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Posts tagged as kenan thompson

'SNL' Review: A New Hope with Chris Pratt

The seasons have certainly changed at Saturday Night Live. The show's 40th season began with an episode that hardly resembled a season premiere, with little pomp or circumstance over SNL's impressive four-decade lifespan, and in its place a straightforward night of comedy that reflected a show well adjusted to its new lineup. Nerves did occasionally get the better of the performers — especially first-time host Chris Pratt, who coasted on his signature goofy charm, flashing that Andy Dwyer "oops" face a few times – but overall the episode charged forward with a leaner (and more colorful) cast, and a greater confidence in its sense of humor.

We aren't out of the woods just yet, though. SNL's live sketches suffer [...]

What to Expect From 'SNL' Season 40

SNL returns for its 40th season this Saturday, with host Chris Pratt, musical guest Ariana Grande, and pretty much the same cast — minus a handful of people we rarely saw in sketches anyway. Following a lackluster season, Lorne Michaels is now sticking with the tools he's got, replacing five departing cast members with only one newcomer — standup Pete Davidson — and promoting writer Michael Che to co-host Weekend Update. Meanwhile, Colin Jost will remain at the desk after taking on the job last February. It's a conservative approach, compared to last year's throw-everything-against-the-wall casting strategy, which resulted in a cast so overpopulated that some remained literal faces in the crowd at the season's [...]

How 'SNL' Addressed Race in Season 39, as Shown in 11 Sketches

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the show's shifting tone on race over the arc of this season.

This has not been an easy year for SNL to talk about race. From the moment the show announced its six new cast members — the largest turnover in more than a decade — and viewers noticed that not one of them was a person of color, SNL once again became a target of progressive viewers calling for the cast to [...]

Lorne Michaels Responds to the 'SNL' Diversity Issue

Saturday Night Live has been taking some heat in the press for its lack of diversity after adding six new cast members, all of them white and five of them male, this fall. In the wake of a controversial quote from longtime cast member Kenan Thompson two weeks ago about how the show never finds black female comedians who are "ready," SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels has finally weighed in on the matter. When asked about the show not having any black female cast members by The AP, Michaels responded, "It's not like it's not a priority for us. It will happen. I'm sure it will happen." While [...]

'SNL' Review: Tina Fey Introduces The New Cast

For a show that evolves constantly, SNL does a remarkable job preserving its brand. Despite the changes in the cast, the writers, and the culture it parodies, SNL will always be that live, hip, New York-centered show that puts up a few sketches at the end of the week to try to make you laugh. There's the "Live from New York…" throw line, the theme music, Don Pardo listing off the cast, the host walking out on stage, followed by that predictable pattern of live sketches, videos, musical performances, and the news segment. Critics put down this structure in favor of looser, more inventive sketch show formats, but given SNL's [...]

'SNL' Co-Head Writer Bryan Tucker Reflects on Working with Kenan Thompson

"We trust his instincts implicitly. He's been doing TV and movies almost every week since he was 15 years old … He has the same ease in front of a camera that most of us do when driving a car. It's why he's the guy who sits next to the host when we read all of that week's sketches out loud for the first time. It's why occasionally during rehearsal, he will say, 'Don't you think we should do this line in a close-up?' And our Emmy-winning director, without hesitation, will say, 'Yep,' and note the change in his book."

- Current co-head writer of SNL Bryan Tucker explains the [...]

Kenan Thompson Will Reportedly Leave 'SNL' After Season 40

Kenan Thompson's long SNL stint has entered its home stretch. TMZ reports that Thompson will leave SNL after the upcoming season; Thompson reportedly planned to leave after season 39 but was asked by Lorne Michaels to stay another year due to the high cast turnover. Thompson "has no hard feelings and is leaving on great terms," and TMZ also reports that he's in talks for a brand new show and plans on moving to Los Angeles after SNL ends to work on the project.

Thompson joined the cast back in 2003 and currently holds the record of having the third longest cast member tenure ever, second only [...]

Lady Gaga and Kenan Thompson Run In Circles In Her 'SNL' Promos

Lada Gaga is the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend, and she and Kenan Thompson recorded promos for the upcoming episode. There's a broom, a flashlight, and some vomiting, but all unrelated to each other.

Let's Talk About SNL's Diversity Problem

Kenan Thompson has been taking a lot of heat this week for a comment he made in a TV Guide interview about SNL's lack of a black female cast member, despite the recent hiring of six white performers. Following Jay Pharoah's rather blunt remark to theGrio that "They need to pay attention" and cast a black woman like Darmirra Brunson, Thompson had a more ambiguous response:

Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of [...]

Watch Tina Fey and Kenan Thompson Celebrate Their Friendship On Her 'SNL' Promos

Tina Fey is hosting the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend, and she and Kenan Thompson recorded these promos for the episode, which promises no Breaking Bad cameos and no nudity (probably), just good old-fashioned friendship.

Kenan Thompson on the Rumor He's Leaving 'SNL': "You Don't Have to Worry About Stuff Like That"

Longtime SNL cast member Kenan Thompson made a brief appearance on this morning's Today show, where he was asked about the recent rumors that he'll be leaving the NBC sketch show at the end of this season and offered a vague response: "You don't have to worry about that stuff like that," Thompson said. "We have to worry about the premiere Saturday — its the 40th anniversary. That's what we need to focus on." Watch out for a quick appearance near the end from a highly offended Andy Samberg.

Breaking Down Each Cast Member's Contribution to 'SNL' Season 39

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the performers that make up SNL's current cast, including their overall contributions to the show, memorable roles, relative screen time, and prospects for returning next season.

SNL's 39th season was a crowded one. Record-breaking crowded, even. Six new hires, plus a seventh midseason, rose the total to 17, making the current cast the largest SNL has seen during its entire four-decade run, topping even the infamously bloated 1990-1991 season. That season only had [...]

'SNL' Review: Kerry Washington Is Ready

I never thought we would see the day when SNL considered itself newsworthy enough to parody. But it happened — not in the form of a quick joke during the monologue or Weekend Update, or a walk-on by Lorne Michaels, as has happened before — but with a whole cold open sketch, wherein host Kerry Washington was compelled to play numerous black female characters (Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce) because SNL literally had no one else who could do them. The meta-sketch also included a half-apologetic text scroll from the producers promising to fix the situation, unless they "fall in love with another white guy first," and a cameo by [...]

Kenan Thompson Addresses 'SNL's Diversity Issue

After SNL added six new cast members — all of them white — in August, the show has received criticism from Salon and others for its lack of diversity. One of the show's three actors of color (along with Jay Pharoah and Nasim Pedrad), Kenan Thompson, spoke about the issue in an interview with TV Guide. When asked what the show will do when there are black female public figures to make fun of, Thompson responded, "I don't know. We just haven't done them. That's what I'm saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it."

"It's just [...]