Kenan Thompson has announced that he is not exiting Saturday Night Live. Amid a slew of rumors that, due to scheduling conflicts, Thompson would call it quits on the sketch comedy show, the actor has confirmed he will return for season 45.
Created by Lorne Michaels, NBC’s Saturday Night Live has graced TV sets for over four decades. The live variety show has produced legendary comedians, memorable hosting moments, and iconic sketches - which have spawned numerous feature films, including Wayne’s World and The Blues Brothers. Hailed as the dominant force behind the world’s strongest comedic talent, SNL has showcased and pivoted the careers of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Adam Sandler, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Amy Poehler, and many, many more. Thompson laid tracks in the comedy world with memorable roles in Good Burger, Kenan & Kel, and All That. Thompson then landed a regular spot on Saturday Night Live in 2003 and dabbled in projects outside of sketch comedy, including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Snakes on a Plane. Thompson now holds the title as the longest-running cast member of SNL upon his 16th season, and after booking several projects outside of SNL, fans began to wonder how much longer Thompson would grace the comedy powerhouse stage.
According to Deadline, Thompson announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that he has no plans to leave “the best job in the world.” In what marks his first appearance on the talk show, the actor made it clear that SNL is his home. The Emmy-winning comedian stated that despite his grueling schedule, he said, “I can’t see myself just walking away like that.” Thompson’s tenure on the show has provided a plethora of genius comedic moments, including the sketch, “What Up With That?” - which has been noted as Thompson’s crowning achievement. As season 44 wraps up with highly-anticipated episodes on the roster, including Adam Sandler’s return and Emma Thompson and Paul Rudd hosting the final two episodes, viewers can take comfort in the fact they will not be Thompson’s last.
Thompson continues to juggle his bustling schedule, especially with the comedy competition show, Bring The Funny, which is set to debut on NBC in July. The show is hosted by Amanda Seales and features Thompson, Chrissy Teigen, and Jeff Foxworthy as the competition’s judges. Thompson is also set to star in the NBC comedy pilot The Kenan Show. Produced by Michaels and co-starring Andy Garcia, The Kenan Show follows the newly widowed Thompson as he struggles with single-parenthood. Recently, Thompson has been journeying back and forth from New York to Los Angeles for filming, so the SNL hiatus may prove a period of rejuvenation for the star.
Since its premiere in 1975, Saturday Night Live has produced some of the greatest talents in television history. However, with longevity comes constant turnover in cast members. Along with the speculation of Thompson’s exit, Kate McKinnon has also been rumored as leaving the show. Thompson has shown exponential growth from his days on Nickelodeon, and his talent, work ethic, and devotion have made him legendary. Future projects may cause him to bow out of his tenure, but for now, viewers will not have to wonder what season 45 of Saturday Night Live will look like without Kenan Thompson.