Chris Parnell

Active - 1996 - 2018  |   Born - Feb 5, 1967 in Memphis, Tennessee, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

Share on

A Saturday Night Live cast member who received his grooming in the familiar Groundlings comedy breeding ground, a few of funnyman Chris Parnell's favorite parody subjects include Tom Brokow in addition to his frightfully funny Eminem impression.

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Parnell took to acting and comedy after his family relocated to nearby Germantown and he got involved with the Poplar Pike Playhouse. Constantly auditioning for nearly every production while taking multiple acting and music classes, Parnell attended the North Carolina School of Arts after graduation and later worked at Houston's Alley Theater after obtaining his B.F.A. Later teaching acting, film, and video back at Germantown High before moving to Los Angeles, the future SNL star worked at FAO Schwartz while taking classes at the Groundlings theater and acting in small roles in commercials and television sitcoms. Parnell was flown to New York for an SNL audition after he was spotted by a talent scout from the show, joining the cast in the fall of 1999 alongside fellow freshmen Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz. After his feature debut in 1996's Jingle All the Way, Parnell could be seen on the big screen in fellow SNL cast member Tim Meadows' The Ladies Man in 2000. He had a part in Anchorman, but he became part of SNL history when he starred along with Andy Samberg in the digital short Lazy Sunday, often cited as the first bit from the show to go viral.

He had a recurring role as the seriously demented Dr. Spaceman on 30 Rock, and teamed with Samberg again for the comedy Hot Rod.

He appeared in the music biopic spoof Walk Hard, and was in the comedy Labor Pains. In 2010 he was cast in the animated series Archer, providing the voice for Cyril Figgis, and two years later he appeared in three of the biggest comedies of the year including The Dictator, 21 Jump Street, and The Five-Year Engagement.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Worked at the Alley Theatre Company in Houston after college.
  • Taught acting and film & video at his alma mater, Germantown High School.
  • Worked as Operations Manager at F.A.O. Schwarz in Los Angeles while taking classes at the Groundlings Theatre.
  • Made his feature film debut in Jingle All the Way (1996).
  • Became a featured cast member of Saturday Night Live in 1998, the same year as Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz.
  • Fired from SNL after the 2000-01 season for budgetary reasons, only to be rehired the following spring.  He was fired again after the 2005-06 season.
  • Has a recurring role on 30 Rock as Dr. Leo Spaceman.
  • Voices the character of Cyril Figgis on the animated series Archer.