Kenan Thompson Confirms He's Not Leaving 'SNL' for His New Comedy Series

Taran Underwood

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Getty Images via Ethan Miller

Ever since Kenan Thompson announced the premiere of his new NBC comedy, Kenan, fans have been wondering if this means his SNL days are over. But not to worry, Thompson assured fans that he'll make time for both shows.

As the longest-tenured Saturday Night Live cast member, Thompson said that he isn't ready to leave the show quite yet. As he embarks on this new adventure with Chris Redd, another SNL comedian, he and Redd have both committed to splitting their time between the two shows.

Kenan Thompson SNL
Getty Images via Alberto E. Rodriguez

"I think we're living in a different time," Thompson revealed during a virtual panel. "There used to be a time when people would leave [SNL] and go into other careers, but... I think you can kind of do both as long as you can, and then the departure comes in a natural sort of way, and then so be it or whatever."

Kenan Thompson SNL
Getty Images via Rodin Eckenroth

Redd's also still invested in his SNL career; "I love sketch. I don't really see it as an exit strategy," he explained. "I just see it as another way to create." Right now, Kenan and Chris are flying back and forth to juggle both projects, as Kenan will premiere on February 16th.

In the upcoming series, Thompson plays a widowed father who's trying to raise his children with his pushy father-in-law's help. Kenan was initially picked up by NBC in May of 2019, but production was delayed until Thompson could make the show everything he'd imagined it to be. "It's been a cycle of development," he shared. "This is like my third go around with it, and finally, third time's a charm."

Kenan Thompson SNL
Getty Images via Ilya S. Savenok

"We've settled on something I think is pretty brilliant, and I couldn't be more happy to be surrounded by people that I love seeing every day for, you know, 12 plus hours a day," Thompson continued. It looks like the comedian has a lot more in store for the future, including his hilarious appearances on Saturday Night Live.