Jay Pharoah Plans to Get His Justin Bieber on at Oddball

The former Saturday Night Live star will join John Oliver and more in Mansfield this weekend.

Jay Pharoah

Photo by Trae Patton / NBC

The Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival will once again bring the laughs to Massachusetts when the annual tour returns to the Xfinity Center in Mansfield this weekend.

From Last Week Tonight host John Oliver to Roastmaster General Jeff Ross, this year’s fest features a pretty impressive collection of stand-up stars and comedy veterans. Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharoah, who made his first Oddball appearance in 2015, is more than excited to be back so he can show off his latest material for the Bay State crowd.

“To be able to do comedy in front of 18,000-20,000 people and make them laugh, that’s one of the greatest feelings ever,” Pharoah says. “There’s no feeling better than that. Maybe if you’re climaxing. That’s close to it.”

Known for his spot on impressions of President Obama, Kanye West, and other well-known stars, Pharoah plans to show off his Justin Bieber side at Oddball. The comedian recently went viral with his amazing cover of the singer’s hit “Where Are Ü Now.”

“Just know that Justin Bieber is going to make an appearance,” Pharoah says. “There’s going to be some Justin Bieber-esque stuff on this Oddball comedy tour that I’m going to show these folks.”

Overall, it’s been a wild 2016 for the comic, as he’s had a few career ups and downs over the course of the year.

While Pharoah got a chance to chill with some of the biggest names in music as a co-host at the MTV Video Music Awards, the awesome gig was soured a bit by the news of his unexpected release from SNL.

Despite his departure, Pharoah is thankful for being a part of NBC’s long-running series, especially since it allowed him to meet so many high-profile celebrities and musicians over the years. That’s why the comedian felt he was hanging around family during his stint at the VMAs alongside stars such as Chance the Rapper, Drake, and Rihanna.

“They know you, thanks to SNL, and just brushing shoulders and being exposed to all these different venues and different avenues, so it’s just like family,” Pharoah says. “I just felt right at home. You’re not a puppy-eyed person no more. You’re one of the dogs.”

Befriending hip-hop heavyweights has also turned out to be a benefit for the comedian’s budding rap career.

Although Pharoah—who has a new mixtape on the way—admits that there’s extra pressure on him to perform since he’s crossing over to a different medium and knows so many music stars, the comic’s rapper pals have been very supportive of his latest venture.

“I’ve had Chance listen to stuff, Drake, like everybody,” Pharoah says. “It feels good to get the confirmation from those artists who are actually in it 24/7, [have them] tell you that you’re on the right path and this is actually a good product.”

The 2016 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival stops at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield on Friday, September 9. For more information, check out oddballfest.com.