Chris Redd interview: ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘Kenan’
Chris Redd did double duty this TV season. Not only did the young comic return for his fourth season as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” but he also joined his fellow castmate Kenan Thompson in starring in the NBC sitcom “Kenan.” While doing both shows kept him very busy, Redd is thriving in putting himself out there more and more. “I’m just starting to have real fun,” says Redd in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby, adding proudly that “SNL” is “my first job I’ve held this long.” Watch the video webchat above.
Redd’s tenure on “SNL” began in 2017, the start of the Trump years. After the 2020 election resulted in a Joe Biden victory, the actor admits there was a sense that the show could be goofy again. “We now have 50 more minutes of the show that we can dedicate to whatever the hell we wanna talk about,” observes Redd. “It’s a big world with so much other stuff to cover so it was cool not to have that take up so much space.” This season gave Redd the chance to show off numerous impressions, including Barack Obama, Lil Wayne, Smokey Robinson, Lil Nas X, Daniel Kaluuya and Morpheus from “The Matrix.” He felt a bit more pressure to nail down his Obama impression. “I didn’t want him to hear it and it be trash and then I get a Secret Service call like, ‘hey, man, cut it out,'” he quips.
While he puts in the work to accurately pull off impressions, Redd admits he is more at ease creating his own characters from scratch. One of his specialties is characters who exhibit unearned confidence, which is also seen in his role on “Kenan” as Kenan’s eager brother and manager, Gary. “I like playing confidently wrong people,” explains Redd. “It’s a very fun place to live in.” Most interesting for Redd is the motivation behind why they are so confident. “Are they dumb because they just don’t know anything or are they dumb because they’re hiding something? Is that translating because they don’t want to disappoint themselves by reaching too high?”
Working with Thompson on both “SNL” and “Kenan” has been a thrill for Redd, admitting it was a no-brainer to accept the offer to play alongside him in the sitcom. “Making music with Kenan is so much fun, making sketches with the dude is so much fun,” praises Redd. “We get to play just in different ways. Doing a narrative was really fun because we got to find different levels of these two characters but our banter is crazy. We can improvise with each other for hours, so it’s barely work.”