It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Especially on our small screen which continues to offer up a seemingly never-ending parade of Holiday treats. Case in point, tonight at 8:30PM ABC (CTV in Canada) proudly takes the wraps off PREP & LANDING: NAUGHTY VS NICE, the sequel to last year’s animated gem PREP & LANDING. And here to preview the show, as well as talk up his hilarious work on the hit freshman series SUBURGATORY is none other than the North Pole’s newest elf, Mr. Thistleton, voiced by SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE alum Chris Parnell.
Can you talk a little bit about what type of role you’re voicing?
Chris Parnell: I play Mr. Thistleton, who is kind of a computer genius. He runs what’s called the Database Tree Farm which is where all the information on the children around the world is kept, who’s been naughty and whose been nice. Which of course is at the heart of what Santa has to do in terms of what gets delivered to these children all over the world. He’s a really smart guy, he created this amazing system, originally called the “Winternet” and got very upset when they dropped the “W” from the name. It’s a fun character.
Your distinctive voice has warranted a lot of voice over work throughout your career. Were voiceovers something you always envisioned for your career or was it somewhat of a happy accident?
My dad is a voiceover guy, not in animation, but he’s done it my whole life and I started doing commercials and things when I was a kid with him. And when I got on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE I got to do a lot of voice stuff for the show and from that I was able to get a voice over agent, started to do commercial stuff and gradually started to audition for and occasionally be offered animated stuff. So it was something that I wanted to do for a while but it can be a difficult thing to break into and when it finally started to happen I couldn’t have been happier.
As an enormous fan of SUBURGAROY, we have to ask about upcoming episodes. Will they shed some much-needed light on the inner-workings of your character’s marriage?
They will. I’ve shot seven or eight episodes at this point even though only two have aired. I think the other ones I’ve done thus far will air in January and we’ll find out a lot more about Fred and Sheila Shay, played by Ana Gasteyer of course. I’m a recurring guest star at this point but I couldn’t be happier playing this role with Ana and the rest of the cast, including Cheryl [Hines] who I’ve also known since years and years ago from The Groundlings. Everyone is so good, so nice and when you dig each other as a cast it’s kind of a blast.
Between yourself, co-star Ana Gasteyer, THE MIDDLE’s Chris Kattan, UP ALL NIGHT’s Maya Rudolph and HAPPY ENDINGS Casey Wilson, Wednesday nights seem to have become the home to SNL alum as of late. Is that something you’ve taken notice of
It’s pretty cool to see. Chris [Kattan] and I are on these two shows that air back to back. I’m happy to see it because I sometimes feel like in the past there’s been a hesitation to put too many SNL people on one show, so the fact that they’re willing to put Ana and I together is pretty swell.
Having been off SNL for quite some time now, do you ever miss that ability to take something that’s happening in the news right now and put your own spin on it on any given Saturday night?
You know to be honest, not really. Look, I mean if they asked me back for something and I’m available I’d be happy to do it. I love watching what they do, I’m always eager to see what they’re take on a crazy political thing is because I still watch and love the show, but I don’t necessarily have the super strong desire to get back into the trenches myself and try to come up with material. I loved it, but I enjoy it the memories of it, but I did my time there.
PREP & LANDING: NAUGHTY VS NICE airs Monday December 5th at 8:30PM on ABC (CTV in Canada)