How Steve Harvey Responded After Kenan Thompson Started Impersonating Him On SNL

Saturday Night Live Kenan Thompson Steve Harvey NBC
(Image credit: Saturday Night Live Screenshot / NBC)

Saturday Night Live is famous for its cast’s incredible ability to do impressions, and among them is Kenan Thompson's take on Family Feud host Steve Harvey. How did Harvey respond to it, initially? Thompson opened up on how Harvey took it, and his answer demonstrates the evolution reactions can have.

Kenan Thompson has impersonated Steve Harvey during takes on Family Feud, a segment that has seen Thompson's Harvey host as Game of Thrones characters squared off with those from The Avengers, as just one example. Thompson has also played Harvey during a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? segment, so it has been a trend. Asked how often he hears from those he plays on Saturday Night Live, Thompson told THR:

It depends on the person and how often I've done it. Like, I've heard from Steve Harvey and Big Papi (David Ortiz). It's usually pretty positive. I mean, Steve wasn't overly excited about it in the beginning, but he grew to love it. I don't do it out of any malice.

There you have it. Steve Harvey may not have been thrilled at first, but now Kenan Thompson says he loves it. As Thompson points out, none of his impressions on Saturday Night Live were done with any harmful intent. It is all in good fun.

He would know. Kenan Thompson has been on the show for nearly 20 years. He is a fan-favorite, and despite his super busy schedule, Thompson has remained dedicated to Saturday Night Live, which Steve Harvey is probably happy about it even if that may not have always been the case.

Kenan Thompson got asked how he knew that Steve Harvey's response was less than favorable at first. It turns out that Harvey did not try to hide his reaction. He was pretty public about it, and it did not take long for Thompson to hear about it. The good news for both men is that it is all water under the bridge now. Thompson explained:

He told me in different ways or he'd say it on his radio show and then people would call me and be like, 'Hey, Steve Harvey's talking about you this morning on the radio,' and I'd be like, 'All right, well, I'm sure he'll settle down once he realizes that I'm not attacking him.' But I remember we were kind of attacking Star Jones a little bit back in the day and she was not feeling that shit. … (Laughter.)

Steve Harvey is not the first celebrity to initially be less than happy about being impersonated on Saturday Night Live. Kenan Thompson indicated that Star Jones did not respond well to SNL's bits of the former View co-host. Adam Sandler has shared how he used to get angry over Jimmy Fallon performing impressions of him. Sandler also acknowledged the backlash he received when he used to be on Saturday Night Live.

It sounds like Steve Harvey, like Adam Sandler, has no hard feelings about Kenan Thompson's impression of him anymore. In related news, Kenan Thompson thankfully said that his experience meeting people he has performed impressions of has been mostly positive, which is a great thing for those who enjoy Thompson's Family Feud bits on Saturday Night Live. Check out one of his performances as Harvey:

Kenan Thompson went all out, even donning Steve Harvey's signature mustache for the bit. As you can tell from what Thompson had to say, his approach is positive, and with no ill will. Harvey is on board now, and fans of both comedy icons can enjoy each other's work, including Thompson's as Harvey for Saturday Night Live.

Stay tuned to learn when Saturday Night Live will return. Until then, check out this summer's premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.