Chris Parnell

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Chris Parnell
Parnell at the 2019 WonderCon
Born
Thomas Christopher Parnell

(1967-02-05) February 5, 1967 (age 57)
EducationUniversity of North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA)
Occupations
  • Actor
  • comedian
Years active1988–present
Known for
Children2[1][2]

Thomas Christopher Parnell (/pɑːrˈnɛl/; born February 5, 1967) is an American actor and comedian. First breaking through as a performer with the Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings, Parnell found wider success during his tenure as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2006. After leaving SNL, he played the role of Dr. Leo Spaceman on NBC's sitcom 30 Rock from 2006 to 2013. In animation, he voices Cyril Figgis on the FX series Archer, Jerry Smith on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, Doug on Fox's Family Guy, and the narrator on the PBS Kids series WordGirl (2007–2015). He also voices "The Progressive Box" in a series of advertisements by the Progressive Corporation.

Early life[edit]

Parnell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to a Southern Baptist family.[3] His father, Jack Parnell, was a radio personality in Memphis. He attended the Southern Baptist Educational Center, and graduated from Germantown High School. He decided to pursue acting as a career at age 17 and set his sights on being a theater actor. He attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he received his BFA in Drama. He moved to Houston, Texas after college to do an apprentice actor program for a season at the Alley Theatre, but did not get asked back to join the company. He became temporarily disenchanted with acting, and returned to his hometown and taught high school for a year. He moved to Los Angeles and auditioned for the Groundlings in 1992.[4]

Career[edit]

While performing as a company player with the Groundlings for a number of years, Parnell began doing commercials and getting guest roles on various sitcoms, such as Seinfeld and Murphy Brown.[4] He was hired to join the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player, and debuted on the show on September 26, 1998. He was promoted to repertory player the following season. In the summer of 2001, because of budget cuts and the hiring of four new cast members, Lorne Michaels was required to dismiss two cast members; he chose to lay off Parnell and Jerry Minor over Horatio Sanz, Rachel Dratch, and Maya Rudolph. Parnell was rehired in the middle of the following season.[5]

While on SNL, Parnell appeared in numerous sketches and commercial parodies, and performed impressions of various celebrities. Among his notable sketches are "Lazy Sunday", a rap video he shot with Andy Samberg, and "More Cowbell". He has performed raps about hosts Jennifer Garner, Britney Spears, Kirsten Dunst, and Ashton Kutcher. On the DVD commentary for the West Coast version of the 30 Rock episode "Live Show", Tina Fey and Beth McCarthy Miller noted that Parnell was nicknamed "The Ice Man" while working at SNL, because of his apparent immunity to breaking character, citing the "More Cowbell" sketch in which he was the only actor not to break.[6]

Parnell at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival

In 2006, Michaels laid off Parnell, as well as Horatio Sanz and Finesse Mitchell, due to budget cuts.[7][8] This effectively made Parnell the only SNL performer to have been released twice by Michaels, although Parnell said in a 2008 interview with The Sound Of Young America that he was okay with being let go this time, as he was considering leaving after that season anyway, adding that he probably would have stayed one more season had he been asked back. He had been with SNL for eight seasons; at the time only four people (Darrell Hammond, Tim Meadows, Kevin Nealon, and Al Franken) had been cast members longer. He has since made uncredited cameo appearances on the show, including parodying newscasters Tom Brokaw, Jim Lehrer, and Bob Schieffer. Parnell and his former SNL castmate Horatio Sanz starred together in Big Lake, a 2010 sitcom on Comedy Central from executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.[9]

Parnell voiced Fly in the animated films Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2, and Stan the Fishman in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. He is a series regular on the FX animated series Archer, and is also known for his guest appearances as Dr. Leo Spaceman on 30 Rock. He provides the voice of the narrator on the PBS children's series WordGirl. From 2011 to 2014, Parnell co-starred on the ABC comedy series Suburgatory where he played the husband of the character played by his former SNL castmate Ana Gasteyer. His role started out as recurring in the first season but he was bumped up to a series regular in the second season. The series aired for three seasons on ABC.[10]

