Chris Parnell





2/5/1967 , Memphis, Tennessee

Birth Name

Thomas Christopher Parnell




Chris was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and became seriously interested in acting when his family moved to Germantown, a small suburb of Memphis. Here he got involved with the Poplar Pike Playhouse, the theatre at Germantown High School. At GHS he took acting, speech, and choral music classes, and auditioned for every play. Chris got small parts in musicals first, then moved on to bigger roles in regular plays his Junior and Senior years. After graduation he attended North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC. It's a small conservatory type school that offers very strong Drama, Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Design, and Film programs. Chris graduated with a B.F.A. in Drama. After college he went to Houston and worked at the Alley Theatre company for a season in their non-Equity company where he played small roles and understudied some leading roles in the mainstage Equity productions. After Houston, Chris moved back to Tennessee and taught acting and film & video at his own Germantown High School. He missed acting though and decided to move to Los Angeles. Once in L.A. he got a job at F.A.O. Schwarz in the Beverly Center, where he eventually worked his way up to Operations Manager. During that time Chris began taking classes at The Groundlings Theatre. After several years of classes he was voted into the Sunday Company. Around this time he also began to get a few commercials, some small guest starring roles in various sitcoms, and a little part in the film Jingle All the Way. After a year and a half in the Sunday Company, Chris was voted into the Groundlings Main Company. While performing at the Groundlings, talent scouts from Saturday Night Live saw him and asked him to fly to New York to audition. In the fall of 1998 Chris became a featured cast member of Saturday Night Live, joining regular cast members and fellow Groundlings Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Kattan, and Cheri Oteri. In the fall of 1999 Chris was made a member of the regular cast along with Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz. In May he completed his second season on the show. Chris generally spends his summers in Los Angeles where he keeps a car and a small apartment.