This yr, Kenan Thompson earned his fifth Emmy nomination for his work on Saturday Night time Stay, a present he’s been part of for 18 years. However 2021 brings with it one thing very new for the NBC collection’ longest tenured castmember: his first nomination for his personal present, a number one actor in a comedy nod for starring on NBC’s Kenan.
To movie the brand new comedy, during which Thompson performs a widowed father and morning present host, he needed to jet forwards and backwards between SNL’s New York stage and Kenan’s Los Angeles set each week. That had its challenges when it got here to SNL, he admits. “If you’re simply coming in for Friday and Saturday, you’re outdoors of the within jokes in every week, so that you’re sort of lagging on the present tone of the week, so your writing goes to be behind,” says Thompson.
However it appears to have been value it. Kenan has been renewed for a second season, and Thompson has one other yr of memorable SNL work below his belt, together with a few of his favourite work, from the Minnesota news anchor sketch with Ego Nwodim to the Village Folks efficiency (extra on that later). Thompson spoke with Vainness Truthful concerning the added weight of filming SNL throughout a pandemic, the lengthy street to Kenan, and what his youthful self would consider him now.
Vainness Truthful: For SNL, you have been ready to return to capturing in studio throughout COVID. How a lot does it weigh on you once you’re placing these reveals collectively and considering that individuals are at house coping with this case and a variety of them turning to your present to seek out reduction from the day-to-day of coping with this pandemic?
Kenan Thompson: It’s a continuing duty. We really feel the duty to alleviate but additionally preserve legacy going. It felt good that folks have been telling us alongside the best way, “Thanks very a lot for doing what you do. We’d like you.” And it helped us get by means of it as a result of there was simply a lot. No one knew something apart from what they knew that day, principally. And that was quite a bit to cope with on high of looking for what could possibly be humorous concerning the day. I must give a lot credit score to Weekend Replace as a result of they’re probably the most topical type of that, so if anyone needed to discuss concerning the now it was Colin [Jost] and [Michael] Che they usually knocked it out frequently, so I give large reward to these two and the entire Replace employees.
If you look again on this final season, have been there any sketches that, once you noticed them on paper you thought they’d play out a method after which after it was shot it performed out otherwise than you anticipated? Both in a very good or dangerous method?
The dangerous method is when it will get minimize. You by no means actually anticipate it to go that method. However issues occur or some issues join with different individuals or some issues aren’t as shocking as a result of perhaps they’ve heard it earlier than. I’ve undoubtedly handled a variety of that this yr. I can solely achieve this many various sorts of voices and after you’ve been there for some time some characters begin to sound alike, I assume. So there was a variety of hoping for giant reactions that didn’t come and I must determine a technique to re-approach, principally. It was a particular re-approach yr for me for certain so far as desk reads have been involved.
Because the longest tenured SNL castmember, how do you keep contemporary and energized for a brand new season when, as you’re saying, you might be generally revisiting characters which are fairly acquainted to you?
The problem is that comedy needs to be confirmed each single time. Perhaps the one factor I can examine longevity like that in lengthy kind is both on a long-running sitcom for those who’re tremendous fortunate or a cleaning soap opera the place I’m nonetheless watching Victor and … I believe it’s Susan on As The World Turns? Proper? They’re nonetheless there. I bear in mind being like age 5 or one thing watching with my grandmother, relaxation her soul. That appears a bit of extra like monotonous, however with SNL, it modifications and it’s new and contemporary. Even for those who’re doing a personality that you simply’ve accomplished earlier than, it’s a distinct model of that and an opportunity to intensify it. It’s all the time model new. After which, hastily, 18 years flash by.
https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/07/awards-insider-snl-emmy-nominee-kenan-thompson | How Kenan Thompson Grew From “Cocky” Baby Star to Double Emmy Nominee