Emmys 2022: Don’t Expect Another Oscars Slap Situation, Host Kenan Thompson Says

There won’t be any conflict on the Emmys 2022 stage if Kenan Thompson has anything to say about it. With the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards just around the corner, the Saturday Night Live star and first-time host teased what to expect — and what not to expect. Thompson addressed the infamous Oscars slap, which is still highly debated five months after it happened. According to the comedian, fans shouldn’t tune into the Emmys hoping to see a similar situation occur.

Kenan Thompson, host of the Emmys 2022, on the set of 'Today'
Emmys 2022 host Kenan Thompson | Nathan Congleton/NBC

‘Saturday Night Live’ star Kenan Thompson will host the Emmys 2022

The Television Academy announced on Aug. 9 that Thompson would host the upcoming Emmys ceremony. Thompson has been a well-known name in the comedy world for nearly three decades. He started his career in the early ’90s with The Mighty Ducks films and Nickelodeon’s comedy sketch show, All That. He went on to star in Nickelodeon’s Kenan & Kel alongside Kel Kitchell. Thompson is now the longest-running cast member on Saturday Night Live, set to star in his 20th season this fall. Some of his other works include Kenan, Good Burger, and My Boss’s Daughter.

This is Thompson’s first time as an Emmys host, but he’s no stranger to the awards show. The comedian has received six nominations throughout his career. In 2018, he took home the Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for a song on SNL.

“Being a part of this incredible evening where we honor the best of the television community is ridiculously exciting, and to do it on NBC — my longtime network family — makes it even more special,” Thompson said in a statement after he was announced as host (via The Hollywood Reporter). “Like all TV fans, I can’t wait to see the stars from my favorite shows.”   

Kenan Thompson commented on the Oscars slap and said it ‘won’t happen again’ at the Emmys

Thompson is looking forward to a fun and slap-free evening at the Emmys 2022. This year’s Oscars ceremony was shaken up by a tense moment where Will Smith unexpectedly slapped Chris Rock after Rock joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s bald hairstyle. Countless celebrities have spoken out on the matter since it happened in March. Smith apologized for his actions, but Rock has reportedly rejected it. Smith also resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is banned from the Oscars for 10 years.

Thompson recently spoke about the incident with The Associated Press (per The Washington Post). He promised that this kind of scenario will not happen at the Emmys.

“It kind of just threw the entire world off guard, basically, and that won’t happen again,” Thompson said. “Even if I am roasting (someone), it shouldn’t come across as any sort of malice.”

In fact, the Emmys are trying to avoid roasts altogether at this year’s ceremony. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Emmys producer Ian Stewart said Thompson isn’t going to be “mean.”

“If I go to a party where someone’s going to rip me to shreds, I leave the party,” Stewart said. “So, we’re making a place where you feel inclusive. We want funny as hell and everyone celebrating together. Why be snarky to these people?”

Here’s what viewers should expect at the Emmys 2022 instead

Thomson shared that he’d rather have a night with no stress at the Emmys.

“This should be a night of appreciating artistry and creativity and removing the stress of it all out. I get it — it sucks to lose, and everybody’s picking outfits and trying to do the red carpet thing,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s an awesome thing to be in the room on Emmys night, and I don’t want that to get lost in the stress.”

As for what viewers can expect at the ceremony? A big opening and lots of fun.

“I think we need to open with a bang…. [and] there’s some ideas cooking on that level. But whatever it is, it has got to be tight, and it can’t seem like it’s just there to fill time,” he said. “We have [viewers’] attention. It’d better be worth having.”

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on NBC and Peacock on Monday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. ET.

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