Parnell at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Thomas Christopher Parnell|
February 5, 1967
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, singer|
Thomas Christopher "Chris" Parnell (born February 5, 1967) is an American actor, comedian, and singer. He is best known as a cast member on NBC's Saturday Night Live from 1998–2006 and for his role as Dr. Leo Spaceman on NBC's comedy series 30 Rock. He also voices Cyril Figgis on the FX comedy series Archer and Jerry Smith on the Adult Swim sci-fi comedy series Rick and Morty.
Parnell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to a Southern Baptist family. He graduated from Germantown High School and later attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he received his BFA in Drama. After graduating, he moved back to Tennessee and taught acting and film at his former high school. With a strong passion for performing, he eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. While there, he began performing with The Groundlings.
After performing as a company player with The Groundlings for a number of years, Parnell was hired to join the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player on September 26, 1998, and was promoted to repertory player the following season. In the summer of 2001, budget cuts and hiring four new cast members required Lorne Michaels to dismiss two cast members; he chose to lay off Parnell and Jerry Minor over Horatio Sanz, Rachel Dratch, and Maya Rudolph, but Parnell was rehired in the middle of the next season.
While on SNL, Parnell appeared in numerous sketches, and commercial parodies, and performed memorable impressions of various celebrities. Among his notable sketches are "Lazy Sunday", a rap video he shot with Andy Samberg about buying cupcakes and going to see The Chronicles of Narnia, and "More Cowbell". He has also 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, citing the "more cowbell" sketch in which he was the only actor not to break.
In mid-2006, Michaels announced that four cast members would be fired due to budget cuts, but he did not say who. On September 22, 2006 it was announced that three cast members had been fired: Parnell, Horatio Sanz, and Finesse Mitchell. This effectively made him the only SNL performer to have been fired twice by Lorne Michaels, although Parnell did say in a 2008 interview with The Sound of Young America podcast that he was okay with being let go this time, because he was considering leaving after that season anyway, but added that he probably would have stayed one last season if he was 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.
Parnell voiced Fly in the animated film Hotel Transylvania and is a series regular on the FX animated series Archer and made recurring guest appearances as Dr. Leo Spaceman on 30 Rock and 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.
- Jingle All the Way (1996) as a toy store sales clerk
- The Ladies Man (2000) as Phil Swanson
- Evil Alien Conquerors (2002) as Du-ug
- Down with Love (2003) as the TV Emcee
- National Lampoon's Barely Legal (2003) as Mr. Ronald Greitzer
- Looking for Kitty (2004) as Guy Borne
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) as Garth Holliday
- Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004) as Garth Holliday
- I'm Reed Fish (2006) as Ralph
- Hot Rod (2007) as Barry Pasternak
- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) as Theo
- Harold (2008) as Coach Vanderpool
- The Grand (2008) as Harold Melvin
- Labor Pains (2009) as Jerry
- Hollywood & Wine (2009) as Peter West
- Kung Fu Magoo (2010) as Cole Fusion (voice)
- Answer This! (2010) as Brian Collins
- 21 Jump Street (2012) as Mr. Gordon
- The Five-Year Engagement (2012) as Bill
- The Dictator (2012) as News Anchor
- Hotel Transylvania (2012) as Fly (voice)
- Escape from Planet Earth (2013) as Hammer (voice)
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) as Garth Holliday
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) as Fly (voice)
- The Ridiculous Six (2015) as Bank Manager
- Sisters (2015) as Phil
- Life of the Party (2018)
- Tween Fest - Preston Stevens Sr. (1 episode)
- The Adventures of OG Sherlock Kush – Jack The Ripper Jr. (1 episode)
- Bojack Horseman – Reporter (1 episode)
- The Spoils Before Dying – Bebop Jones (2 episodes)
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Geoffrey Hoytsman (2 episodes)
- Bad Judge – Douglas Riller (1 episode)
- Rick and Morty – Jerry Smith (Series Regular)
- Gravity Falls – Various (2 episodes)
- Filthy Sexy Teen$ – Sean Hastings (Adult Swim TV special)
- Drunk History – Various (5 episodes)
- Suburgatory – Fred Shay (Series Regular)
- Comedy Bang! Bang! – Crowpoke Inventor/Melodio/Stephendorff/Poseidon (4 episodes)
- I Just Want My Pants Back – J.B. (6 episodes)
- T.U.F.F. Puppy – The Caped Cod (1 episode)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm – Hank (1 episode)
- Love Bites – Chad Banks (1 episode)
- Jon Benjamin Has a Van – Area 51 Scientist (1 episode)
- Mad Love – Dennis Barrett (2 episodes)
- Electric City – Giovanni Montalbon (1 episode)
- Workaholics – Bruce Benson (1 episode)
- Big Lake – Chris Henkel (Series Regular)
- 30 Rock – Dr. Leo Spaceman (Recurring Role, 23 episodes)
- Archer – Cyril Figgis (Series Regular)
- Eureka – Dr. Drummer (2 episodes)
- The Life & Times of Tim – Various Voices (3 episodes)
- Funny or Die Presents – Various Roles (6 episodes)
- Glenn Martin, DDS – Joe Biden, Various Voices (3 episodes)
- Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire – Narrator (6 episodes)
- Miss Guided – Vice Principal Bruce Terry (Series Regular)
- WordGirl (2007–present) – The Narrator, Various Voices (Series Regular)
- Saturday Night Live – Cast Member, Various Roles (Series Regular)
- Better Off Ted – Walter Palmer (1 episode)
- Ed – DJ Curtis Morris (1 episode)
- Friends – Bob (1 episode)
- The Hughleys – Rick (1 episode)
- Murphy Brown – Handler #2 (1 episode)
- The Jamie Foxx Show – Director (1 episode)
- Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher – Announcer (1 episode)
- Robot Chicken – Scooter, Major Nelson (1 episode)
- Seinfeld – Stu Crespi (1 episode)
- Suddenly Susan – Phil (2 episodes)
- Union Square – Don (1 episode)
- Conrad Bloom – Simpson (2 episodes)
- Caroline in the City – Gene (1 episode)
- Hope and Gloria – Howard (1 episode)
- Glee – Mario (1 episode)
- Garfunkel and Oates – Stan (1 episode)
- Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero – Blort Clooney (1 episode)
- The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show – Mr. Peabody (Series Regular)
- Dawn of the Croods – Snoot (Series Regular)
- Bob's Burgers – Warren Fitzgerald (1 episode)
- Profile, tv.ign.com; accessed April 2, 2014.
- Profile, vulture.com, January 2010; accessed April 2, 2014.
- "Four SNLers are history, says Lorne Michaels", tvsquad.com; accessed April 2, 2012.
- Adult Swim (July 29, 2013). SDCC 2013 - Rick and Morty - Adult Swim (YouTube).
- Frederick, Brittany. "Another 'Archer' Reunion On Sunday's 'Bob's Burgers'". Starpulse. Retrieved 29 April 2016.