We’ve talked about the groundswell of support that has erupted around Kenan Thompson for his work on SNL this season, and that “What Up With That?” has perhaps become the premier recurring sketch of the season so far, and while we don’t quite buy into all the buzz, there’s no denying he’s having his best season yet. With his stock at record levels, he was the subject of a profile over at NY Mag, ostensibly cementing this as his breakout season. Apparently even Lorne Michaels agrees, remarking that “Kenan’s on fire this season.” Makes sense that Lorne would have a spot for Thompson, because while Thompson has found his groove, there were many sketches in previous years in which Kenan seemed out-of-place, like the SNL intern, incongruous to the rest of the sketch. Those moments usually resulted some in some of laughter too, but more because they were stilted Kenan Thompson cameos, and not organic comedy. Now he’s truly enmeshed in the sketches and earning the laughs. Now while we don’t necessarily agree with any Kenan Thompson “MVP” chants (our allegiance, obviously, belongs to Jason Sudeikis), we’re starting to forgive him for “Deep House Dish” (but there’s still a long way to go).
But let’s not focus on the present, or even the future. Let’s look back at the past.
And while we’re in the wayback machine, here’s an interview with Thompson I conducted five years ago this month just prior to the release of Fat Albert, and when Thompson was just midway through his 2nd season on SNL. Interestingly, when asked about SNL he says “Probably one of the most stressful situations I’ve ever seen in life. But it’s only going to last a couple more years and then after that you can do whatever.” Well, he’s been on the show for six years now and as he’s just hitting his stride it’s probably going to be a few more before he can do “whatever.” But after paying his dues all this time and likely growing a little wiser, one must wonder if he feels the same way now. At the moment, something tells me he’s just enjoying it. But, you know what, I’ll see if I can’t get a follow-up interview.