!
We all love Jamie. What do you hope people take away from this show?
I hope that people take away, first of all, the hard work that everybody has put into it. Tom Kapinos, Jamie of course, Tim Story, myself, Cleopatra [Coleman], Utkarsh [Ambudkar], Jacob [Ming-Trent], Lonnie [Chavis], Jack Davenport. Everybody. Michael Rapaport. Natalie Zea, Meagan Good. First of all, that. Second, the topics and issues that are a little hush, put to Front Street. I hope people pay attention to those topics. But just the synergy that we all have. We’re a family, and I think that comes off on screen.
Thanks a lot for talking to us. We’re all looking forward to the premiere.
Thank you so much, brother. Yeah, tune in, man. It’s gonna be crazy. October 15th. Showtime.
White Famous premieres on Sunday, Oct. 15th at 10p.m. EST on Showtime.