Despite leaving the show in 2016, Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharoah has remained close with at least one current cast member.
“Pete Davidson, he’ll hit me up and be like, ‘Yo how you doing’?’ Which is really cool,” Pharoah tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I know everybody else is real busy, but he always seems to make time.”
He adds, “I haven’t got a chance to properly check up with him as far as everything going on. … When I’m in New York, we’re definitely gonna catch up.”
And after his high-profile split from Ariana Grande, “I just hope he’s good,” Pharoah says. “He’s such a good dude and such a sweet dude. He’ll be fine. Pete is a strong one.”
Pharoah, 31, and Davidson, 25, shared three seasons together on the late night variety show. Pharoah’s contract was not renewed after season 42, but he has been more productive than ever.
Speaking to PEOPLE to promote the YouTube Premium series Champaign ILL, Pharoah reveals he is working on a comedy special, keeping up with the “fine art of MC spitting” (the multi-hyphenate creator plans to drop some music in February) and building his impressive repertoire of celebrity impressions.
“When I left SNL, I had close to 150 [impressions], but I’m on it now. I’ve got 200. You’ve got your Jason Statham, your Leonardo DiCaprio, your freakin’ John Mulaney,” Pharoah says. “I’ve got people.”
RELATED: How Jay Pharoah Got Into His Jamie Foxx-Inspired Character for New Show White Famous
On Champaign ILL, Pharoah plays a well-known rap artist whose tragic death sends his crew out of the limelight and into the suburbs. While Pharoah clarifies that his performance in Champaign ILL is “not an impression,” the comedian says there is one rapper in particular who inspired his character.
“Drake will rap on the beat, and he’ll talk about all this stuff, and then he’ll take you to a five-star restaurant and spoil you with wine and spirit,” Pharoah says. “The character is kind of based off of that.”
From the creators of Happy Endings, Champaign ILL also stars The Mindy Project’s Adam Pally and Veep’s Sam Richardson.
“We just felt like a family,” Pharoah says. “Everyone was a fan and willing to work and just have fun.”
Champaign ILL will be available to stream Wednesday on YouTube Premium.
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