Chris Redd Says ‘Saturday Night Live’ Is Like Constantly ‘Auditioning for the Job That You Already Have’

The five-season ‘SNL’ veteran says the process of creating a single episode of the show is a microcosm for the miserable part of Hollywood
Chris Redd Says ‘Saturday Night Live’ Is Like Constantly ‘Auditioning for the Job That You Already Have’

Ever since 1986, everyone working at Saturday Night Live has understood that their life at 30 Rockefeller Plaza could end at any moment, either because Lorne Michaels fired them or simply set them on fire. Chris Redd's SNL career was no different, though he managed to escape unscorched.

The Chicago-born comic spent five seasons on SNL following multiple auditions. During his tenure on the sketch show, Redd earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for his 2018 rap song “Come Back Barack” featuring Chance the Rapper, and he quickly became a fan-favorite for his impressions of Kanye West and Cory Booker while simultaneously building a body of work outside the show with SNL iron man Kenan Thompson on the veteran’s two-season self-titled sitcom Kenan.

Since leaving SNL in 2022, Redd has put out an HBO stand-up special, Chris Redd: Why Am I Like This?, he’s appeared in a handful of streaming movies and he started his own Peacock series Bust Down, produced by his former boss Michaels. In a recent interview with Collider, Redd admits that he refers to his former day job as “Little Hollywood,” because the process of creating a SNL episode is “your whole year of Hollywood in a week,” with all the rejection that comes with an entertainment career contained in six stressful days.

SNL really helps you with rejection,” Redd said when asked about how his time on the prestigious sketch show helped him grow as an artist. “So when you get back in the world nothing hurts. I feel impenetrable. I just feel stronger in that way.” As for the show’s influence on Redd’s material, the comedian says that SNL made him want to cover non-topical topics, saying of his recent stand-up work, “If I didn’t have a super strong political take on something I kinda wanted to stay away from it in the special because I was constantly doing political takes on the show all the time.”

Still, the greatest lesson SNL taught Redd was how to handle the downsides of comedy and show business in general. Said Redd of his SNL tenure, “Every week is not a great week, every sketch is not gonna make (the show), it’s not gonna hit. … Some of your weaker elements that you bring to a writers’ room expose themselves, so you’re able to work on those things.” 

On his “Little Hollywood” description of SNL, Redd explained, “You’re auditioning for the job that you already have, and you’re writing these things, you’re creating this fucking show, and then you move on to the next week. You got a day to like, be happy (about) what happened last week.”

“Once you leave (SNL), you realize everything is easier,” Redd explained of his eventual departure, saying, “The whole process of Hollywood is just what you left, only it’s easier and there’s more time. Actually the time fucks with your head because everything is so much slower in the real world.” 

Said Redd of the Big Hollywood rat race, “It’s not as intense as doing live comedy on every Saturday.”


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