‘SNL’ veteran Keenan Thompson says he’s in for the long haul

The 40-year-old funnyman told 'Deadline' in an interview that he plans on sticking around the show for a while, but he does eventually have other future plans

Keenan Thompson
SNL star Keenan Thompson takes a selfie with a fan at the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Funnyman Kenan Thompson is just fine with his job as a Saturday Night Live cast member and doesn’t have immediate plans to update his resume and search for another gig anytime soon.

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Thompson, 40, opened up to Deadline about his 15-year stint on SNL, earning him the accolade of becoming the longest-running cast member in the show’s history. Surely Thompson has an employee of the “years” plaque hanging somewhere around Studio 8H.

The former Nickelodeon star has made a name for himself making fun of our favorite people like his Family Feud skits as a loud and animated caricature of Steve Harvey, and the hit Black Jeopardy parody and the ridiculous personal fave “What Up With That?”. (How about the guy who randomly does the running man, for no reason, in that skit. Funny stuff for sure.)

So, what exactly is Thompson’s career plan moving ahead, because we all know all good things come to an end.

“I would love to take the Tom Hanks approach,” he laughs. “Do a bunch of comedy and then turn into the biggest movie star ever. That would be so awesome.”

We can dig it.

The new dad also said he would love to have his own production company, and perhaps crossover into dramatic film.

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Moving from comedy to drama is something even his SNL predecessor, comedic icon Eddie Murphy has successfully done. But unlike Murphy, who became a larger than life comedian not only as a former SNL cast member but as a stand up comedian, Thompson said he doesn’t plan on throwing his hat into the stand-up arena.

“I never really tried it honestly,” he said when asked about possibly tacking stand-up comedy. “I was more just a fan, going to the comedy clubs every week, just because I was a fan of stand-up. I never really got up on stage until I was already on SNL and everything.” 

 Thompson said at 18, when he first moved to Los Angeles, he was not privy to the ups and downs of a stand-up comedian’s life, but he didn’t necessarily want to do the exact same things they were doing at the time. 

“I always respected Richard Pryor, and Eddie Murphy, and all those guys. Martin Lawrence, and Dave Chappelle, and George Carlin, and Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Burr, I could just go down the list because I watch them all,” he said. “As far as me getting up on stage, I didn’t really have the time to dedicate towards it. Maybe I was being lazy.”

Working at SNL, however, has worked for Thompson. But if he hadn’t gone this comedic route, he said his brains would have taken him far.

“I’m pretty smart, so I don’t know if I’d necessarily be at MIT or something,” he admits, “but I think I’d be doing pretty good wherever I was. I’ve thought about being on like SWAT or something. A super duper sharp-shooter,” he said.

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