Parnell provides the voice of the "Progressive Box" in commercials for Progressive Insurance.[11] Since 2013, Parnell has voiced Jerry Smith (and his alternate reality variants) on the Adult Swim series Rick and Morty.[12] On March 16, 2018, Parnell was cast in the main role of Wayne on the CBS sitcom Happy Together.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Jingle All the Way Toy Store Sales Clerk
Shooting Lily Phone Company Salesman Voice
1997 Decade of Love Bobby Fastdancer Short film
1998 Operation Cadaver
1999 Deadtime Junior
2000 The Ladies Man Phil Swanson
2003 Evil Alien Conquerors Du-ug
Down with Love TV Emcee
National Lampoon's Barely Legal Mr. Ronald Greitzer
2004 Looking for Kitty Guy Borne
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Garth Holliday
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie
2006 I'm Reed Fish Ralph
Ira & Abby Dr. Ronald Silverberg
2007 The Grand Harold Melvin
Hot Rod Barry Pasternak
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Theo
Sunny & Share Love You Kevin Keith Baker
Kabluey Frank
2008 Harold Coach Vanderpool
Eavesdrop Terrence
2009 Paper Man Peter
Labor Pains Jerry Steinwald
2010 Hollywood & Wine Peter West
The Dogfather Brian Franks
Kung Fu Magoo Cole Fusion Voice
2011 Answer This! Brian Collins
2012 21 Jump Street Mr. Gordon
The Five-Year Engagement Bill
The Dictator News Anchor
Hotel Transylvania Fly Voice
2013 Escape from Planet Earth Hammer
Turbo Announcer #2
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Garth Holliday
2014 Break Point Jay LaRoche
2015 The Better Half Daniel
Hotel Transylvania 2 Fly Voice
Sisters Phil
The Ridiculous 6 William (Bank Teller)
2017 Austin Found Alan Dickinson
Battle of the Sexes DJ
2018 Life of the Party Wayne Truzack
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Stan the Fishman Voice
Slice Mayor Tracy
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Walter
2019 The Last Laugh Charlie Green
A Name Without a Place Jerry Sundall
The Laundromat Doomed Gringo #2
I Am Woman Artie Mogull
2021 Finding ʻOhana Brown
Home Sweet Home Alone Uncle Stu Mercer
2022 Senior Year Jim Conway
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Dave Bollinari
Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again George Washington Voice

