Actor and comedian Chris Parnell first found success on NBC’s sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” He joined the cast in 1998 and spent a total of eight years on the show during two stints. He also appeared in two dozen episodes of “30 Rock” as Dr. Leo Spaceman.
Despite his runs on “SNL” and various film and TV appearances, Parnell might be most famous for his voice. He spent 14 years as the voice of often-scapegoated Cyril Figgis, on the animated spy sitcom “Archer.” In 2013, Parnell joined Cartoon Network’s “Rick and Morty” animated series as Jerry, the simpleton patriarch of the dimension-hopping Smith family.
Parnell plays the hapless Jerry Smith in deadpan fashion, despite the constant craziness of Rick and Morty’s shenanigans happening around him. In 2020, Parnell told The Verge that playing Jerry Smith comes with its challenges. The actor said:
“The hardest thing I think is just remembering to really be present and try to act it well and not just kind of say the lines. So there’s a fair bit of visualization going on in my head and trying to sort of put myself in that place and see it. You’re really just taking all of this energy and funneling it through your voice without being able to see anything which you’re doing physically.”
Parnell using his voice as a primary acting tool comes easily, because it runs in the family.