Saturday Night Live has been on top of the political satire game in recent months thanks to its regular sketches all about Donald Trump. Alec Baldwin drops in on a regular basis to portray Trump, and Kate McKinnon is frequently on board as Kellyanne Conway, but one person who doesn't seem to appear in the Trump bits quite as much is Kenan Thompson. CinemaBlend's own Greg Wakeman was recently able to speak with Thompson, who had this to say about why he's stepped away from Trump sketches:
That whole thing is happening, and I'm glad it's happening, but I'm also glad to stand on the side and watch it happen too. There's so much pressure and so much feedback, it's crazy. . . . I mean, who am I going to be? Ben Carson? That's not that exciting. I get it. It's not like I'm going to grab onto a Ben Carson impersonation and really freak people out. It will have to be somebody that emerges that is really crazy character that everyone would go crazy for. It has to be true to life. Ben Carson has been quiet recently. So if he did some crazy shit then we'd have to touch upon it, but going and fishing is not how it goes over there. It's whoever is making the noise, and it's obviously Trump at the moment. It's the real circus going on.
As it turns out, there's no conspiracy that has kept Kenan Thompson out of some of the Donald Trump sketches. There has simply been nobody making crazy enough political waves at the moment that Thompson feels he would be a good fit for. SNL excels at making the ridiculous funny; nobody who Thompson would play is doing anything ridiculous enough to bring the laughs.
That said, SNL fans have been lucky enough to see him pop into Donald Trump sketches. Kenan Thompson may not be playing Ben Carson on a weekly basis, but he did turn in a pretty hilarious performance as the president of Zimbabwe, who would not be intimidated via a phone call from Alec Baldwin's Trump. Thompson also had a part in the sketch that was basically an awesome 5-minute parody of Independence Day, starring Donald Trump. He's still part of some of the sketches; he's just not playing a famous political figure.
It sounds like that could change at any given time, however. If Ben Carson does something outlandish that captures public attention, Kenan Thompson may be called upon for an impression in a cold open. SNL evidently isn't the kind of show that is going to create something out of nothing for the sake of simple laughs, and it's not going to bring Carson into the action if he's not doing anything crazy in the real world.
Kenan Thompson is definitely on point with his statement that Donald Trump is making the noise to inspire SNL sketches. The series has never held back from lampooning political figures, and Trump hasn't exactly been quiet in his administration so far. As long as he is still giving SNL the material to work with, and as long as SNL can continue bringing Alec Baldwin back, we can bet that we'll see plenty of political gags on Saturday nights. Even if Ben Carson doesn't do anything to justify Thompson playing him, we can at least hope that he'll find other roles in the Trump sketches to bring the laughs. Who knows? Maybe the president of Zimbabwe has a few more things to say to Trump.
Tune in to SNL on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC to catch Kenan Thompson in action, and don't forget to check him out on the big screen in Going In Style, which hits theaters on April 7. To see all your TV viewing options, drop by our midseason TV premiere guide and our summer TV premiere schedule.