Kenan Thompson on socially distanced SNL and his Instagram friendship with David Ortiz
Kenan Thompson is no stranger to Emmy nominations: The Saturday Night Live veteran has been nominated a total of four times, winning once for co-writing the still-relevant musical lament "Come Back, Barack." But this year's nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series hits a little differently — mostly because the episode he submitted for Emmy consideration wasn't produced in Studio 8H, but in his own home.
SNL's longest-tenured cast member stopped by EW's The Awardist podcast to chat with editor Sarah Rodman about SNL's socially distanced shows from this past spring. Thompson admits that it took him a while to adjust to the idea of Saturday Night Live at Home, but by the time the cast started working on the second episode, he'd found his comedic groove.
"For me, it was newish because I've always kept my work to the studio or to real sets, or stuff like that," he explains. "I've kept my home life kind of to myself. So it was interesting to open that up and have to do all that work and make sure that I’m getting shots right or I’m getting my angles right or I’m actually performing right. But what I liked about the experience is that each week got better. The next week, they sent us more equipment. We had, like, green screens and stuff so we could do music videos. It just started escalating."
Thompson also shared stories about some of his most iconic sketches, from Jason Sudeikis sweating his way through "What Up With That?" to the origins of John Mulaney's Les Miserables parody, "Diner Lobster." And of course, Rodman asked him about one of his most beloved (and ridiculous) impressions: David Ortiz. Thompson admitted that he and Big Papi have yet to meet in person, but they've since become Instagram friends.
"It took me a while to get on Instagram and figure out that you have to kind of look through who's following you because you never know who's in that list," he admits. "He had been in there for a while! So I was like, 'Oh snap, let me follow him back!' Now I get to look at his life and stuff like that. I have yet to meet him in person, but we've exchanged a couple of messages, like, 'Mad love bro' or 'It's all love.'"
For more from Thompson, listen to the full interview below — which also includes The Awardist's conversation with fellow nominee Andre Braugher of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
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