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Hope and Gloria Howard Episode: "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Funicular"
1996, 1998 Suddenly Susan Phil, Waiter 2 episodes
1997 Seinfeld NBC Executive Episode: "The Butter Shave"
The Jamie Foxx Show Director Episode: "Do the Write Thing"
Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher Announcer Episode: "The Weighting Game"
1998 Union Square Don Episode: "It Takes a Thief"
Caroline in the City Gene Episode: "Caroline and the Cabbie"
Murphy Brown Handler #2 2 episodes
Conrad Bloom Simpson
1998–2012 Saturday Night Live Various 148 episodes
2001 TV Funhouse James Brolin Voice, episode: "Safari Day"
The Hughleys Rick Episode: "When Darryl Bumped Sally"
Friends Bob Episode: "The One with Rachel's Date"
2002 Ed DJ Curtis Morris Episode: "The Divorce"
2003 As Told by Ginger Radio Announcer, Train Conductor Voice, episode: "Far from Home"
2006–13 30 Rock Dr. Leo Spaceman 25 episodes
2007–15 WordGirl Narrator, Unnamed Dr. Two-Brains Henchman, Exposition Guy, Sergeant Henderson, Museum Guard Voice, 89 episodes
2008 Miss Guided Vice Principal Bruce Terry 7 episodes
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday Bob Schieffer and Tom Brokaw 2 episodes
2009 Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire Narrator Voice, 5 episodes
2009, 2010 Glenn Martin, DDS Various voices 4 episodes
2009–23 Archer Cyril Figgis, Buck Henry, Siegbert Fuchs Voice, 127 episodes
2010 Better Off Ted Walter Palmer Episode: "The Impertence of Communicationizing"
The Life & Times of Tim Mark Douglas, Principal, William Voice, 3 episodes
Big Lake Chris Henkel 10 episodes
2010, 2011 Funny or Die Presents Various 6 episodes
Eureka Dr. Noah Drummer 2 episodes
2010–present Tayo the Little Bus Citu Voice, English dub
2011 Robot Chicken Scooter, Major Nelson Voice, episode: "Big Trouble in Little Clerks 2"
Mad Love Officer Dennis Barrett 2 episodes
Workaholics Bruce Benson Episode: "In the Line of Getting Fired"
Jon Benjamin Has a Van Area 51 Scientist Episode: "Stardoor"
Love Bites Chad Banks Episode: "Stand and Deliver"
Curb Your Enthusiasm Hank Episode: "The Hero"
Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice Mr. Thistleton Voice, television special
T.U.F.F. Puppy Caped Cod Voice, episode: "The Dog Who Cried Fish"
2011–12 I Just Want My Pants Back JB 6 episodes
2011–14 Suburgatory Fred Shay 38 episodes
2012 Gravity Falls Additional voices 2 episodes
Electric City Giovanni Montalbon Voice, 20 episodes
2012–16 Comedy Bang! Bang! Various 4 episodes
2013–19 Drunk History 6 episodes
2013–present Rick and Morty Jerry Smith Voice, main role
2014 Filthy Preppy Teen$ Sean Hastings Television special
The Tom and Jerry Show Narrator Voice, episode: "Sleep Disorder/Tom's In-Tents Adventure"
Glee Mario Episode: "Opening Night"
Garfunkel and Oates Stan Episode: "Rule 34"
BoJack Horseman Klaus, News Reporter Voice, episode: "Our A-Story is a 'D' Story"
Bad Judge Douglas Riller Episode: "Pilot"
Benched Mitch Episode: "Campaign Contributions"
AJ's Infinite Summer Dad Cartoon Network short
2014–16 TripTank Various voices 7 episodes
2015 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Geoffrey Hoytsman 2 episodes
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Judge Voice, episode: "Defending the Earth"
Childrens Hospital Ron Pippin Episode: "Five Years Later"
Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja Charlie Clucker Voice, episode: "McCluckerbusters"
The Adventures of OG Sherlock Kush Prime Minister Voice, episode: "The Mystery of the Royal Flasher"
The Spoils Before Dying Bebop Jones 2 episodes
Another Period Sigmund Freud Episode: "Senate"
Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood Network Executive Television special
Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Dustin Wallswreath, Jim McCoy, Cop Voice, episode: "Grand Scam"
Highston Wilbur Liggetts Episode: "Pilot"
2015–23 Nature Cat Various voices 41 episodes
2015–16 Dawn of the Croods Snoot, Dub, Evil Egg Voice, 12 episodes
2015–17 The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show Mr. Peabody Voice, main role
2016 Sofia the First Zacharias Voice, episode: "Her Royal Spyness"
Bob's Burgers Warren Fitzgerald Voice, episode: "Pro Tiki/Con Tiki"
Ask the StoryBots Reindeer Voice, episode: "Where Does Rain Come From?"
Tween Fest Preston Stevens Sr. Episode: "SpurgeExplosion"
Rhett and Link's Buddy System Vice Chairman Episode: "The Magic Is Real"
2016–20 Elena of Avalor Migs Voice, 22 episodes
2016–22 Inside Amy Schumer Michael / HR Manager Bob 3 episodes
2016–present American Dad! James A. Garfield's clone, additional voices 17 episodes
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special Dr. Vince Harbert Television special
Elena and the Secret of Avalor Migs Voice, television film
Samurai Jack Mud Alien, Scientist Voice, episode: "XCIII"
Black-ish Dean Parker Episode: "Liberal Arts"
Great News Gerald Episode: "Squad Feud"
2017, 2020 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Junior 2 episodes
2018 Blaze and the Monster Machines Cousins Ken and Sven Voice, episode: "The Pickle Family Campout"
Adam Ruins Everything Narrator 6 episodes
Grown-ish Dean Parker 10 episodes (main role; season 1)
2018–19 Happy Together Wayne Main role
2019 Miracle Workers God's Dad Episode: "1 Day"
Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Walton Rothchild Episode: "Held Breath"
2019–20 The Goldbergs Harrison Whitby 2 episodes
Will & Grace Dr. DiLorenzo 2 episodes
Bless the Harts Ian David Col Voice, 2 episodes
2019–22 Love, Death & Robots The Cat Voice, 2 episodes
2019–present Family Guy Doug, additional voices Voice, 25 episodes
2020 Dummy Chet Jacobs Episode: "Plus Size Plus One"
Close Enough Ron Episode: "First Date/Snailin' It"
At Home with Amy Sedaris Chug Ducey Episode: "New Year's"
Mapleworth Murders[14] Ben Canelli 2 episodes
The Simpsons Mary Tannenbaum's Fiancé Voice, episode: "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas"
2021 Archibald's Next Big Thing Is Here! Dr. Fluffberg Voice, 5 episodes
M.O.D.O.K. Alvin Healy / Tenpin Voice, episode: "If Saturday Be... for the Boys!"
2021–22 Dogs in Space Ed Voice, 20 episodes
2021–23 Alpha Betas Darryl Voice, 2 episodes
2022 The Mysterious Benedict Society Captain of the Inverness 2 episodes
2022–23 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HOA Ambassador / Voice Over 2 episodes
2023 My Adventures with Superman Agent Slade Wilson Voice, 2 episodes
Hailey's On It! Robert Vandertrache Voice, episode: "Scott's on a Roll/Bye Bye Birdies"
2024 Krapopolis Ares Voice, 2 episodes
2024 Fallout Overseer Benjamin 2 Episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2017 Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Jerry Smith
2020 Maneater Trip Westhaven (Narrator / Host)

