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Professor Jacob remembers Jay Pharoah as a TCC student

Long before Jay Pharoah made us laugh on “Saturday Night Live,” he was Jared Antonio Farrow, a student at Tidewater Community College.

The Indian River High School graduate received an Associate of Science in General Studies in 2008 and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts in 2010.

He attended classes on every TCC campus, and on the Chesapeake Campus, he studied acting with Professor Edwin Jacob.

In a recent interview with VEER magazine for his show this Saturday at Norfolk’s Norva theater, Pharoah recounted that Jacob was one of his favorite TCC professors. So we called Ed Jacob to ask about his memories of the young Pharoah.

He chuckled his way through the whole interview.

Q:           What do you remember about having Jay as a student in Acting I?
   What I remember is that it was obvious Jay was a comedian even then. He would put an obtuse spin on pretty much everything he said. I remember vividly his personality. He had a lot of tricks.

Q:           How was Jay’s acting?
Jacob:   In my acting class, Jay had a hard time doing things straight and not putting a funny spin on every scene. When you do comedy, you have to exaggerate things. I was always asking him to tone it down to make his characters believable on set. Jay was in a pretty big class of students, and he definitely stood out in the crowd.

Q:           What’s your funniest memory?
Jacob:   Every time Jay saw me, he called me Phil Collins, because he thought I looked and talked like him. We had a great time going back and forth with the antics.

Q:           What do you hope Jay gained during his time at the college?
Jacob:   Jay’s focus was obvious. He was committed to his craft. In my class, he learned to manage his time and channel his energies. He also learned to work with others on set.

Q:           What do you think now when you see Jay on “Saturday Night Live”?
Jacob:   When I watch him, I see some of the antics he used to do in class. He was hilarious. Some people can take 30-plus acting classes and need more training. And then there are people like Jay. He just had a spark. I did my best to instill some acting discipline into his comedy. It’s great to see him doing so well today!