Chris Parnell

Thomas Christopher Parnell (/pɑːrˈnɛl/; born February 5, 1967) is an American actor, voice artist and comedian. He was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2006 and played the role of Dr. Leo Spaceman on 30 Rock. In animation, he voices Cyril Figgis on the FX series Archer, Jerry Smith on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty and the narrator on the PBS series WordGirl. He also voices "The Progressive Box" in a series of advertisements by the Progressive Corporation.

Chris Parnell
Chris Parnell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Parnell at the 2019 WonderCon
Thomas Christopher Parnell

(1967-02-05) February 5, 1967 (age 53)
EducationUniversity of North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA)
OccupationActor, voice artist, comedian
Years active1988–present
Known for

Early lifeEdit

Parnell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to a Southern Baptist family.[1] His father, Jack Parnell, was a radio personality in Memphis. He attended the Southern Baptist Educational Center, and graduated from Germantown High School. He decided to pursue acting as a career at age 17 and set his sights on being a theater 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 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 following season.[3]

While on SNL, Parnell appeared in numerous sketches, and commercial parodies, and performed impressions of various celebrities. Among his notable sketches are "Lazy Sunday", a rap video he shot with Andy Samberg, and "More Cowbell". He has 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 character, citing the "More Cowbell" sketch in which he was the only actor not to break.[4]

Parnell at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival

In mid-2006, Michaels announced that four cast members would be laid off due to budget cuts, but he did not say whom.[5] 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.[6]

Parnell voiced Fly in the animated films Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2, and Stan the Fishman in 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 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.[7]

Parnell provides the voice of the "Progressive Box" in commercials for Progressive Insurance.[8]

Since 2013, Parnell has voiced Jerry on the Adult Swim series Rick and Morty.[9]

