Kenan Thompson Interview: ‘Saturday Night Live’
Even though Kenan Thompson had been on “Saturday Night Live” a mind-blowing 14 years, he had never been to the Emmy Awards ceremony until last September. He received his first ever nomination for Best Original Music and Lyrics in 2017. Of his inaugural experience at the Creative Arts show, he reveals, “I thought it was the purest form of the love of entertainment because that entire room was filled with people that are super-duper professional, focused and great at their jobs. They hardly get any recognition for it and do it for the love.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Thompson above.
Although his song “Last Christmas” lost that evening, he watched as “SNL” won for production design, makeup and guest stars Melissa McCarthy and Dave Chappelle. The cast celebrated the following week at the primetime ceremony as “Saturday Night Live” prevailed for the first time as Best Variety Sketch Series, its first program trophy since 1993.
And now Thompson could be nominated as Best Comedy Supporting Actor for his 15th season on the show. He is the longest-tenured cast member ever, surpassing Darrell Hammond plus Kevin Nealon and Phil Hartman before them. Emmy voters have been more welcoming to the repertory players in recent years with Kate McKinnon winning the past two years and Alec Baldwin (in a recurring role as Donald Trump) last year. Cast members Vanessa Bayer and Leslie Jones received their first acting nominations last year as well.
Discussing his new record and history on the series, Thompson says, “It’s incredible! I can’t wait to design my tattoo. It’s just one of those things you never expect in life. Really, the most important thing is that the show has to go on. Whether I’ve done 305 episodes or not, or if I’m there or not, the show will continue to do its thing. While I’m there, you’re only as good as your last episode. We have to earn our laughs every single week.”
In our interview, we also discuss favorite characters he has played such as Steve Harvey and Bishop Michael Curry among many. He doesn’t know yet if he might be on stage performing for the 2018 Emmy Awards with “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels at the helm and “Weekend Update” anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost hosting.