Saturday Night Live has been a constant comedic presence on late-night television since its premiere back in 1975. So much so, that fans may have believed it would never come to a definite end. But not everyone, particularly some of those involved in the show, shares that sentiment. Creator Lorne Michaels suggested back in December that SNL could have its appropriate end at the 50-year mark. It appears that the longest-running cast member on the show is of a similar opinion.
This Friday, July 29, Kenan Thompson went on Hell of a Week and in conversation with host Charlamagne Tha God the two discussed the rumors surrounding Michael’s potential retirement after turning 80 years old in three seasons. First discussing Thompson’s appearance on Mike Tyson’s podcast, then jumping to the topic of SNL and Chris Rock’s denomination of “white famous” as a black man and a cast member, Charlamagne ended up mentioning the rumor surrounding SNL coming to a close after reaching the 50-year milestone.
“Is that the rumor?” Thompson asked “All right. Well, I need to start planning.” After some laughter and good humor, the veteran cast member became serious in addressing the topic. “I mean, there could be a lot of validity to that rumor” Thompson said, “because 50 is a good number to stop at, you know what I’m saying?”
Late last year, Michaels went on CBS Morning’s with Gayle King and explained his position: “I think I’m committed to doing the show until its 50th anniversary, which is in three years. I’d like to see that through, and I have a feeling that would be a really good time to leave.” This still hypothetical decision would make SNL have its final season in 2024-2025.
Regarding Michaels, who’s been producing SNL since the beginning, Thompson stated: “He’s the one that’s had his touch on the whole thing.” From the cast member’s point of view, without Michaels it would not be possible to continue with “the same kind of show”. He rectified that he does not mean the show could not go on but that without its beloved creator, SNL could be attacked by what the comedian referred to as “corporate wolves”.
Thompson has been part of the NBC comedy sketch show since 2003. For his work on SNL, he’s been nominated for 4 Primetime Emmy Awards, of which he won one. In considering the future, Charlamagne asked Thompson about his projects. The SNL star does not appear to be concerned about future prospects as he has his production company and his dream to be a producer and give people work.