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Kenan Thompson Makes History as Longest-Running ‘SNL’ Cast Member

NBC’s Saturday Night Live has long been considered a stable in American sketch comedy since its debut in 1975. While a lot of cast members have graced this stage over the years, there’s one member who has particularly emerged as an icon in SNL history – and not just because of his hilarious sketches and meme-worthy expressions.

After nearly fifteen seasons and fifteen years of quality content, actor and comedian Kenan Thompson has now earned the honor of being SNL’s longest-running cast member.


Last Season’s ‘SNL’ Cast. Source: Paste Magazine

Thompson first joined SNL in 2003, fresh off his breakout roles in Nickelodeon’s Kenan & Kel and the All That sketch comedy series. Thompson shared in a recent CBS News interview that he and his fellow All That costars viewed SNL as a dream job when they were young actors:

“We used to [dream] that, but no one thought it would happen. It’s just amazing to get the chance to audition, because I tried and tried to move on it but they said I looked too young. But finally I got to try out, and I never walked away from the job.

In terms of longevity, Thompson just beats out the fourteen-year run of Darrell Hammond, who was a regular SNL cast member from 1995 to 2009. When asked how it felt to be the new longest cast member, Thompson expressed humility and respect for the former record holder:

“I guess I’m indirectly making sure of it… I’ll break it once we start the season, so I don’t have any control over it. It’s insane to think about. But Darrell will always be the king, doing voice overs. It’ll always be his show. I love Darrell.”

This is not the only record that Thompson has broken with his SNL tenure. He is also the longest-running black cast member on the show, surpassing fellow actor and comedian Tim Meadows who was a regular cast member for nine years and ten seasons.

SNL is not all the seasoned actor plans to do in the future. He is also currently developing Skoogle, a new kids’ sketch comedy inspired by All That:

“We pitched it around so we’re trying to have someone make a deal for it. It’s still in the air, but it looks like it’s going to land pretty strong so we’ll find out what’s going on with that in the next couple weeks. It’s going to be similar to ‘All That’: a bunch of sketches and musical guests. I’m working with my buddy Josh Server, who used to be on ‘All That,’ and my writing partner Mason Garden. He invented SlamBall and he is a producer as well.”

What are your thoughts about Thompson’s impressive career? Are you excited about the new kids’ show he’s developing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

SNL Season 43 is set to premiere on September 30, featuring guest host Ryan Gosling and Jay-Z as the performing act.

Source: CBS News



  1. I love Keenan. One of my all time favorites. Would love for them to bring back “What’s Up With That”. You rock Keenan! And please don’t quit SNL.

  2. Please bring back “what’s up with that”. Keenan Thompson is perhaps one of the most versatile members in snl history.

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