Stand-up comedian Chris Redd is no stranger to parody. His first breakout role was in Lonely Island’s 2016 comedy "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," where he arguably stole the film with his spoof on a Tyler, the Creator-esque character Hunter the Hungry. From there, the Second City comedian flexed his skills on "Saturday Night Live" when he was cast as a featured player for the 43rd season of the show. In his first year, Redd won an Emmy Award for "Come Back, Barack," a digital short which mimicked the R&B slow jams of the ’90s. Next, Redd heads to the big screen in "Deep Murder," a wacky genre hybrid movie that spoofs the late night soft-core porn genre and slasher horror flicks. "Deep Murder" camps it up with a group of one-dimensional archetypes born out of the soft-core porn world, who suddenly find themselves in the middle of a gore-filled horror movie. As each character gets murdered, they’re tested in ways that question whether or not they can truly evolve past their shallow dimensions. Directed by Nick Corirossi ("Funny or Die"), Redd plays Jace in the movie — a jock with a one-track mind.
The comedian was excited to play with the familiar stereotype. "I just wanted to play the jock as the actual character," Redd told us. "There are clear issues with this archetype and there’s no depth to any of those characters. So it was just fun to imagine what else would be there. I wanted to play more with the time period and to find who I would be as this dude." Ahead of the movie’s Friday release (playing at East Village’s Cinema Village), we spoke with Redd about "Deep Murder" and his experience on "SNL."
Coming from Chicago’s Second City, was “SNL” always in your sights?
It’s always in the back of your mind, especially in that place because there are so many people who want that dream. I always definitely wanted to do sketch, and to do my own sketch show. I always looked at it as the big leagues, but I was always like, “Well, if I don’t get it, it’ll be fine.” And so I kind of like built this thing in my mind of “Man, maybe I don’t even need the show.” And then the second they offered me the audition, I was like, "Hell yeah, get me in there right now!" It was the thing I definitely had to take a shot at if I had the opportunity. There are only so many people who are able enough and are blessed to do the show, so it was cool to be one of those people.
How is it working on stand-up material, compared with writing sketch comedy with people on “SNL?”
It’s extremely different. In stand-up it’s all me, so I’m controlling every single moment of it. And if it fails, then it’s on me. [On “SNL”] you’re going into this room with all these very talented people and you’re writing for a specific thing. It’s always more challenging. When you get a win there it just feels so good. It also teaches you so many things about working with different people and how to research something and turn a joke around. It’s definitely harder for sure because you’re writing for other people and it’s for a TV show.
Since being on the show, does stand-up feel different?
I’m sharper about my jokes and really love the rewriting process so that always helps the stand-up. Bombing in that writer’s room is way harder than bombing on stage because you’re bombing in front of your friends and peers, so you kind of toughen up, even more, that way. Stand-up is really just a good release from the sketch world and [it’s about] being able to do my own thing.
You won an Emmy on your first season of "SNL." That must have been incredible.
Yeah, that was insane. It was something that was so out of nowhere. Getting on the show really unlocked a different level of creativity for me and I was able to evolve my writing to really get to a place where I could create an opportunity like that. When I got that Emmy I said, "Oh yeah, so my next season is going to be trash." There’s just no way to follow that year up like that. It’s just about trying to write the funniest stuff I can and continue to be good at the job.
What was the on-set experience like with “Deep Murder”?
It was so much fun. I appreciated every joke because I was watching Showtime after 10 o’clock — those "Skinemax" specials. Watching that stuff as a kid, I was just like, "Oh my God!" it was the first time I saw some of those things, so to see all these archetypes go through these scenarios was so funny. The jock character is always so stupid in porn so it was really fun to play that up.
It really plays with popular tropes from horror and soft-core porn. Did you anticipate those two worlds mixing together?
No, honestly, until I saw that script I didn’t know and then I was like "OK, damn! Who would mix those two things?" And then I thought, "I gotta be in this, this is fun." It was just amazing to see those two worlds come together and to see porn stars who are on the set with actors who don’t do porn. Watching those two worlds on set was hilarious.
What horror films stuck with you growing up?
Growing up, “The Cabin in the Woods” was like a game changer for me, personally. It was just a horror movie that was done so well and then it turns into a sci-fi, weirdly … That movie was so genius that I don’t think people really grasped how dope that movie really was. Also, I didn’t grow up with it but everything that Jordan Peele is doing right now is super fire.
What’s something about New York City that really struck you when you moved here?
The comedy scene is amazing here — it’s unmatched. I love that this city has a very hustler energy, it being the city that never sleeps. Also, ya’ll’s train system is dope! I especially love how I can get from Harlem to midtown so quickly and not be in a car. It’s dope how you can just move around the city and have so many different options of culture.
"SNL" wrap parties are pretty legendary. Who lives it up from the cast?
I am the best dancer and I would dare anyone to challenge that! I can get down.