Jay Pharoah at Zanies

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Photo via NBC

I love comedy shows; over the years I’ve seen Russell Peters, Dane Cook, and Aziz Ansari twice each, in addition to some lesser known comedians in New York. I also grew up watching Saturday Night Live. So when my friends Jane and Bernard invited me to see Jay Pharoah at Zanies last week, it was an easy decision!

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This was my first time at Zanies, and we ended up arriving a little later than planned (a few extra drinks at dinner, oops), but we somehow scored the best seats in the house – a corner booth in the back, which was slightly elevated and had a clear view of the stage. See, the moral of the story is that a tequila flight with friends is always a good idea!

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Yes, we are wearing sweaters and scarves IN JULY. Chicago is hilarious like that.

We were wondering how Jay’s onscreen performance (impressions, rapping) would translate to a live show. I was pleasantly surprised; it was hilarious! From the minute he started, he engaged the audience which always makes for a fun show. He then launched into a series of stories about his life, peppered with the impressions that we all love. Of course there were the obvious ones like President Obama and Jay Z. But the best were the unexpected ones, including rappers Drake, Katt Williams, and Lil Wayne (by the time he got to Weezy, we were all dying from laughter!), and comedians (Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, and Dave Chapelle). It’s pretty clear he’s a great impressionist! He even spit some rhymes and sang a little bit of “What Does My Girl Say” from the infamous SNL skit he did with Kerry Washington. Hard to believe this talented performer is just 26 years old! Overall, it was a great show, and we laughed the entire time. It really made me want to check out more of Chicago’s famous comedy scene!

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Jay leaving the building. And Bernard grinning because he just got to shake Jay’s hand!

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