Kenan Thompson

Kenan Thompson (/ˈknən/; born May 10, 1978)[1] is an American actor and comedian. He has been a cast member of the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live since 2003, making him the longest-tenured cast member in the show's history.[2]

Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson 2012 (cropped).jpg
Thompson in May 2012
Born (1978-05-10) May 10, 1978 (age 42)
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1994–present
Television
Spouse(s)
Christina Evangeline
(
m. 2011)
Children2
Websitewww.kenanthompson.net

Thompson began his acting career in the early 1990s, and earned fame as an original cast member of Nickelodeon's sketch comedy series All That. In this time, he often collaborated with All That costar Kel Mitchell. In 1996, they began starring in their own sitcom Kenan & Kel (1996–2000). Thompson is also known for his roles in The Mighty Ducks franchise, Good Burger, and the title character in the 2004 film Fat Albert.

He has received a Primetime Emmy Award from three nominations for his work on SNL,[3] and is ranked at #88 on VH1's 100 Greatest Teen Stars.

Early lifeEdit

Thompson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Fletcher and Elizabeth Ann Thompson. He has two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. Thompson's mother enrolled him in acting classes at age 5 and his first role as Toto in a church production of The Wiz had no lines.[2] He continued acting throughout his youth, appearing in the school plays such as The Gingerbread Duck.[4] He auditioned for a theatre company The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA).[5] As a child he was a fan of The Price Is Right which he referred to as "my first love" and "very joyful viewing," which had an effect on his future acting style.[6]

CareerEdit

Early careerEdit

One of his earliest roles was as an entertainment reporter for CNN's "Real News for Kids,"[7] and he would go on to star in All That with such characters as Principal Pimpell, Miss Piddlin, Pierre Escargot, and Superdude. He starred as Kenan Rockmore on Nickelodeon's Kenan & Kel.[7] While Kenan attended Tri-Cities High School, a Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School in East Point, Georgia, he began filming his first movie, D2: The Mighty Ducks.

Later careerEdit

Thompson has starred in several films including Good Burger, based on the All That sketch of the same title, and Fat Albert, in which he played the title character. He has also had supporting roles in the movies Heavyweights, D2: The Mighty Ducks, D3: The Mighty Ducks, Love Don't Cost a Thing, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, My Boss's Daughter, and Snakes on a Plane. Thompson had a recurring role on The Steve Harvey Show as Junior, with co-star Kel Mitchell.

In 2009, Thompson was a regular voice actor in the Fox cartoon series Sit Down, Shut Up, portraying Sue Sezno, who, as evinced by her last name, always says no.[8] The series premiered on April 19, 2009,[8] but was canceled after only four episodes due to low ratings and less than favorable reviews. Thompson provided the voice for the LeBron James puppet in Nike's MVP "Most Valuable Puppets" commercials, which were produced to be shown throughout the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Thompson also guest starred on the USA Network series Psych in the fourth season episode "High Top Fade Out". He played an estranged college singing buddy of the character Gus. In 2011, he returned to Nickelodeon, as he guest starred in "iParty With Victorious", a crossover episode of TV sitcoms iCarly and Victorious.

Thompson appeared as a host of sorts of TeenNick's 1990s programming block, The '90s Are All That, appearing in many of the block's early bumpers and hyping material. He would return to the block, now called NickRewind but at the time called The Splat, for All That's 22nd anniversary, with segments filmed at the 2015 New York Comic-Con.[9]

 
Thompson at a hockey game, in front of the Stanley Cup in 2018

In 2015, Fandango announced that Thompson would play their brand character, fictional character Miles Mouvay. Thompson would play Mouvay in 18 videos, eight 30-second commercials, and a few comedic skits.[10]

On September 23, 2015, Thompson appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon alongside former All That co-star Kel Mitchell in which they reprised their popular Good Burger roles as "Ed" and "Lester Oakes, Construction Worker". They later competed against one another in an episode of the revived Nickelodeon game show Double Dare that aired in November 2018.[11]

In 2019, Thompson served as a judge for NBC's comedy competition series Bring the Funny.[12] He also became an executive producer with Mitchell for Nickelodeon's All That revival, premiering in June.[13] In May 2019 NBC announced they had picked up Thompson's single-camera comedy The Kenan Show to series. The series will premiere in 2020 and feature Thompson as a newly widowed father determined to be a "super dad."[14]

In 2020, he became the spokesman for Universal Parks & Resorts’ "Let Yourself Woah" campaign,[15] and was set to host the 2020 White House Correspondents' Dinner.[16]

Saturday Night LiveEdit

 
Thompson interviewed in 2019

Thompson returned to sketch comedy when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2003,[17]. According to Thompson he had previously sent an audition tape to SNL multiple times with them claiming he looked too young, with him noting "it was a couple years’ worth of that". [6] A fan of the show before joining, Thompson noted that he feared that being on the show was a "disservice" to it stating "It was weird for me for a long time". [6] Thompson was a featured player until 2005 (spanning the 29th and 30th seasons) and was promoted to repertory player at the beginning of season 31 (the 2005–2006 season).

