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Was Kanye West Actually Going To Join Kim Kardashian On Saturday Night Live? Here’s What Kenan Thompson Says

screenshot kim k and kenan
(Image credit: NBC)

As expected, there was a lot of hype surrounding Kim Kardashian's hosting gig on Saturday Night Live last week. After a slightly shady tweet from Debra Messing, fans were divided on whether a reality TV star was fit for the role. Yet the anticipation only continued to build after rumors circulated that her soon-to-be ex-husband Kanye West was advising her behind the scenes and would possibly even have a cameo. The latter obviously didn't pan out, but SNL alum Kenan Thompson revealed how close we actually were to a live Kardashian-West skit.

As the longest running castmate on Saturday Night Live, Kenan Thompson has partnered alongside countless celebs while they took a stab at some sketch comedy. Last week, in a skit where Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson portrayed a TMI version of Jasmine and Aladdin, Thompson showed up as “Jourtney’s” boyfriend, Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. Thompson was even there three years ago when Kardashian’s then-husband Kanye West's latest performance on the show. In an interview with Us Weekly, the SNL star shared his impression of why West didn't end up joining her, saying:

It was always, you know, up to him and her. Whatever they wanted to do it. It’s her night. He probably felt like [that] as well. He might’ve just been like, ‘Why don’t you have your moment? And I’ll be here, you know, behind the scenes to support you.’ That’s the kind of vibe I got from it.

Though the rapper didn’t make an official appearance with his soon-to-be-ex-wife on Saturday Night Live, Kenan Thompson did reveal that the notorious enterainer was in fact present at the live show. Thompson saw him “walking around” before he apparently “did the Phantom move.” (Kanye West is notorious for his cryptic ways, when he's not actually being larger than life on stage.) Nevertheless, his estranged hubby still had support from her mom, Kris Jenner, and sister Khloe Kardashian, who participated in a few of her SNL skits.

It's probably for the best that Kanye West did pull a “Phantom move” because Kim Kardashian's opening monologue on Saturday Night Live was especially brutal. There were a lot of jokes about her own family and even her sex tape. And her pending divorce wasn't off limits either, as she essentially said that their split was because of West's personality. Kenan Thompson explained to Us Weekly that the SNL cast was seemingly of the mind to pull back and tell different jokes (which just goes to show how far they were pushing the envelope), but Kardashian had no qualms about it.

In 2018, when Kanye West last performed on SNL, he caught a lot of backlash for going off on a lengthy pro-Donald Trump speech. Even Kenan Thompson said afterwards while on Late Night with Seth Meyers that West was entitled to his opinion, but the moment was essentially like holding the cast “hostage.” Similarly, Kim Kardashian has caught some backlash, too – only this time, for some of the perceived tackiness of the jokes. Nicole Brown’s sister vocalized that the O.J. Simpson bit in her monologue was “beyond inappropriate.”

Despite all the SNL drama, it would seem that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are still making some effort to support each other amidst their ongoing divorce. Tonight, though, the attention turns toward No Time To Die star Rami Malik as yet another first-time host on Saturday Night Live. The show airs at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.