Kenan Thompson is about to be one of the busiest people in show business — and he couldn’t be happier.
Last month, NBC officially gave a series order to The Kenan Show, which stars Thompson as a “super dad” and Andy Garcia as his father-in-law. Many believed that would mean the end of Thompson’s 16-year run on Saturday Night Live, but the comedian has insisted he isn’t going anywhere. Additionally, he’s returning to his original sketch comedy roots as the executive producer of Nickelodeon’s All That revival and also serving as a judge on NBC’s new reality competition show Bring the Funny.
“It’s the dream,” Thompson tells EW of landing The Kenan Show. “It’s every comedian’s dream to get their own show on a major network, especially one of the original three. It’s historic, mind-blowing, and very surreal. But it takes a lot of work. We shot the pilot, it was like a seven-day shoot and in the middle of that I was doing SNL. It’s a lot of work. It’s going to be an uphill battle as far as figuring out what’s working and what’s not working on an audience. That’s the advantage that SNL has: An audience will tell you pretty quickly if the joke works or not. But when you’re shooting a show on tape, you’ve got to believe your instincts, so it’s a very different process. But it’s super-exciting. I love putting people to work, so it’s crazy to me to fathom that I got Andy Garcia a job. It’s an honor.”
There’s still plenty to figure out with Thompson juggling all these gigs, but he’s not worried about it, putting the onus elsewhere. “That’s up to NBC,” he says. “They want to give me all these jobs, they need to work out the schedule. [Laughs] I’ll show up when they tell me to show up and do my thing.”
And with his record-breaking stay at SNL set to continue, it’s easy to wonder if Thompson will stay in Studio 8H for as long as he possibly can. “Why wouldn’t I?” he says. “It’s the coolest job ever. There’s no other place like it.”