Kenan Thompson is officially the longest-tenured cast member of Saturday Night Live, and with his sketches and characters as funny as they've ever been, it's safe to speculate he could be on the show for much longer. Of course, it's all up to Thompson as to whether or not he wants to stay on the show, and recent statements by the actor have indicated he's considering it. Thompson mentioned in a recent interview his thoughts on one day leaving SNL, and when he first started seriously thinking about it:
I think about leaving and I fear it. This is such a special place, you want to do your part here, but you also want to make room for people that are coming behind you. This was the first year I really started feeling like, 'OK, I could push out of it now.' Chris Redd is super-duper strong, and I really look forward to his potential on the show. That was the first time I thought, 'Maybe I should give this dude more room.' If that's the case, then it might be time to move on.
Kenan Thompson had high praise for Saturday Night Live featured player Chris Redd, and seems to think him leaving the show would give Redd more opportunities to shine. Thompson, who obviously seems to be toying with the idea of hanging it up to make way for new talent, later made it clear to THR that he has no specific plans for an exit at this time. Thompson stated that while he might have an appreciation for new talent, he's happy to stay in his role on SNL and not quite ready to start doing auditions for acting roles again.
Kenan Thompson staying on can also be an asset to someone like Redd or another featured player, as the veteran Saturday Night Live castmember can serve as a mentor to the show's newest members. Thompson said that was a role Darrell Hammond, who was the previous record holder for the longest-tenured cast member on SNL, filled for him back in the day. Thompson shared his conflicted feelings on taking the title away from his former mentor, and shared more about the two's relationship throughout the years:
I almost felt a little guilty because I've always been close to Darrell. I've always seen him as Yoda, and he reciprocated that -- he was always checking in on me, and he would always jive with me. I don't think anybody has said 'Live from New York' more than Darrell because there was a ginormous window where it was just all political cold opens. So when I started approaching the record, I was like, 'Man, that's crazy.' I felt a little guilty at first, but he was always cool about it.
For now, Kenan Thompson is slated to appear with the rest of the Saturday Night Live cast when Season 44 premieres on NBC this fall. For a list of shows coming to television well before that, head on over to our summer premiere guide. For more on Kenan Thompson, check out the actor's reasoning for not appearing in more political sketches involving Donald Trump. For more on Saturday Night Live, check out the current cast member of the show that has not one, but two tattoos of dedicated to Ariana Grande on his body.