|Born||May 10, 1978|
Compton, California, U.S.
Kenan Thompson (//; born May 10, 1978) 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. He is also the first regular cast member who is younger than the show itself. He currently stars on the NBC sitcom Kenan, which premiered in 2021.
Thompson began his acting career in the early 1990s, and was 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 also had roles in The Mighty Ducks franchise, Good Burger, and the title character in the 2004 film Fat Albert.
Thompson was born on May 10, 1978 in Compton, California. His parents are Fletcher and Elizabeth Ann Thompson. He has two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. His family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was 9 months old. Thompson's mother enrolled him in acting classes at age five. His first role as Toto in a church production of The Wiz had no lines. He continued acting throughout his youth, appearing in school plays such as The Gingerbread Duck. He auditioned for a theater company, The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA). 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.
One of Thompson's earliest roles was as an entertainment reporter for CNN's "Real News for Kids". He went on to star in the original run of All That (where he got replaced by Gabriel Iglesias), with such characters as Principal Pimpell, Miss Piddlin, Pierre Escargot, and Superdude. He starred as Kenan Rockmore on Nickelodeon's Kenan & Kel. While attending 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.
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.
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. The series premiered on April 19, 2009, 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.
In 2015, movie ticketing website Fandango announced that Thompson would play their brand character, Miles Mouvay. Thompson would play Mouvay in 18 videos, eight 30-second commercials, and a few comedic skits.
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.
In 2019, Thompson served as a judge for NBC's comedy competition series Bring the Funny. He also became an executive producer with Mitchell for Nickelodeon's All That revival, premiering in June. In May 2019, NBC announced they had picked up Thompson's single-camera comedy The Kenan Show to series. The series, retitled Kenan, premiered in 2021 and features Thompson as a newly-widowed father determined to be a "super dad".
In 2020, he became the spokesman for Universal Parks & Resorts’ "Let Yourself Woah" campaign, and was set to host the 2020 White House Correspondents' Dinner before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, Thompson's namesake show, Kenan, premiered on NBC. He would also be named host of that year's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. For his role on Kenan, he has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, in 2021.
Saturday Night Live
Thompson returned to sketch comedy when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2003, becoming the show's first cast member born after its 1975 premiere. 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". 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". 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).
Thompson has been a cast member on SNL for 18 years, 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 years. 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. Thompson also holds the record for most celebrity impressions performed on the show, performing 139, beating Hammond's previous record of 107. 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".
Thompson has been nominated for four Primetime Emmys for his work on SNL, winning once. He has thrice been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, in 2018, 2020 and 2021. For co-writing the song "Last Christmas", in 2017 he was nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, an award he then won in 2018 for the lyrics to Come Back Barack (along with Chris Redd and Will Stephen).
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." Similarly, Lorne Michaels in a 2019 article would refer to Thompson as "the person I most rely on in the cast". Vulture referred to him as the "heir apparent" to Phil Hartman, both being "the glue" of their respective casts.
- Darnell Hayes, the host of Black Jeopardy!
- Diondre Cole, the host of What Up with That?, who is repeatedly distracted by the show's theme song
- Reese De'What, the host of Cinema Classics
- Willie, Michael Che's overly optimistic neighbour
- Jean K. Jean, a French comedian
- Lorenzo McIntosh, a prisoner in the Scared Straight sketches
- Steve Kane, the gym teacher in the Daniel Frye sketches
- Tre, a character in the Californians sketches
- Virginiaca Hastings, an argumentative shopper
- Elliot Pants, Host of What's Wrong with This Picture?
