In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.
Chalk it up to a terrible 2020, but the typical signs that autumn is upon us feel especially welcome this year: The leaves are changing, pumpkin-spiced items are lining the grocery shelves, and Saturday Night Live is gearing up for a new season. Now heading into his fourth year with the show, Chris Redd is eager to head back to Studio 8H after COVID-19 forced the cast and crew to wrap up the previous truncated season from home. “I’m just so glad we’re back,” said Redd, who’s among a full roster of returning players—as well as three newcomers—greeting SNL’s 46th season with a Chris Rock-hosted episode this Saturday, October 3, featuring musical guest Megan Thee Stallion.
Fall also brings with it a crop of new scary movies and Redd can be seen in two horror comedies this year: Netflix’s upcoming Vampires Vs. The Bronx from longtime SNL Digital Short director Osmany “Oz” Rodriguez, and Scare Me from writer/director/star Josh Ruben. In Scare Me, Redd co-stars as Carlo, a pizza delivery man with an appreciation for a good scary story, which wasn’t too much of a stretch for the actor, a big fan of the genre. With Scare Me exclusively hitting the Shudder streaming service on October 1, the movie presented The A.V. Club with an opportunity to hit up Redd for a round of 11 Questions. Right out of one of his first SNL rehearsals of the season, the charming Redd took the time to answer our questions, and had us thinking about Tevin Campbell, crop circles, and JAY-Z in brand new ways.
Chris Redd: What would it smell like? Justice. [Laughs].
The A.V. Club: So what is that scent, like a little sandalwood?
CR: Yeah, justice smells like a little ocean—because nothing’s freer than the ocean, you know what I mean? It would smell like some fresh booty, whatever you booty you like. [Laughs]. Clean, fresh booty! And it would smell like some baked fish. Wait, does this candle sound terrible? But I’m just thinking of all the things that I like: Booty, ocean, freedom, and fish.
CR: Oh, man, I have so many. I was such a big music dude. And I made all these mix tapes—I was like the kid who made mix tapes and brought them to the school to sell them for, like, five dollars.
But one of my favorite albums is—well, all the Ludacris albums that came out while I was in high school. The one that had “Rollout (My Business).” I can’t remember this album name, but I literally bumped it all the time. It had that song, “Rollout! [Sings.] Dun-dun-duh-nah Dun-dun.” Oh, Word Of Mouf—that was one of my favorite albums. And then The Carter dropped, by Lil Wayne. Most of Lil Wayne’s albums I was into—I was a superfan. But Word Of Mouf is definitely what first comes to mind because Luda could do it all; he could rap, which I was doing at the time, but he was also funny, which I wanted to be at the time, but didn’t really realize it. Luda could do everything.
AVC: Yeah, Ludacris was very much a jack-of-all-trades. Well, he still is, he’s just maybe not on pop radio like he used to be.
CR: I wouldn’t even know because I don’t even listen to radio. I stream—stream, stream, stream. Every time I listen to radio, it’s because something happened, like, my phone died, or a party didn’t have an aux cord and they’re like, “the Bluetooth isn’t working!” [Laughs.] So, then it’s like, “god—turn the radio on.”
But I still check in with Luda just see what he’s up to, you know what I mean? He was definitely one of those guys that—there wasn’t too many people doing like all the things he was doing. So, yeah, big fan.
CR: Ooh, there’s so many! I think… the aliens making the pyramids. [Laughs.] No, not the pyramids—crop circles! Because I feel like, if the aliens really wanted to mess with us like that, that’s the perfect way to do it. Because you’re just dropping designs in a cornfield, and then just dippin’! And that’s just such an alien thing to do. I mean, I have not seen one person—and my family is from Mississippi—like I’ve not seen one person on a farm designing a crop field. I’ve never seen that one time in my life, so I’m like, “that’s got to be it!”
AVC: In other words, crop circles are just aliens trolling us.
CR: Aliens trolling us! Either way, there’s someone trolling us with an art degree of some kind.
