Kenan Thompson is leaving Saturday Night Live, according to a report released by TMZ.
— Rachel Adams (@RachelAAdams) September 22, 2014
According to the report, Kenan Thompson will be leaving the cast and crew of the hit NBC variety series at the end of the upcoming 40th season. The report also states that Kenan wanted to leave at the end of last season along with Nasim Pedrad.
However, due to the major cast overhaul, SNL creator and head-guy-in-charge Lorne Michaels pleaded with Kenan – asking him to stay for at least one more season. Kenan Thompson first joined the cast of Saturday Night Live back in 2003, making him the most seasoned performer on the show. He worked as a featured player until 2005, which was when he was promoted to a regular cast member that eventually became the veteran actor and senior cast member of the group.
By staying on-board for 11 seasons, Kenan Thompson also made history on the show as the longest serving African-American cast member (a record previously held by ten-season SNL alum Tim Meadows). However, a more important and even more impressive record that was set by Kenan Thompson during his time with Saturday Night Live was the number of impressions he was able to pull off — a whopping 108 (and counting). The only person that has come close to that in the past was Darrell Hammond – another SNL alum and the recently hired Saturday Night Live announcer that will try to fill the shoes of the late Don Pardo.
As of right now, there are still no reports about what Kenan Thompson will do after his days at Saturday Night Live have finally come to an end. Perhaps he wants to spend more time with his model wife, Christina Evangeline, whom he married back in November of 2011. It is also speculated that Kenan wants to be able to spend more time at home with his firstborn child, Georgia.
Since he is the senior cast member and one of the most loved actors on the show, many of the sketches from the 40th season will likely have to involve Kenan in some way, shape, or form. This is especially the case since so many other solid actors and actresses from the show (i.e. Nasim Pedrad, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, etc.) have left the show in recent years. With Cecily Strong being replaced at the Weekend Update desk, this will hopefully free her up for more sketches and allow her to develop new and exciting characters.
Many fans are also excited to see rising stars Taylor McKinnon and Aidy Bryant get a little more camera time in the sketches as well.
Only time will tell. In regards to the future of Kenan Thompson, he definitely has a lot of different opportunities that he can explore once he is no longer active at SNL. Kenan Thompson could take a similar path as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler by heading a successful NBC sitcom. On the other hand, Kenan might follow in the footsteps of Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon and use Lorne Michaels’ assistance to land a late-night hosting gig. Kenan might even work on getting back to the big screen (perhaps another Mighty Ducks movie?) Many fans and critics have already rushed to Twitter with their responses and reactions to the news of Kenan Thompson leaving SNL.
— Michelle Justiniano (@Starlilies68) September 22, 2014
— Pat Tiffin (@pattiffin) September 22, 2014
— clp (@cortnanilynn) September 22, 2014
— MelissaB (@miss_red_mel) September 22, 2014
Whichever door of opportunity he decides to open, Kenan Thompson will definitely be successful – even if he decided to leave all of those doors closed right now and focus more on being a family man.