How Chris Parnell Got Un-fired From Saturday Night Live

Chris Parnell had a lengthy run on Saturday Night Live, starting as a feature player in 1998. Unfortunately, during that time, he was fired from the series once and then eventually let go by Lorne Michaels and co. a second time. The Archer actor recently spoke out to talk about his tumultuous ride on NBC’s late night sketch comedy series, revealing some details about which of the writers and cast member that he believes helped him to earn another go at bat.

Here’s what Parnell had to say about his first firing during a recent Reddit AMA session:

Yeah, sure! You know, as I understand it, both Will and Kattan went to bat for me to Lorne. And I think it certainly helped. And I know one of the writers T. Sean Shannon, he wrote a scathing sketch that was read (at the table, I understand it) that condemned my firing, and took everyone to task about it. Yeah, I never knew exactly why I was fired? I heard from somebody it might have been an NBC executive who didn't care for my stuff? But I think Will and Chris went to bat for me, which definitely helped.

The whole thing sounds like a giant mess. Back in 2001, after just three years on the show, Chris Parnell was unceremoniously fired by Saturday Night Live. Then, according to Parnell, a bunch of the people involved with the show raised hell for the repertory player, which is actually pretty cool, considering the outcome. Eventually, he reappeared on the series partially through the following TV season and all seemed to be well. Then, in 2006, things went south again when he was asked to leave the show along with Finesse Mitchell and Horatio Sanz because of budgetary problems. It sucks enough to be kicked off once, but being kicked off twice is particularly egregious.

Parnell goes on to explain that the time on SNL was “crazy.”

It was crazy. It was a very difficult time. But I was very glad to go back to the show.

Regardless, ultimately it all seems to have worked out for the actor. He obviously has no beef with SNL, having appeared on the series in the time since he was fired the second time, including in the digital short “Lazy Sunday 2.” He’s done plenty of voicework on shows like Archer in the time since. He’s also known for playing Dr. Spaceman on 30 Rock and he had a large role in the clever ABC comedy, Suburgatory, which just ended its run last season. He’s also popped up in plenty of movies and as guest stars on comedies like BoJack Horseman and Benched. He’s doing just fine, despite being fired from Saturday Night Live, twice.

You can check out the rest of Chris Parnell’s AMA over at Reddit.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.