Kenan Thompson is a man of many of many faces, voices and personalities. Is it a talent or a super power? Through 19 seasons on Saturday Night Live he has had the opportunity to play just about every role possibly from famous figures to fictional game show hosts and everything in between – even Reba MacEntire. (No, that is not a typo.) Even with all the hundreds of characters he has played, few, if any, feel as personal as the role that borrows his name, Kenan.
The series follows the busy life of a single dad who juggles a high-profile job as morning show host with family. After the loss of his wife he’s also responsible for raising two preteen daughters, Aubrey and Birdie (played by real life sisters Dani and Dannah Lane.) The role is loved not only by fans, it also earned Thompson his sixth Emmy-nomination – this time for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series.
At a recent press event for the series Thompson, the very Kenan funny cast and the creative team behind the series spoke about what we could expect in season two. Thompson, for one, cannot wait to share this new season with the fans. “I’m very excited about all of the comedy really coming forward and all of our beautifully talented cast being able to perform that for you.”
“We dive into relationships more this season and how that just — everybody’s personality and their character is just defined a lot more in this season,”agreed his brother on the series, Gary, played by fellow SNL cast mate Chris Redd.
Though tight-lipped about the details, everyone involved is in agreement about just how special this season is. “Revisit Season 1,” advised executive producer, Lisa Muse Bryant. “Catch up on some of the loose ends they’re going to be tying up. It’s going to be so fun and surprisingly emotional and poignant. Check it out for sure.”
TV icon and co-star, Don Johnson called his role of Rick (Kenan’s live-in father-in-law,) “the part of a lifetime.” He continued, “I love working with this cast… Kenan and I are brothers… This is a very, very special group of people.”
Thompson’s words echoed Johnson’s as he explained that his personal success comes from the cast and crew, “We just go out there and focus, try to stay professional and work hard. I’m also surrounded by incredible professionals and brilliant minds. Everyone on this (show), I cherish their opinions and points of views. They actually have a vantage point that I don’t have, which is being able to watch what we’re doing.”
In addition to the team he relies on his own comedic instincts. “I just keep my ears open and listen. That’s one of the main jobs of an actor, is to listen,” Thompson continued. “I just lean into what I think is funny and exciting to me, but as well as “is this rubbing people the wrong way.”
Thompson versatility always has me in awe. When I had the opportunity I had to ask him about it. “Where did this superpower originate, and how do I get it?” Thompson responded with his trademark wit (or maybe not), “Thank you. It’s in the blood, so I’ll give you a couple drops in your water.” Greta news for me. Does this mean I’ll be guest starring on Kenan in the near future? Only time will tell.
Either way, be sure to check out the season two premiere of Kenan on NBC January 3rd at 8pm. And I’d recommend you also take Bryant’s advice and catch up with season one on Peacock – you won’t regret it.