One Chicago actor on the rise played another one in free fall as “Saturday Night Live” this weekend offered its most elaborate take yet on the Jussie Smollett saga.
Chris Redd, the former Naperville resident and Second City actor who briefly played Smollett on the “Legal Shark Tank” sketch earlier this month, fleshed out the role with a scene set in a meeting led by “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels (Kenan Thompson).
There to discuss the fallout of his widely disbelieved claim of being attacked by homophobic racists, the execs steeled themselves for another less-than-credible story from Smollett. Sure enough, the actor rushed in late and said he’d again been ambushed.
Mocking the real-life Smollett’s boast of being “the gay Tupac,” Redd’s version claimed he fought off the assailant because “I’m the gay Mike Tyson.”
Luckily, this thug left behind “a bag of clues” that Smollett happened to have, including some Crest White Strips. “Yo,” he gasped, “you think it’s racial?”
Also in the cheap plastic bag: three big letters spelling “KKK” and a Teletubby doll — “and it’s the gay one!”
Convincing no one including his manager (host Sandra Oh), Smollett insisted he cannot be fired. “I made this show!” he declared. “I’m the gay Lee Daniels.”
“No,” Thompson’s Daniels replied, “I’M the gay Lee Daniels.”
In his second season on “SNL,” Redd has been killing it with impressions of such varied figures as Cory Booker, Kanye West and Soulja Boy. Before landing on the show, he performed at iO and Second City and did guest spots on several TV shows — including the pilot episode of “Empire.”
His first album of stand-up comedy, “But Here We Are,” was released March 8.
The bit followed an opening sketch summarizing the Mueller Report, with Robert De Niro returning as Robert Mueller and Alec Baldwin again playing Donald Trump, with Aidy Bryant debuting her take on Attorney General William Barr. A commercial parody featured the Discover Card gimmick of customers talking to reps identical to themselves — but here they were the creepy doppelgangers from the hit horror movie “Us.”