Kenan Thompson, who joined Saturday Night Live as a featured player for its 29th season back in 2003, reportedly will leave after this 40th season concludes in May.
What Up With That?
TMZ first reported the news today.
SNL’s 40th season starts this week, with Chris Pratt hosting and Ariana Grande as the musical guest.
Thompson, now 36, reportedly wanted to leave this summer, but SNL creator Lorne Michaels convinced him to stay through the continued transition of cast members and into this gala anniversary celebration.
Thompson already had a sketch comedy career in children’s TV with All That and Kenan and Kel on Nickelodeon before joining SNL as a 25-year-old. He’s been a repertory cast member since 2005, and currently the longest-serving cast member. He also holds the informal record for most celebrity impersonations on SNL with 108 (beating Darrell Hammond, who just got rehired by the show as its announcer).
His characters have included:
- Al Sharpton
- Steve Harvey
- Al Roker
- Bill Cosby
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Star Jones
- Deandre Cole, host of the BET show What Up With That?
- DJ Dynasty Handbag from Deep House Dish
- Jean K. Jean, Def Jam Comedian from France
- Reggie, the bandleader on “The Dakota Fanning Show”
- Oscar Rogers, Weekend Update financial consultant
- Charles Barkley
- Virginiaca Hastings
- Googie Rene, owner of “Slightly Stained and Partially Damaged” clothing outlets
- Grady Wilson, love-making technique instructional video host
- Lorenzo Macintosh from “Scared Straight”
- Reba McEntire
- Magic Johnson