Chris Redd was known for his stand-up routines before he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL) for Season 43 in 2017. The comedian recently spoke to EBONY about getting a spot on the late-night live television variety show and representing for its Black icons, who include Eddie Murphy and Kenan Thompson.
Redd auditioned to be a cast member for the previous season but didn’t get the job. moment, he tried not to make SNL his only top-tier goal.
“I like to prepare myself to not get something and be able to live my life and figure out different ways to make it,” he said. “I was like, ‘I don’t need that.’ And I actually believed it. I still believe that if I [hadn’t it, I would still make it in this business in some way.”
The comedian, whose debut stand-up album, But Here We Are, dropped two weeks ago, said he got word he would be on the legendary show while on tour in Detroit, and he immediately became excited.
“I started thinking about Eddie. I started thinking about Chris [Rock]. I started thinking about Tracy [Morgan], and all the Black people that were in that place and how I could be a part of that legacy [that includes] Kenan and Leslie [Jones]. It would be dope if I could leave my stamp here,” Redd recalled.
He noted that writing in the environment is already tricky, but “being Black and trying to write what you think is funny” adds a layer of complexity.
Redd used the example of impersonating rapper Soulja Boy on the show during his viral Black Twitter moment in January. It made him “nervous” wondering how that joke would go over because it was so culturally specific.
He said he watches archived and unaired sketches of Murphy to see how he was able to make jokes more palatable to a broader audience.
Watch the full interview above to hear the advice Redd received from Thompson, the longest- serving SNL cast member.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.