Chris Redd would have and could still be the breakout star of Popstar, if you’d only see the movie.
You probably will be much more likely to once you start seeing Redd on Saturday Night Live. Multiple sources confirmed to The Comic’s Comic that Redd emerged from last month’s auditions and screen tests and is likely to join the SNL cast for season 42 this fall — he would join Mikey Day as the two new cast members (Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Jon Rudnitsky all were cut over the summer). UPDATE: Other sources have since come forward to dispute my report on whether Redd’s hiring is a done deal or not. Stay tuned for the official announcement.
CLARIFICATION/CORRECTION: Saturday Night Live announced on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, that it hired Alex Moffat and Melissa Villasenor to the cast. No mention of Redd. Not sure what happened. My sources were so supremely confident, and until now completely reliable, that I believed them when they told me Redd would join the show.
My apologies. I regret the error.
IMPORTANT UPDATE AS OF SEPT. 26, 2017: I regret nothing because I was right all along! Redd joins the cast in 2017, not 2016. More to come in a future post!
Redd co-starred alongside The Lonely Island, playing young rapper Hungry the Hunter as a mash-up parody of Tyler, The Creator and DMX in this summer’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
He’s got plenty of other current and past SNL people vouching for him as the next great thing, too.
Last week, he debuted as the star of a new webseries for The Kicker — the sports-themed comedy video site from Broadway Video’s Above Average helmed by SNL co-head writer Bryan Tucker — called “Branding U. with Nicky G,” in which Redd coaches actual NFL rookies on their personal brand management. New episodes will premiere every Thursday during the NFL season. Here’s the teaser for that!
The first two episodes feature Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles
…and Cardale Jones of the Buffalo Bills.
Redd also just made a video for JASH called “The Adventures of Black Chaplin.”
Redd also has been NBC’s radar for the past three years, at least.
That’s when he made an SNL audition reel that included impersonations of President Barack Obama and several original characters. Redd did win himself a slot in a 2014 sketch comedy pilot NBC executive produced by Lou Wallach and Mick Napier that never made it to TV.
And in 2015, Redd shined as one of the “New Faces” at Montreal’s Just For Laughs, impressing me with his stand-up as well as description of a Gatsby party — Redd was in the same showcases last summer as Jon Rudnitsky, who was cast on SNL instead and just let go over this summer.
Redd was born in St. Louis, but grew up in Chicago since he was 8, and attempted a rap career first before turning to comedy. He trained at both The Second City and the iO Theater in Chicago, performing with Second City’s e.t.c. as well as producing his own show on the Southside at Jokes & Notes.
Here he was two years ago talking to the ImprovNerd Podcast about deciding to leave Chicago for Hollywood and that NBC sketch comedy pilot (note: turn the volume up), coming back, and a bit of improv with Redd and podcast host Jimmy Carrane.
In the past couple of years, Redd worked on an ABC sitcom pilot produced by Tina Fey (Family Fortune, starring Fortune Feimster), guest-starred in two episodes of Empire‘s first season on FOX as “Roger,” as well as two episodes as “Omar” in the Jake and Amir Vimeo series, Lonely and Horny.
Redd has two movies in post-production now, a part in Jeff Garlin’s Handsome, and the comedy Fat Camp in which he stars alongside Annabelle Acosta (Quantico, Ballers).
Redd’s scheduled to headline The Second City Hollywood’s first-ever Diversity in Comedy Festival this October.
And ironically or fittingly, Redd opened for Pharoah last week at Tulane University. Pharoah and SNL just parted ways this month after six seasons.