|1994||D2: The Mighty Ducks||Russ Tyler|
|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|
|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||The Opposite Sex||Mitch|
|2017||Going in Style||Keith|
|2019||Playmobil: The Movie||Bloodbones|
|2020||Trolls World Tour||Tiny Diamond||Voice|
|2020||Hubie Halloween||Officer Blake|
|TBA||Clifford the Big Red Dog||Post-production|
|1994–99||All That||Various Roles||Main role (Seasons 1-5)|
|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||Voice; Episode: "Food for Thought/Friends Forever"|
|2003–present||Saturday Night Live||Himself/Various roles||Repertory player (Season 31 to present)|
|2005||Wild 'N Out||Himself||Episode: "Kenan Thompson"|
|2018||Episode: "All That Takeover"|
|2005||Rugrats||Mirror||Voice; Episode: "Tales from the Crib: Snow White"|
|2007||Crank Yankers||Mark Thomas||Episode: "4.1"|
|2008||The Mighty B!||Rocky Rhodes||Voice; 5 episodes|
|2009||Psych||Joon||Episode: "High Top Fade-Out"|
|2009||Sit Down, Shut Up||Sue Sezno||Voice: 13 episodes|
|2011||iCarly||Himself||Episode: "iParty with Victorious"|
|2011||The '90s Are All That||Host|
|2013||Martha Speaks||Stanley||Voice; Episode: "Stanley Saves The Day/Milo Goes For Gold"|
|2014||Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja||Socko||Episode: "Rorg: A Hero of a Past"|
|2013–15||The Awesomes||Austin "Impresario" Sullivan||Voice|
|2015||The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon||Lester Oakes||Episode: "James Spader/Andrew Rannells/Brian Regan|
|2015–20||Nature Cat||Ronald||Voice, Season 1 only|
|2016||Maya & Marty||Various roles||Main role|
|2016, 2019||Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||Roland||2 episodes|
|2017–19||Match Game||Himself/Panelist||4 episodes|
|2018||Double Dare||Himself||Contestant; episode: "Team Kel vs. Team Kenan"|
|2018||Studio C||Himself, various roles|||
|2019||The Masked Singer||Himself||Guest judge; episodes 8, 9|
|2019||Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?||Voice; Episode: "Quit Clowing"|
|2019||Bring the Funny||Judge|
|2020||America's Got Talent||Guest judge||Season 15, two episodes 1|
|2020||Trolls: TrollsTopia||Tiny Diamond||Voice|
|2021–present||Kenan||Kenan Williams||Main role and executive producer|
|2021||2021 Kids' Choice Awards||Himself||Host|
^1 Thompson stood in for Cowell, who was still recovering from a back injury the previous week that required him to rest under medical observation.
|2004||Good Times||Comedy album|
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- "Fandango To Launch Brand Personality Series Starring Kenan Thompson". Tubefilter. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
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- Otterson, Joe (February 1, 2019). "NBC Orders Comedy Competition Series With Jeff Foxworthy Among Judges". Variety.
- Schwartz, Ryan (February 14, 2019). "All That Revival Ordered at Nick, With Kenan Thompson On Board as EP". TVLine.
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- 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.
- Steinberg, Brian (February 18, 2020). "White House Correspondents Dinner Returns to Comedy With Kenan Thompson, Hasan Minhaj". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
- Zorrilla, Monica Marie (February 2, 2021). "Kenan Thompson to Host 2021 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards". Variety. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- Levin, Gary. "Kenan Thompson gets an NBC sitcom, but will stay on 'SNL,' too". USA Today. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Weisman, Aly. "'SNL's' Kenan Thompson Refuses To Dress In Drag Until The Show Hires A Black Woman". Business Insider. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "16 Times Women Changed the Game on 'Saturday Night Live'". Glamour. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "Fred Armisen Is Leaving 'SNL' Too, Jason Sudeikis "Probably"". May 16, 2013.
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- "SNL Archives | Cast | Kenan Thompson". snlarchives.net. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
- "See Kenan Thompson's Adorable First Baby Pictures". June 23, 2014.
- Macatee, Rebecca. "Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson Gets Married!". US Weekly. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
- Heller, Corinne (June 22, 2014). "Here's an SNL Weekend Update: Kenan Thompson Is a Dad!". E! Online. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
- 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.
- "'SNL' Star Kenan Thompson and Christina Evangeline Welcome Their Second Child". August 4, 2018.
- "PBS KIDS Debuts New Episodes & Online Content from ARTHUR and MARTHA SPEAKS – BWWTVWorld". Broadway World TV. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- "Match Game (2016) (a Guest Stars & Air Dates Guide)". epguides.com.
- "Studio C + Kenan Thompson in Season 9 Premiere!". YouTube, Studio C Channel. September 10, 2018.
- "Studio C Live from NYC". BYUTV.org. September 10, 2018.
- Henderson, Cydney (February 20, 2019). "'The Masked Singer' recap: Two celebrities are revealed in the semifinals". USA Today. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
- "Boomerang Unveils New SCOOBY-DOO AND GUESS WHO? & YABBA-DABBA DINOSAURS! Series". Broadway World. May 23, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- Swartz, Tracy. "Meet the 3 Chicago acts performing in new NBC competition 'Bring the Funny'". chicagotribune.com.
- White, Peter (January 26, 2021). "'Kenan': Kenan Thompson Prepared For Challenge Of Filming New NBC Comedy & 'SNL' – TCA". Deadline.
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