King of Comedy: Chicago’s Redd and Null dish on being new at SNL
by Scott King
It’s hardly news that the Chicago to Saturday Night Live pipeline remains intact.
New cast members this season Chris Redd and Luke Null returned to the Windy City last weekend for SNL: the Experience‘s opening night party at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
32-year-old Chris Redd honed his craft at such Windy City comedy clubs as the Laugh Factory and Jokes N’ Notes before getting the call.
“They hang the SNL thing above your head when you first start [in Chicago],” Redd said. “Like ‘this is the top of the top.’ My whole thing was I just wanted to be as good as I possibly can [be]. Everything in this city just prepared me for this.”
Redd knows that no matter how big of a fish you were on the Chicago comedy scene, patience is a virtue when you’re the new guy on SNL.
“It’s like you’re a freshman in the world,” Redd said. “You have to earn your way and more spots. But it’s fun, this is the challenge I want.”
Chris got some quality screen time a couple weeks ago playing Kanye West in a sketch. He gave the skinny on what goes into a good Kanye impression:
“Apparently not say much (laughs). To walk around and be aware of everything. I love Kanye and I love making fun of him. It was such a good thing. I think ‘what would Kanye really be thinking in this moment, and how do I play that through my face?’
“They (SNL) just sent me a text and were like ‘Hey, we got you as Kanye.’ So I started looking at Kanye videos. I’m already a fan, but I was seeing the kind of things he does and I took little pieces.”
Luke Null, another new cast member discovered in Chicago, worked a nine-to-five job in the Windy City while producing his own musical comedy shows around town.
“I worked on Huron in River North at a place called ‘Build out’ a month ago,” Null said. “I’m the unknown guy coming in, they’re looking for sound bites and stuff of me online, they don’t exist. I was doing improv every night.”
The 27-year-old knows musical comedy is a good way to get seen on SNL, specifically on Weekend Update similar to how Adam Sandler built his comedy foundation and portfolio.
“Update is prime real estate,” Null said. “That’s where the heavy hitters go, so once people run out of gas, 10-11 episodes in, that’s when I’ll kind of scooch in and say ‘Hey, what’s up, I got this…’ I’ll be pitching like a mad man until they end up throwing me in there.”
The irony wasn’t lost as Luke returned to Chicago to help promote the new SNL exhibit close to a very important date for him.
“I lived here for almost five years till the day,” Null said. “I moved here with a five-year plan, naively, when I first moved here, I think I was 22 [on] October 1, 2012, I remember. I think I moved to New York late September, so I beat it by a week or two. It was kind of nuts. My five-year plan wound up being relatively accurate.
“It’s insane. You have to pinch yourself every week, ‘What is going on?’ Three shows in, I finally feel like I have a lay of the land now. It’s one of those things, slow and steady. It’s a marathon, not a sprint for sure. Or maybe it’s a series of 22 sprints. It’s a matter of time before I can work in a little more.”