In 2013, he refused to play any more black women on the show and demanded SNL hire black women instead.[18][19]

Thompson has been a cast member on SNL for 17 seasons, breaking 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 seasons. Thompson became the most senior cast member in the second half of the 2013–14 season, following the departure of Seth Meyers. He is also the longest-serving African-American cast member, surpassing Tim Meadows, who stayed on the show for ten seasons, and is also the oldest current cast member.[20] Thompson also holds the record for most celebrity impressions performed on the show, performing 139, beating Hammond's previous record of 107.[21] Although early on he planned to stay on the show until something else came along, by 2019 he noted that SNL was his "Forever plan." [22][23]

In 2014 SNL head writer Brian H. Tucker noted that simply putting "KENAN REACTS" would get a script more laughs, further elaborating, "Put him in your sketch somewhere, anywhere, and your sketch will get better. Because Kenan knows how to take ordinary lines and make them funny, and take funny lines and make them special." [24] Similarly, Lorne Michaels in a 2019 article would refer to Thompson as "the person I most rely on in the cast." [23] Vulture referred to him as the "heir apparent" to Phil Hartman, both being "the glue" of their respective casts.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Thompson married model Christina Evangeline on November 11, 2011.[26] Together, they have two daughters, Georgia, born June 20, 2014,[27][28] and Gianna, born August 2, 2018.[29]

FilmographyEdit

Kenan Thompson film work
Year Title Role Notes
1994 D2: The Mighty Ducks Russ Tyler
1995 Heavyweights Roy
1996 D3: The Mighty Ducks Russ Tyler
1997 Good Burger Dexter Reed
2000 The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Lewis
2002 Big Fat Liar Party Guest
2002 The Master of Disguise Guy on Computer
2003 Love Don't Cost a Thing Walter Colley
2003 My Boss's Daughter Hans
2004 Barbershop 2: Back in Business Kenard
2004 Fat Albert Fat Albert
2006 Snakes on a Plane Troy
2008 Space Chimps Ringmaster Voice
Wieners Wyatt
2009 Stan Helsing Teddy
2011 The Smurfs Greedy Smurf Voice
2012 The Magic of Belle Isle Henry
2013 The Smurfs 2 Greedy Smurf Voice
2014 They Came Together Teddy
2014 Opposite Sex Mitch
2016 Rock Dog Riff Voice
2016 Brother Nature Miesha
2017 Going in Style Keith
2018 The Grinch Bricklebaum Voice
2019 Wonder Park Gus
2019 Playmobil: The Movie Bloodbones
2019 Dads Himself Documentary
2020 Trolls World Tour Tiny Diamond Voice
2020 Clifford the Big Red Dog Post-production
TBA Spinning Gold Berry Gordy
TBA Hubie Halloween
TBA Home Alone Filming
Kenan Thompson television work
Year Title Role Notes
1994–99 All That Various Roles Main role
2002 Guest role (Season 7)
2005 Guest role (Season 10)
2019–present Executive producer (Season 11)
1996–98 The Steve Harvey Show Junior 4 episodes
1996–2000 Kenan & Kel Kenan Rockmore Main role
1997 Sister, Sister Trevor Episode: "Inherit the Twin"
1998 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Kenan Rockmore Episode: "Sabrina's Choice"
1999 The Amanda Show Himself Episode: "Episode 1"
1999 Cousin Skeeter Kenan Rockmore Episodes: "Hoo, I'm Wild Wild West" (Parts 1 & 2)
2000 The Parkers Damon Episode: "Trading Places"
2001 Felicity DeForrest Ingram 4 episodes
2002 Off Centre MC French 2 episodes
2003 Clifford the Big Red Dog Hamburger Episode: "Food for Thought/Friends Forever"
2003–05 Saturday Night Live Cast Member Featured player (Seasons 29 & 30)
2005-present Repertory player (Season 31 to present)
2005 Wild 'N Out Himself Episode: "Kenan Thompson"
2018 Episode: "All That Takeover"
2006 Rugrats Mirror Episode: "Tales from the Crib: Snow White"
2007 Crank Yankers Mark Thomas Episode: "4.1"
2008 The Mighty B! Rocky Rhodes 3 episodes
2009 Psych Joon Episode: "High Top Fade-Out"
2009 Sit Down, Shut Up Sue Sezno 13 episodes
2011 iCarly Himself Episode: "iParty with Victorious"
2011 The '90s Are All That Host
2013 Martha Speaks Stanley Episode: "Stanley Saves The Day/Milo Goes For Gold"[30]
2013–15 The Awesomes Austin "Impresario" Sullivan Voice
2015 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Lester Oakes Episode: "James Spader/Andrew Rannells/Brian Regan
2015–17 Nature Cat Ronald Voice
2016 Maya & Marty Various roles Main role
2016, 2019 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Roland 2 episodes
2017-19 Match Game Himself/Panelist 4 episodes[31]
2018 Double Dare Himself Contestant; episode: "Team Kel vs. Team Kenan"
2018 Studio C Himself, various roles [32][33]
2019 The Masked Singer Himself Guest judge; episodes 8, 9[34]
2019 Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? Episode: "Quit Clowing"[35]
2019 Bring the Funny Judge[36]
2021 Kenan TBA Main role
Kenan Thompson albums
Year Title Notes
2004 Good Times Comedy album

