EXCLUSIVE: After moving seamlessly from Saturday Night Live to the Showtime sitcom White Famous, Jay Pharoah has been set as a lead of #twominutesoffame, starring with Katt Williams and Keke Palmer in a Lionsgate/CodeBlack feature comedy fused to the studio’s Laugh Out Loud streaming network that launched in August.
Pharoah will play an up-and-coming social media sensation who travels to L.A. with dreams of becoming a big stand-up comedy star, after his impressions of an Eddie Murphy-like stand up comedian-turned-movie star blow up virally. Katt plays that reigning king of comedy, who might be at the brink of losing his throne but is upset by being made fun of and plans a rude awakening for the upstart. Palmer plays the Pharoah character’s long suffering live-in love, who watches him follow his dream to Los Angeles while she’s stuck home, paying the bills and caring for their child.
Devon Shepard and Yamara Taylor wrote the script, and Leslie Small will direct. CodeBlack Entertainment’s Jeff Clanagan will produce alongside Paul Hall.
The movie brings a fictional storyline to the streaming network that is run by Lionsgate. Laugh Out Loud’s mission is to help break comic talent on the streaming network, and its existence is integral to the plot. Some of the talent developed on the site, including social media influencers DC Young Fly (a TRL host) and Jess Hilarious, also will play roles in the film.
Williams most recently was seen in the films Father Figure, Scary Movie 5 and School Dance. Palmer first appeared in a Lionsgate film when she broke through as the 11-year old spelling bee champ title character of 2006’s Akeelah and the Bee.
Pharoah stars on Lionsgate’s White Famous as Floyd Mooney, a rising young African-American comedian who is carefully navigating an attempt to become a crossover star (or “white famous”) while trying to maintain his credibility. The series is exec produced by Jamie Foxx, who based it on his own experiences, and Tom Kapinos. Pharoah jumped into that after an SNL turn that featured some of the funniest impressions that show has ever seen. One in particular bears a passing resemblance to the plot of this movie: Pharoah’s SNL impression of gridiron star-turned-broadcaster Shannon Sharpe was fall-out-of-your-chair funny — to just about everyone but Sharpe.
Pharoah is repped by ICM Partners, Shaina Farrow and Hansen Jacobson. Williams is ICM Partners and Palmer UTA and Laren Entertainment.
Since I brought it up, here is a reminder of Pharoah’s Sharpe impression: