Entertainment TV How Jay Pharoah Got Into His Jamie Foxx-Inspired Character for New Show 'White Famous' White Famous airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime By Brianne Tracy Brianne Tracy Instagram Twitter Brianne Tracy is a staff writer on the PEOPLE music team. She has been with the brand since starting as an intern nearly six years ago, covering all things entertainment across print and digital platforms. She earned her Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Southern California and has been seen on Good Morning America. People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 20, 2017 11:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Jay Pharoah didn’t have to look far to find the inspiration to play his Jamie Foxx-based character on his new show White Famous. The comedian, who is returning to the small screen after departing Saturday Night Live in 2016, stars in the half-hour comedy on Showtime about a rising African-American comedian, Floyd Mooney, who is worried about losing his authentic self as be becomes mainstream popular, or “white famous.” “When I read the script, I just related to the story immediately,” Pharoah, 30, tells PEOPLE. “I’m familiar with, you know, the underground, urban comic who is getting put in front of mainstream America. I just connected with it.” Michael Desmond/Showtime Led by executive producers Foxx, Tom Kapinos (Californication) and Tim Story (Barbershop), the show is loosely based on Foxx’s early experiences in Hollywood. When it came to researching for the role, Pharoah says it was all about “hanging out with Foxx and television folks that know him.” “Jamie’s whole thing is ‘Have fun’ — that’s just the type of guy he is,” he continues. “That’s kind of how I researched it and then I related to the story already so it wasn’t hard to know where to go.” RELATED VIDEO: See the Moment Jamie Foxx Met the Dad of Man He Rescued But there’s one thing Pharoah wants to make clear — he’s not trying to do an impression of Foxx on this show like the ones he famously did on SNL. “I’m not going to get an Emmy off of my imitation skills with Mr. Foxx like when he did Ray and he got an Oscar — it’s different,” Pharoah says with a laugh. “You just draw based on the idea and play.” As to what his favorite part about playing Mooney is, Pharoah says letting audiences see that “he has a heart and that he’s really trying to do what’s best for his family, his friends and everybody.” White Famous airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.