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kenan Thompson". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Izadi, Elahe. "The quiet brilliance of Kenan Thompson, SNL's longest-tenured cast member". Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  3. ^ "Kenan Thompson". emmy.com. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  4. ^ "Kenan Thompson Biography – Yahoo! Movies".
  5. ^ Tuck, Angela (August 5, 2015). "For 25 years, group for young Atlanta performers has mixed art, issues". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Collings, Austin. "Kenan Thompson's 17-Year Itch". Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Kenan Thompson Biography (1978–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Sit Down, Shut Up". Fox. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
  9. ^ Harnick, Chris (March 23, 2016). "An All That Reunion Is Coming to The Splat—This Is Vital Information for Your Everyday Life". E! Online. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  10. ^ "Fandango To Launch Brand Personality Series Starring Kenan Thompson". Tubefilter. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  11. ^ Lawrence, Derek (June 25, 2018). "Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell reuniting to compete on special episode of Double Dare". Entertainment Weekly.
  12. ^ Otterson, Joe (February 1, 2019). "NBC Orders Comedy Competition Series With Jeff Foxworthy Among Judges". Variety.
  13. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (February 14, 2019). "All That Revival Ordered at Nick, With Kenan Thompson On Board as EP". TVLine.
  14. ^ White, Peter (May 12, 2019). "Kenan Thompson To Remain On 'SNL' As NBC Figures Out 'Scheduling Issues' For 'The Kenan Show'". Deadline. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Dugan, Christina (February 14, 2020). "Kenan Thompson Returns to All That Roots (and Universal Studios) for First Time in 20 Years: 'It Holds a Place In My Heart'". People. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  16. ^ Steinberg, Brian (February 18, 2020). "White House Correspondents Dinner Returns to Comedy With Kenan Thompson, Hasan Minhaj". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  17. ^ Levin, Gary. "Kenan Thompson gets an NBC sitcom, but will stay on 'SNL,' too". USA Today. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  18. ^ Weisman, Aly. "'SNL's' Kenan Thompson Refuses To Dress In Drag Until The Show Hires A Black Woman". Business Insider. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  19. ^ Nast, Condé. "16 Times Women Changed the Game on 'Saturday Night Live'". Glamour. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  20. ^ "Fred Armisen Is Leaving 'SNL' Too, Jason Sudeikis "Probably"". May 16, 2013.
  21. ^ "Saturday Night Live – Kenan Thompson" SNLarchives.net. Web. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Hiatt, Brian. "How Kenan Thompson Became The Ultimate 'SNL' Survivor". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Izadi, Elahe. "The quiet brilliance of Kenan Thompson". Washington Post. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  24. ^ Tucker, Bryan. "Why Saturday Night Live Writers Lean on Kenan Thompson". Slate. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  25. ^ Abriss, Erik. "Why Kenan Thompson Is the Most Underrated SNL Cast Member Ever". Vulture. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  26. ^ Macatee, Rebecca. "Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson Gets Married!". US Weekly. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  27. ^ Heller, Corinne (June 22, 2014). "Here's an SNL Weekend Update: Kenan Thompson Is a Dad!". E! Online. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  28. ^ Diaz, Evelyn (June 23, 2014). "Kenan Thompson, Wife Welcome Baby Girl - It's the first child for the SNL comedian". BET. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  29. ^ "'SNL' Star Kenan Thompson and Christina Evangeline Welcome Their Second Child". August 4, 2018.
  30. ^ "PBS KIDS Debuts New Episodes & Online Content from ARTHUR and MARTHA SPEAKS – BWWTVWorld". Broadway World TV. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  31. ^ "Match Game (2016) (a Guest Stars & Air Dates Guide)". epguides.com.
  32. ^ "Studio C + Kenan Thompson in Season 9 Premiere!". YouTube, Studio C Channel. September 10, 2018.
  33. ^ "Studio C Live from NYC". BYUTV.org. September 10, 2018.
  34. ^ Henderson, Cydney (February 20, 2019). "'The Masked Singer' recap: Two celebrities are revealed in the semifinals". USA Today. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  35. ^ "Boomerang Unveils New SCOOBY-DOO AND GUESS WHO? & YABBA-DABBA DINOSAURS! Series". Broadway World. May 23, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  36. ^ Swartz, Tracy. "Meet the 3 Chicago acts performing in new NBC competition 'Bring the Funny'". chicagotribune.com.

External linksEdit