On March 16, 2018, Parnell was cast in the main role of Wayne on the CBS sitcom Happy Together.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Jingle All the Way Toy Store Sales Clerk
Shooting Lily Phone Company Salesman Voice
1997 Decade of Love Bobby Fastdancer Short film
1998 Operation Cadaver
1999 Deadtime Junior
2000 The Ladies Man Phil Swanson
2003 Evil Alien Conquerors Du-ug
Down with Love TV Emcee
National Lampoon's Barely Legal Mr. Ronald Greitzer
2004 Looking for Kitty Guy Borne
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Garth Holliday
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie
2006 I'm Reed Fish Ralph
Ira & Abby Dr. Ronald Silverberg
2007 The Grand Harold Melvin
Hot Rod Barry Pasternak
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Theo
Sunny & Share Love You Kevin Keith Baker
Kabluey Frank
2008 Harold Coach Vanderpool
Eavesdrop Terrence
2009 Paper Man Peter
Labor Pains Jerry Steinwald
2010 Hollywood & Wine Peter West
The Dogfather Brian Franks
Kung Fu Magoo Cole Fusion Voice
2011 Answer This! Brian Collins
2012 21 Jump Street Mr. Gordon
The Five-Year Engagement Bill
The Dictator News Anchor
Hotel Transylvania Fly Voice
2013 Escape from Planet Earth Hammer
Turbo Announcer #2
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Garth Holliday
2014 Break Point Jay LaRoche
2015 The Better Half Daniel
Hotel Transylvania 2 Fly Voice
Sisters Phil
The Ridiculous 6 William (Bank Teller)
2017 Austin Found Alan Dickinson
Battle of the Sexes DJ
2018 Life of the Party Wayne Truzack
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Stan the Fishman Voice
Slice Mayor Tracy
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Walter
2019 The Last Laugh Charlie Green
A Name Without a Place Jerry Sundall
The Laundromat Doomed Gringo #2
I Am Woman Artie Mogull
TBA Home Alone 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"
The Jamie Foxx Show Director Episode: "Do the Write Thing"
Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher Announcer Episode: "The Weighting Game"
1998 Union Square Don Episode: "It Takes a Thief"
Caroline in the City Gene Episode: "Caroline and the Cabbie"
Murphy Brown Handler #2 2 episodes
Conrad Bloom Simpson
1998–2012 Saturday Night Live Various 148 episodes
2001 TV Funhouse James Brolin (voice) Episode: "Safari Day"
The Hughleys Rick Episode: "When Darryl Bumped Sally"
Friends Bob Episode: "The One with Rachel's Date"
2002 Ed DJ Curtis Morris Episode: "The Divorce"
2003 As Told by Ginger Additional voices Episode: "Far from Home"
2006–13 30 Rock Dr. Leo Spaceman 25 episodes
2007–15 WordGirl Narrator and various voices 89 episodes
2008 Miss Guided Vice Principal Bruce Terry 7 episodes
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday Bob Schieffer and Tom Brokaw 2 episodes
2009 Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire Narrator (voice) 5 episodes
2009, 2010 Glenn Martin DDS Various voices 4 episodes
2009–present Archer Cyril Figgis and Buck Henry (voices) 102 episodes
2010 Better Off Ted Walter Palmer Episode: "The Impertence of Communicationizing"
The Life & Times of Tim Mark Douglas, Principal, and William (voices) 3 episodes
Big Lake Chris Henkel 10 episodes
2010, 2011 Funny or Die Presents Various 6 episodes
Eureka Dr. Noah Drummer 2 episodes
2010–present Tayo the Little Bus Citu (voice) English dub
2011 Robot Chicken Scooter and Major Nelson (voices) Episode: "Big Trouble in Little Clerks 2"
Mad Love Officer Dennis Barrett 2 episodes
Workaholics Bruce Benson Episode: "In the Line of Getting Fired"
Jon Benjamin Has a Van Area 51 Scientist Episode: "Stardoor"
Love Bites Chad Banks Episode: "Stand and Deliver"
Curb Your Enthusiasm Hank Episode: "The Hero"
Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice Mr. Thistleton (voice) Television special
T.U.F.F. Puppy The Caped Cod (voice) Episode: "Disobedience School/The Dog Who Cried Fish"
2011–12 I Just Want My Pants Back JB 6 episodes
2011–14 Suburgatory Fred Shay 38 episodes
2012 Gravity Falls Additional voices 2 episodes
Electric City Giovanni Montalbon (voice) 20 episodes
2012–16 Comedy Bang! Bang! Various 4 episodes
2013–19 Drunk History 6 episodes
2013–present Rick and Morty Jerry Smith (voice) 27 episodes
2014 Filthy Preppy Teen$ Sean Hastings Television special
The Tom and Jerry Show Narrator Episode: "Sleep Disorder/Tom's In-Tents Adventure"
Glee Mario Episode: "Opening Night"
Garfunkel and Oates Stan Episode: "Rule 34"
BoJack Horseman Klaus and News Reporter (voices) Episode: "Our A-Story is a 'D' Story"
Bad Judge Douglas Riller Episode: "Pilot"
Benched Mitch Episode: "Campaign Contributions"
2014–16 TripTank Various voices 7 episodes
2015 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Geoffrey Hoytsman 2 episodes
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Judge (voice) Episode: "Defending the Earth"
Childrens Hospital Ron Pippin Episode: "Five Years Later"
The Adventures of OG Sherlock Kush The Prime Minister (voice) Episode: "The Mystery of the Royal Flasher"
The Spoils Before Dying Bebop Jones 2 episodes
Another Period Dr. Sigmund Freud Episode: "Senate"
Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood Network Executive Television special
Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Dustin Wallswreath, Jim McCoy, and Cop (voices) Episode: "Grand Scam"
Highston Wilbur Liggetts Episode: "Pilot"
2015–20 Nature Cat Various voices 38 episodes
2015–16 Dawn of the Croods Snoot, Dub, and Evil Egg (voices) 12 episodes
2015–17 The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show Mr. Peabody (voice) Lead role; 46 episodes
2016 Sofia the First Zacharias (voice) Episode: "Her Royal Spyness"
Inside Amy Schumer Michael Episode: "The World's Most Interesting Woman in the World"
Bob's Burgers Warren Fitzgerald (voice) Episode: "Pro Tiki/Con Tiki"
Ask the StoryBots Reindeer (voice) Episode: "Where Does Rain Come From?"
Tween Fest Preston Stevens Sr. Episode: "SpurgeExplosion"
Rhett and Link's Buddy System Vice Chairman Episode: "The Magic Is Real"
2016–present Elena of Avalor Migs (voice) 21 episodes
American Dad! Various voices 10 episodes
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special Dr. Vince Harbert Television special
Elena and the Secret of Avalor Migs (voice) Television film
Samurai Jack Mud Alien and Scientist (voices) Episode: "XCIII"
Black-ish Dean Parker Episode: "Liberal Arts"
Great News Gerald Episode: "Squad Feud"
2017, 2020 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Junior 2 episodes
2018 Blaze and the Monster Machines Cousins Ken and Sven (voices) Episode: "The Pickle Family Campout"
Adam Ruins Everything Narrator 6 episodes
Grown-ish Dean Parker 10 episodes
2018–19 Happy Together Wayne Main role
2019 Love, Death & Robots The Cat (voice) Episode: "Three Robots"
Miracle Workers God's Dad Episode: "1 Day"
Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Walton Rothchild Episode: "Held Breath"
Bless the Harts Ian David Col (voice) Episode: "Miracle on Culpepper Slims Boulevard"
2019–20 The Goldbergs Harrison Whitby 2 episodes
Will & Grace Dr. DiLorenzo 2 episodes
Family Guy Various voices 7 episodes
2020 Dummy Chet Jacobs Episode: "Plus Size Plus One"
Close Enough Ron Episode: "First Date/Snailin' It"
Mapleworth Murders[11] Ben Canelli 2 episodes

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role
2017 Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Jerry Smith
2020 Maneater Narrator / Host

Music videosEdit


  1. ^ Plume, Kenneth (January 21, 2003). "An Interview with Chris Parnell". IGN. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Maron, Marc (2014-10-06). "Episode 539 - Chris Parnell". WTF with Marc Maron. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  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 Archived 2013-01-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Reilly, Dan (December 11, 2019). "'What the Hell Is Skimbleshanks?' The Oral History of SNL's Cats Sketch". Vulture. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Keller, Joel (2006-08-22). "Four SNLers are history, says Lorne Michaels"., 22 August 2006. Retrieved on 2014-04-02 from
  6. ^ "Comedy Central's(R) 'Big Lake,' Starring Chris Gethard, Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell, Debuts on Tuesday, August 17 at 10:00 P.M.*". The Futon Critic. July 26, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Moynihan, Rob (March 20, 2013). "A Night Out With Suburgatory's Chris Parnell & Ana Gasteyer". TV Guide. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Stampler, Laura (2012-12-05). "Progressive Almost Made This Box Its Spokesperson Instead Of Flo". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  9. ^ Scott, Katie (November 8, 2019). "Sarah Chalke, Chris Parnell talk 'Rick and Morty' ahead of Season 4". Global News. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 16, 2018). "Chris Parnell To Co-Star In McAuliffe/Earl CBS Comedy Pilot; Phill Lewis To Direct". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  11. ^ Porter, Rick (December 3, 2019). "Lorne Michaels' Quibi Murder Mystery Lines Up All-Star Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 7, 2020.

External linksEdit