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Title Album Notes
2005 "Lazy Sunday" Incredibad Performed on Saturday Night Live
2012 "Lazy Sunday 2" Performed on Saturday Night Live

Audio[edit]

Year Title Role Author Production Company
2021 Batman: The Audio Adventures[15] Narrator Dennis McNicholas Blue Ribbon Content

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Instagram".
  2. ^ "Rick and Morty's Chris Parnell thinks Jerry would do very well in quarantine". 11 May 2020.
  3. ^ Plume, Kenneth (January 21, 2003). "An Interview with Chris Parnell". IGN. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Maron, Marc (2014-10-06). "Episode 539 – Chris Parnell". WTF with Marc Maron. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  5. ^ Graham, Mark (2010-01-14). Archer's Chris Parnell Talks Well-Endowed Cartoon Characters, Being Fired From SNL Twice. vulture.com, 14 January 2010. Retrieved on 2014-04-02 from http://www.vulture.com/2010/01/chris_parnell.html Archived 2013-01-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Reilly, Dan (December 11, 2019). "'What the Hell Is Skimbleshanks?' The Oral History of SNL's Cats Sketch". Vulture. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Keller, Joel (August 22, 2006). "Four SNLers are history, says Lorne Michaels". HuffPostTV. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  8. ^ Carter, Bill (September 21, 2006). "Bowing to Budget Cuts at NBC, 'Saturday Night Live' Pares Five Performers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "Comedy Central's(R) 'Big Lake,' Starring Chris Gethard, Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell, Debuts on Tuesday, August 17 at 10:00 P.M.*". The Futon Critic. July 26, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  10. ^ Moynihan, Rob (March 20, 2013). "A Night Out With Suburgatory's Chris Parnell & Ana Gasteyer". TV Guide. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  11. ^ Stampler, Laura (2012-12-05). "Progressive Almost Made This Box Its Spokesperson Instead Of Flo". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  12. ^ Scott, Katie (November 8, 2019). "Sarah Chalke, Chris Parnell talk 'Rick and Morty' ahead of Season 4". Global News. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 16, 2018). "Chris Parnell To Co-Star In McAuliffe/Earl CBS Comedy Pilot; Phill Lewis To Direct". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Porter, Rick (December 3, 2019). "Lorne Michaels' Quibi Murder Mystery Lines Up All-Star Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  15. ^ Batman: The Audio Adventures (Podcast Series 2021) – IMDb, retrieved 2022-11-17

External links[edit]