Chris Parnell
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Chris Parnell
Chris Parnell
Chris Parnell by David Shankbone (cropped).jpg
Parnell at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Thomas Christopher Parnell
(1967-02-05) February 5, 1967 (age 51)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Education University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Occupation Actor, voice artist, comedian, singer
Years active 1988-present
Known for Saturday Night Live
Rick and Morty

Thomas Christopher Parnell (born February 5, 1967) is an American actor, voice artist, comedian, and singer. He is best known as a cast member on NBC's Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2006 and for his role as Dr. Leo Spaceman on NBC's comedy series 30 Rock. In animation, he voices Cyril Figgis on the FX comedy series Archer and Jerry Smith on the Adult Swim sci-fi comedy series Rick and Morty. He is also notable for his voice work on the animated PBS series WordGirl, particularly as the narrator. He also voices "The Progressive Box" in a multitude of spots featuring the character, particularly the Progressive Corporation insurance advertisements.

Early life

Parnell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to a Southern Baptist family.[1] His father, Jack Parnell, was a radio personality in Memphis. He first attended the Southern Baptist Educational Center, and later graduated from Germantown High School. He decided upon acting as a career at age 17, and set his sights on being a theatre 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 momentarily disenchanted with acting, and returned to his hometown and taught high school for a year. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles and auditioned for the Groundlings in 1992.[2]


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.[2] 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, but Parnell was rehired in the middle of the next season.[3]

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 (i.e., visibly reacting to the humor in a sketch), 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 laid off due to budget cuts, but he did not say whom.[4] On September 22, 2006, it was announced that three cast members had been laid off: Parnell; Horatio Sanz; and Finesse Mitchell. This effectively made him the only SNL performer to have been released 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, 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.[]

Parnell voiced Fly in the animated films Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2, and Stan the Fishman in the third film, 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 also 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.[]

Parnell provides the voice of the "Progressive Box" in commercials for Progressive Insurance.[5]

Parnell voices Jerry on the Adult Swim show Rick and Morty.[]

On March 16, 2018, Parnell was cast in the main role of Wayne on the CBS sitcom Happy Together.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Jingle All the Way Toy Store Sales Clerk
1996 Shooting Lily Phone Company Salesman (voice)
1997 Decade of Love Bobby Fastdancer Short film
1998 Operation Cadaver Short film
1999 Deadtime Junior Short film
2000 The Ladies Man Phil Swanson
2003 Evil Alien Conquerors Du-ug
2003 Down with Love TV Emcee
2003 National Lampoon's Barely Legal Mr. Ronald Greitzer
2004 Looking for Kitty Guy Borne
2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Garth Holliday
2004 Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Garth Holliday
2006 I'm Reed Fish Ralph
2006 Ira & Abby Dr. Ronald Silverberg
2007 The Grand Harold Melvin
2007 Hot Rod Barry Pasternak
2007 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Theo
2007 Sunny & Share Love You Kevin Keith Baker
2007 Kabluey Frank
2008 Harold Coach Vanderpool
2008 Eavesdrop Terrence
2009 Paper Man Peter
2009 Labor Pains Jerry Steinwald
2010 Hollywood & Wine Peter West
2010 The Dogfather Brian Franks
2010 Kung Fu Magoo Cole Fusion (voice)
2011 Answer This! Brian Collins
2012 21 Jump Street Mr. Gordon
2012 The Five-Year Engagement Bill
2012 The Dictator News Anchor
2012 Hotel Transylvania Fly (voice)
2013 Escape from Planet Earth Hammer (voice)
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Garth Holliday
2013 Turbo Announcer #2 (voice)
2014 Break Point Jay LaRoche
2015 The Better Half Daniel
2015 Hotel Transylvania 2 Fly (voice)
2015 Sisters Phil
2017 Austin Found Alan Dickinson
2017 Battle of the Sexes DJ
2018 Life of the Party Wayne Truzack
2018 Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Stan the Fishman (voice)
2018 Slice Mayor Tracy
2018 Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Walter
2018 The Last Laugh Post-production
2019 The Laundromat Filming


