Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Native Chris Redd Hits 'Majors of Sketch Comedy' on 'SNL'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Native Chris Redd Hits 'Majors of Sketch Comedy' on 'SNL'

Article excerpt

Persistence paid off for comedian Chris Redd. The St. Louis native already is a budding breakout in his first season as a featured player on "Saturday Night Live."

But he didn't make it there on his first try. An audition for the show's 2016-17 season was unsuccessful.

"I got close, but I didn't get it, then I auditioned again," says Redd, 32. "My auditions were mostly the same, me doing stand-up, telling narrative jokes with characters. I did four or five characters during my audition, people I run across in the city and my dad, who is one of my characters."

The second time around, he says, his confidence level was high. He knew what to expect and how to prepare, and he worked every day to improve.

Redd joined "SNL" when the show started its 43rd season in September. The show returns March 3 from a break.

He says nailing a spot on the legendary late-night staple was like getting drafted.

"It's the majors in sketch comedy the Harvard level of the sketch game and it shows," says Redd, who trained at Chicago's Second City. "It has been an institution for this long for a reason."

In his short time at "SNL," Redd says, he has already learned a lot. He believes the show is set up to create stars if they can survive and work within the format. In addition to making connections, it's about building a work ethic.

"When you start doing sketch (comedy), you have all these plans for yourself, the things you'd love to do," he says. "But there's only so many ways to do it at this level. This really pushes you to a place to create something you didn't know you could do."

And getting airtime is always a big deal, especially for newcomers who are vying for spots with repertory players including Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Leslie Jones, Pete Davidson and Beck Bennett. Fellow newcomer Heidi Gardner is a Kansas City native.

"It's just a bunch of fist fights every day. Just kidding," Redd says. "You have a win some weeks. Some weeks are resets, and you go back out fighting again.

"You just write what you thinks works for the show, for your voice. That's how I approach it. Everybody's approach is different. But everybody is trying to write the funniest thing. …

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