Chris Parnell had dreamed of being a "Saturday Night Live" player for over ten years ... and his dream came true last September, when the Groundlings alumnus made his debut as a featured player on the 24 year old late-night comedy showcase. He has since entertained millions of viewers with his excellent sketch acting skills, as well as impressions of Tom Brokaw, Newt Gingrich, and Kenneth Starr, among others.
Parnell got his acting start in the early 1980s as a student at Germantown High School in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1985, during his senior year, he was cast in the school's production of "Greater Tuna." The show required only two actors to portray ten characters (men and women) each, throughout the play. As one of those two actors, Parnell let his acting and comedic talent shine. One of his theater buddies at Germantown describes the performance as "hysterical." Even then he was "just an incredible actor."
That same school year, Parnell earned a supporting role in "On The Twentieth Century" and was voted Most Talented in his class.
Another high school acquaintance of Parnell's tells me, "At Germantown the theater department is almost as important as their football team. They have lots of money and some of their shows rival anything on Broadway. It doesn't surprise me that Chris has done well because that school is so influential as far as winning awards and probably scholarships. He definitely was already showing a great deal of promise then."
Parnell returned home the Christmas after graduation and told a former Drama department friend his goal was to be on "SNL" some day ... Congratulations Chris! The moral of the story: Follow your dreams.
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