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"
1997 The Jamie Foxx Show Director Episode: "Do the Write Thing"
1997 Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher Announcer Episode: "The Weighting Game"
1998 Union Square Don Episode: "It Takes a Thief"
1998 Caroline in the City Gene Episode: "Caroline and the Cabbie"
1998 Murphy Brown Handler #2 2 episodes
1998 Conrad Bloom Simpson 2 episodes
1998-2012 Saturday Night Live Various characters 148 episodes
2001 TV Funhouse James Brolin (voice) Episode: "Safari Day"
2001 The Hughleys Rick Episode: "When Darryl Bumped Sally"
2001 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 Episode: "Far from Home"
2006-2013 30 Rock Dr. Leo Spaceman 25 episodes
2007-2015 WordGirl Narrator / Various characters (voice) 89 episodes
2008 Miss Guided Vice Principal Bruce Terry 7 episodes
2008 Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday Bob Schieffer / Tom Brokaw 2 episodes
2009 Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire Narrator (voice) 5 episodes
2009-2010 Glenn Martin DDS Various (voice) 4 episodes
2009-present Archer Cyril Figgis / Cut-Rate Buck Henry (voice) 86 episodes
2010 Better Off Ted Walter Palmer Episode: "The Impertence of Communicationizing"
2010 The Life & Times of Tim Mark Douglas / High School Principal / William (voice) 3 episodes
2010 Big Lake Chris Henkel 10 episodes
2010-2011 Funny or Die Presents Soccer Dad / Cast of The Slovin & Allen Show / Barry 6 episodes
2010-2011 Eureka Dr. Noah Drummer 2 episodes
2010-present Tayo the Little Bus Citu (voice) English version
2011 Robot Chicken Scooter / Major Nelson Episode: "Big Trouble in Little Clerks 2"
2011 Mad Love Officer Dennis Barrett 2 episodes
2011 Workaholics Bruce Benson Episode: "In the Line of Getting Fired"
2011 Jon Benjamin Has a Van Area 51 Scientist Episode: "Stardoor"
2011 Love Bites Chad Banks Episode: "Stand and Deliever"
2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm Hank Episode: "The Hero"
2011 Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice Mr. Thistleton (voice) Television special
2011 T.U.F.F. Puppy The Caped Cod (voice) Episode: "Disobedience School/The Dog Who Cried Fish"
2011-2012 I Just Want My Pants Back JB 6 episodes
2011-2014 Suburgatory Fred Shay 38 episodes
2012 Gravity Falls Additional characters (voices) 2 episodes
2012 Electric City God Nation Judge / Giovanni Montalbon (voice) 20 episodes
2012-2016 Comedy Bang! Bang! Various characters 4 episodes
2014 Filthy Preppy Teen$ Sean Hastings Television special
2013-2016 Drunk History King Charles II / Jim Bowie / Benedict Arnold / Thomas Edison / Charles Joughin 5 episodes
2013-present Rick and Morty Jerry Smith (voice) 27 episodes
2014 The Tom and Jerry Show Narrator (voice) Episode: "Sleep Disorder/Tom's In-Tents Adventure"
2014 Glee Mario Episode: "Opening Night"
2014 Garfunkel and Oates Stan Episode: "Rule 34"
2014 BoJack Horseman Klaus / News Reporter (voice) Episode: "Our A-Story Is a 'D' Story"
2014 Bad Judge Douglas Riller Episode: "Pilot"
2014 Benched Mitch Episode: "Campaign Contributions"
2014-2016 TripTank Bill / Doctor / Various (voice) 7 episodes
2015 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Geoffrey Hoytsman 2 episodes
2015 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Judge (voice) Episode: "Defending the Earth"
2015 Childrens Hospital Ron Pippin Episode: "Five Years Later"
2015 The Adventures of OG Sherlock Kush The Prime Minister (voice) Episode: "The Mystery of the Royal Flasher"
2015 The Spoils Before Dying Bebop Jones 2 episodes
2015 Another Period Dr. Sigmund Freud Episode: "Senate"
2015 Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood Network Executive Television special
2015 Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Dustin Wallswreath / Jim McCoy / Cop (voice) Episode: "Grand Scam"
2015 Highston Wilbur Liggetts Episode: "Pilot"
2015-2016 Nature Cat The Groundhog / Father Mammoth / Sir Galahad (voice) 38 episodes
2015-2016 Dawn of the Croods Snoot / Dub / Evil Egg (voice) 12 episodes
2015-present The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show Mr. Peabody (voice) Lead role; 46 episodes
2016 Sofia the First Zacharias (voice) Episode: "Her Royal Spyness"
2016 Inside Amy Schumer Michael Episode: "The World's Most Interesting Woman in the World"
2016 Bob's Burgers Warren Fitzgerald (voice) Episode: "Pro Tiki/Con Tiki"
2016 Ask the StoryBots Special guest appearance Episode: "Where Does Rain Come From?"
2016 Rhett and Link's Buddy System Vice Chairman Episode: "The Magic Is Real"
2016 Tween Fest Preston Stevens Sr. Episode: "SpurgeExplosion"
2016 The 5th Quarter Michele Lamborghini / Buddy Brogan 2 episodes
2016-present Elena of Avalor Migs (voice) 10 episodes
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special Dr. Vince Harbert Television special
2017 Elena and the Secret of Avalor Migs (voice) Television film
2017 Samurai Jack Mud Alien / Scientist (voice) Episode: "XCIII"
2017 Black-ish Dean Parker Episode: "Liberal Arts"
2017 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Junior Episode: "Kimmy Pulls Off a Heist!"
2017 Great News Gerald Episode: "Squad Feud"
2018-present Grown-ish Dean Parker 4 episodes
2018 Adam Ruins Everything Narrator 6 episodes
2018-present Happy Together Wayne Main role

Music appearances

See also


  1. ^ Plume, Kenneth (2003-01-21). An Interview with Chris Parnell., 21 January 2003. Retrieved on 2014-04-02 from
  2. ^ a b Maron, Marc (2014-10-06). "Episode 539 - Chris Parnell". WTF with Marc Maron. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Graham, Mark (2010-01-14). Archer's Chris Parnell Talks Well-Endowed Cartoon Characters, Being Fired From SNL Twice., 14 January 2010. Retrieved on 2014-04-02 from
  4. ^ Keller, Joel (2006-08-22). "Four SNLers are history, says Lorne Michaels"., 22 August 2006. Retrieved on 2014-04-02 from
  5. ^ Stampler, Laura (2012-12-05). "Progressive Almost Made This Box Its Spokesperson Instead Of Flo". Business Insider. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 16, 2018). "Chris Parnell To Co-Star In McAuliffe/Earl CBS Comedy Pilot; Phill Lewis To Direct". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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