CR: Oh man, when’s the first time I wasn’t disillusioned by politics? Wow, what a question that is. I don’t know—well, Bush and 9/11. With that, I was like, “What is happening in there?” I remember sitting in class when that happened. And just seeing the reaction of Bush at the time to all of this—“That’s not how a president is supposed to react to something!” Him reading to those kids, and then the way he just reacted to a traumatic moment, it was just like, “Oh, this is not a leader. This is not a guy I want leading us.” Like, “This is this is absolutely nuts!” And it was the first time I was like, “Oh, these people in politics aren’t perfect, and they actually can be bad at their job.” And, ever since then, it’s been pretty in your face.
And then when somebody threw a shoe at him, that kind of solidified it for me. [Laughs.] I had never seen it before! I was like, “What? You can do that to a president?”
AVC: Yeah, that’s a very specific type of anger—to want to throw a shoe at someone.
CR: Realizing you could throw a show, and then spending the rest of your day without the shoe! That’s, like, mad commitment. I don’t know what pair of shoes—I don’t want to limp home like, “Yeah, almost got him!”
AVC: That’s why you should always keep one extra shoe handy.
CR: Yeah, I buy a pair and a half, just in case I need to stand up for what I believe in.
CR: Well, the names I want to say, I won’t say. [Laughs.] I’m not here trying to get people arrested! But shoutout to the homies back home. But for fun? I would call [Scare Me writer/director/star] Josh Ruben to help me bury a body. Because he’s a really creative man, so I’m assuming he would have a really creative way to get rid of it, and know where to go. I don’t know what his upper body strength is like, but I feel like, anybody who can write horror—that’s who you call for help burying a body because they’re going to make sure you’re thinking about things like, “Don’t sweat on the dirt because the police can find the dirt and get your sweat!” I need somebody that would be five steps ahead.
AVC: The upper-body strength probably doesn’t matter so much as the planning because, in the moment, it’s adrenaline anyway.
CR: Exactly. The adrenaline is just tells you you’ve got to do this. Because you’re digging for freedom, you know what I’m saying?
CR: I’ve had some good ones! But my favorite and dumbest one was like two years ago. I forget [Halloween] was coming up, and then last minute I got some some vampire teeth and I got a jacket that said, “Cassius Clay” on it—I was Vampire Muhammad Ali! [Laughs]. It was the laziest outfit I’ve ever heard, but I committed to the bit, like, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a vampire.” And I was doing it all day. This was the dumbest costume, but it was because it was so bad that it was good. It was fun.
AVC: Commitment is the key!
CR: One-hundred percent. That day, my friend and her girlfriend were Ike and Tina Turner, so there were, like, people who committed to both the characters and the outfits, and then there was just me: All commitment, trash outfit. Real fangs, though!
AVC: There are two camps of Halloween outfits: There’s funny, and then there’s scary. Do you like the scary stuff? Are you a big Halloween guy, a big horror fan?
CR: Love it! I love horror, man, it’s like one of my favorite genres. The only time I don’t like watching horror is when it’s just on in the background. Like, my cousin was over at my house and was watching something scary while I was trying to write jokes, and I don’t like that at all. Because you just hear constant [mimics the sound of a knife slashing]. I’m like, “Yo, that is not helping my punch lines at all.” [Laughs]. But I love horror.
CR: If I could live anywhere, I would live in London. I love London, their comedy scene is awesome. And, also, I want to pick up the accent. And there’s something very, very cool about the fact that they don’t have any guns, really. I guess there’s, like, a lot of stabbings [Laughs.]—which just shouldn’t be funny, but, like, you can’t do a drive-by with a knife! But it’s just this very different kind of kind of vibe in London; I always have so much fun in London. It’s just a melting pot in a different way.
And they party hard, but their drinks are weaker, so you’re having more drinks! I remember when I was touring, I was hanging out one night, and I was like, “Did I just drink fifteen drinks?” Because they’re so watered down! So you just feel like a pirate when you’re there. But you’re also, like, not any more drunk than you would be normally. So I think that’s also good: You can maintain your addictions there in a safe way.
