The SNL cast is most certainly in flux in the summer between seasons, with a number of notable members noncommittal about what their future holds in Studio 8H. While mainstays like Cecily Strong may still be on the fence about returning for Season 37, at least one castmember doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere.
Kenan Thompson, currently the longest-tenured member of the sketch comedy show’s cast, has made it clear that while others on the show are weighing their future he knows where he wants to be. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Thompson didn’t hesitate in talking about his desire to make show history, which means he’ll be back when the show returns this fall.
“I keep saying I’m trying to get to 20 [seasons],” Thompson tells EW. “So if they don’t throw me out of there before, I’m trying to get to 20. And then, I don’t know if it makes sense for me to leave even after that point. As long as the show keeps going and they want me to be there and I don’t feel like I’m in the way of somebody else’s opportunity, should I just oblige? I don’t really know what to do at this point, as far as leaving is concerned. Like, why should I ever have to leave?”
There is something to be said about complacency and stagnation, but Thompson is consistently one of the sharpest, most polished castmembers on screen. His versatility is tough to match in the show’s history, and his understanding of his place in the show’s legacy seems pretty clear. More than that, he seems to get the reasons why he’d need to leave: taking up a spot someone else deserves more than he does, or if showrunner Lorne Michaels decides it’s time for him to get the boot.
Thompson’s career was essentially built around being good at something like Saturday Night Live, starting with his rise to fame on Nickelodeon’s All That. And while he’s done film and TV elsewhere, unlike other SNL stars he hasn’t felt the need to leave the show for greener pastures. It seems that for Thompson, SNL is the pasture he prefers at this point in his life and few people, including himself, are finding reasons for him to look elsewhere. So while others who took the stage for the show’s final cold open of Season 46 may not return for 47, Thompson will almost certainly be there.