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Chris Redd ‘Knows’ Kanye West Doesn’t Like His SNL Impression, But Opens Up About What He Feels Is OK And Not OK To Poke Fun At

Chris Redd on SNL
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

There are certain celebrities who are more than happy to lampoon themselves on Saturday Night Live, but it seems like Kanye West isn’t one of them. SNL star Chris Redd has been portraying the Donda rapper for several seasons, but he recently revealed that Kanye West isn’t a fan of his impersonation. 

In an interview with Sirius XM, Chris Redd discussed celebrities’ reactions to his impressions on the show, including Sterling K. Brown and rapper Kanye West. He said: 

I know Kanye don’t like my impression, but I don’t care that much. Corey Booker doesn’t like my impression, but his staff likes my impression, so love that. It means I’m doing something right. I mean, Sterling likes my impression now. The first time I did it, he didn’t not like it, he just thought it could be better. So he texted me.

It seems that Sterling K. Brown was happy to offer some constructive criticism (and a later episode of SNL even earned his approval), but Kanye didn’t feel the same way. According to Chris Redd, Kanye West didn’t actually say he disliked the impersonation - it was more of a sly diss. He explained: 

No, [Ye] told me through action. I did the impression and he was there with Chappelle and some other folks. And I tapped him on the shoulder to say ‘what up’ and he didn’t fully turn around. He just did this like Batman thing and I was like, ‘So, he don’t like it!’ [That] was my takeaway.

While he may not care if Kanye actually likes the impersonation, there are aspects of the rapper that Chris Redd treats with respect. Kanye West has made several headlines recently as he deals with his mental health, and Chris Redd doesn’t believe that someone’s well-being should be taken lightly. He said: 

There is a serious layer to that situation that I just won’t make fun of. I’m not making fun of his mental health. You know, I have mental health issues myself. So I’m very aware of those things and I never come from that place of making fun of that specifically. His irresponsibility of it is what I make fun of. And his ego. But it’s never those [other] things.

Kanye West has been open about his struggles with bipolar disorder. His relationship with his estranged wife Kim Kardashian and his ongoing rivalry with her current boyfriend, Chris Redd’s SNL co-star Pete Davidson, has also been a target for media scrutiny. But when it comes to Chris Redd’s impression, he isn't trying to go for low blows. He's not interested in trying to "stir the pot on something that’s just unhealthy."

And just because Chris Redd does a great Kanye impression doesn’t mean that he’s not rooting for him. Redd even said that, though he and the rapper "aren’t friends," he’s still a fan of Kanye’s music and "wants the best for him." At the end of the day, the jokes come second to mental health. 

Catch Chris Redd on Season 47 of Saturday Night Live, which is currently airing on NBC on - you guessed it - Saturday evenings at 11:30 pm EST. You can also watch his impressions of Kanye West on past episodes with your Hulu subscription or sneak a peek at all of the upcoming SNL hosts

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.