Kenan Thompson Keeps ‘SNL’ in the Black

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  • When NBC’s franchise comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live” heads into its 38th season on September 15th, Kenan Thompson will be there. He’s going into his tenth year on the show, which has made stars out of black comedians Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan and Maya Rudolph. But he didn’t expect it to last this long at all.

    “This job is weird,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution a few years into his “SNL” gig.  “It fits some people and really doesn’t for others. It does fit for me.” Thompson says it took him awhile to get comfortable in his role after starring in kiddie fare for Nickelodeon on “All That” and “Kenan and Kel.” He is the first cast member ever who came from kids’ television. For those reasons, Thompson has stayed pretty humble, despite his longevity on the show.

    “It’s tough to have that kind of ego,” he said, “especially on a show that has spawned so many success stories. I don’t have that.” But Thompson is not ashamed of his roots on Nick, as he returned last year to do a guest spot on the Nick show “IParty” a mashup of popular Nick shows “ iCarly” and Victorious.”

    “They're my extended family and they gave me my first television work. I owe a lot to Nickelodeon,” Thompson told Digitalspy.com. "I'm very close to a lot of the people that run these shows. Dan Schneider – the writer of “iCarly and “Victorious” – has been my friend for 15 years, and he asked me to do [iParty] so I said, 'Of course'."

    Thompson, who was brought on initially to replace Tracy Morgan who found more fame on the NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” which parodies “Saturday Night Live,” says that “What’s Up With That” is among his favorite “SNL” skits and that Lindsey Lohan was one of his favorite guests to work with.  As for his future, he’d be happy to be one of “Saturday Night Live’s” longest running cast members (that distinction currently belongs to Darrell Hammond, who was on for fourteen seasons. (Thompson, who joined in 2003, is behind current cast members Fred Armisen and Seth Myers. Alec Baldwin holds the record for most times hosting “SNL” with 16 appearances.)

    But Thompson says “Saturday Night Live”, however long his run, won’t mark the end of what has already been a stellar career.

    “I still have goals,” he told Digitalspy.com. “I want to get into producing and writing more for myself, setting up my own films and seeing what kind of personal touch I can put on movies, as opposed to just being in them. That's always a goal of mine. As far as particular projects, I don't know, but there's certain people I'd like to work with, like Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence…If I could end up like Jonah Hill, winding up in a Brad Pitt movie, that would be awesome."
     

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