CR: If “the birds and the bees” were like a pit to fall into, I did that. My parents didn’t tell me about the birds and the bees until after I had already been, like, “birds’n and bees’n.” But I learned from school when they took us to this—I think was a museum? It was in St. Louis. And they just had, like, a bunch of vaginas and penises everywhere. [Laughs.]. And they just told us where they go, and what they! And I was just like, “… Okay?” [Laughs.] But I fumbled, I fumbled around. When I had my first time, it was very bad, but I had all the confidence of somebody who’s done it before, but none of the experience. And then I remember, not too much later, my dad sat me down and was like, “Hey, so, you know about sex, right?” And I was like, “Yeah, you’re late. You’re real late.” I think I was a grown man by the time he was ready to have that conversation.
CR: Oh, man, I have a few. But mine is: Biscuits are dusty as hell. All biscuits are dusty, and that’s what you need to add butter! You need to add things to a biscuit because they’re naturally dusty. They are dusty and crumbly—and delicious—but dusty as hell. And I will die on that dusty-ass biscuit hill any day of the week.
CR: R&B! I turn to it anytime I’m like angry or mad or, like, just had a rough day. I just like hearing the soothing sounds of people belting for love. It’s been ’90s R&B, specifically, [which] just has a song for every moment you could possibly feel, and I just like going back and listening to it. And also they’re like the most ridiculous songs, too. I love “Can We Talk” by Tevin Campbell. That is, like, the best song, but it’s also such a weird song. If you listen to the lyrics, [Laughs.], he just acted like he knew somebody and she didn’t know him, but he acted like it anyway? It’s just great.
CR: There’s a movie about that—yo, it’s creepy as hell! I don’t know, man. I think not because I have anxiety, and I think I would just over-obsess over it, all of the time. But I’m nosy, too, so—I think I would not [want to know] at first, and then, when I get older, I think I’d be like, “Yeah, just tell me, damn it!” Yeah, you know, like, “I think I’m gonna book this flight, so…” [Laughs].
AVC: Right, if you’re planning for a trip, that’s one thing. But, right now, you wouldn’t want to know?
CR: Would not want to know. It would throw me off.
Bonus 12th question from Desus & Mero: Which would you rather have, $5 million or dinner with JAY-Z?
CR: I think I would rather have $5 million because I could probably get a dinner with JAY-Z.
AVC: You mean, you could make that happen with the $5 million?
CR: Yeah! [Laughs]
AVC: Well, their thinking was the other way around—
CR: I know! It’s the hustler’s way of thinking, right? That if you have a dinner with JAY-Z, he will help you turn it into $5 million. But: What if he doesn’t like your ass? Then you just had a dinner with JAY-Z—which is fire… Plus, people can cancel dinners all the time! Lots of famous people do. Constantly! But, if you have $5 million, and you try to set up a dinner, like, “Yo, I got these $2 million, I want to invest in something. We should discuss this over a dinner.” JAY’s not going to say no to that!
AVC: At first I thought your answer was a little pessimistic, but now it just seems pragmatic.
CR: I’m thinking, if I get the $5 million, then I’m going to put the $2.5 million into figuring out how to get in the same room as JAY, you know what I mean? But I do understand picking JAY-Z because then you can build, and sometimes that can be more priceless. But I’m still thinking take the $5 million and see what I could do with it.
AVC: And what would you like to ask whoever gets these questions next?
CR: Would you rather be able to hear really well and not see or see really well and not hear?
AVC: That’s really tough. Where do you land on that?
CR: I would rather see very well—well, maybe I would rather hear very well and not see. When I say, “hear really well,” I mean, like, Daredevil status. Like, you can see the sounds, you know what I’m saying? You got super-hearing! But I don’t know if I could go without hearing voices.
AVC: And Ludacris.
CR: And Ludacris! And Word Of Mouf. But they’d both suck to lose. I would miss seeing a lot of stuff. But maybe whoever answers the question will know how much further along the science is. Because [the scientists] could help with that.