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Kenan Thompson Explains Why He's Stuck With The Saturday Night Live Gig So Dang Long

Saturday Night Live has been around for what seems like forever and, throughout the last several decades, actors have come and gone on the sketch series. One actor who has remained on the series for nearly two decades, though, is Kenan Thompson, who first joined the legendary show in 2003. Now, Thompson is sharing how much longer he plans to be doing the variety show and why he's stuck around for so long.

Not only is Kenan Thompson busy making people laugh every Saturday night on SNL, he is also the star of NBC’s newest comedy Kenan, which premiered last month. While speaking to Chance the Rapper at the SXSW Film Festival (via Deadline), Thompson got to talking about the series and what's made him stick with the show for over 15 years:

We’re on Season 46 right now — I’ve been there for 17 [years]. It’s a wild place! That’s why I am never in a rush to leave because I have never seen anything like it and number two, there aren’t many live shows left. It never gets old because it’s sketch comedy and it changes every week.

Kenan Thompson got his big break on a different sketch comedy series in the mid-late ‘90s. Thompson was a main cast member on Nickelodeon’s All That for the show’s first five seasons and appeared as a guest in some of the later seasons. Since the show’s revival in 2019, he’s served as an executive producer. Thompson would go on to join Saturday Night Live just four years after leaving All That, and he credits his work on Nickelodeon as a training ground for his adult career.

Kenan Thompson has had many memorable characters and moments on Saturday Night Live over the last 17 years. Knowing that Thompson won’t be leaving the series anytime soon means he’ll be able to add even more moments to that ever-growing list. Thompson has even been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on SNL four times, winning once. During the second half of the 2013-14 season, he became the most senior cast member after the departure of Seth Meyers. The actor also broke the record for the longest-tenured cast member in the show’s history previously held by Darrell Hammond, who was on the show for 14 years. Needless to say, it looks as if Thompson will be holding that record, at least for a little while longer.

When Kenan (formerly titled Saving Larry) was first announced in 2018, many people were worried about how it would affect Kenan Thompson’s time on Saturday Night Live. However, now with the series airing and Thompson remaining on SNL with no plans to depart, it seems that won’t be a problem, at least not in the near future.

Saturday Night Live airs its next new episode on Saturday March 27 at 11:30 p.m. ET and will feature Maya Rudolph as host and Jack Harlow as musical guest.

Megan Behnke

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.