Emmys 2021: ‘Saturday Night Live’ Star Kenan Thompson’s Double Duty Pays off With Two Nominations

Kenan Thompson’s journey from teen star to leading man comedian is remarkable. The actor got his start on the Nickelodeon TV shows All That and Kenan & Kel. These days viewers recognize him for his work on Saturday Night Live. Aside from his work on the NBC sketch comedy series, Thompson has also landed his own sitcom Kenan, which premiered earlier this year. Thompson’s busy schedule filming two shows paid off with two Emmy nominations.

'Saturday Night Live' actor Kenan Thompson presents an award during the 2021 Golden Globe Awards.
Kenan Thompson I NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson earns Emmy nominations for ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Kenan’

It’s hard for actors to juggle multiple jobs at once. It was “very stressful” for Thompson because he had to travel back and forth from Los Angeles to New York while filming his shows. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Thomspon revealed his schedule consisted of shooting Kenan during the week, then heading to New York on the weekend for Saturday Night Live. When describing his hectic schedule, Thompson explained, “It wasn’t too terrible, but it was definitely a whirlwind.”

But it was all worth it because Thompson was rewarded with two Emmy nominations. This year Thompson is nominated in the Comedy Series acting categories. He’s up for Oustanding Supporting Actor for Saturday Night Live and Outstanding Lead Actor for Kenan. When Thompson learned of his two nominations, he said, “I was just insanely floored by it.”

Kenan Thompson’s work on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Thompson is no stranger to sketch comedy, having spent five years on All That. In 2003, he returned to sketch comedy when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. Thompson has become a fan favorite due to his celebrity impersonations of Steve Harvey and Al Sharpton. He’s also earned applause for his original characters Lorenzo McIntosh and Darnell Hayes.

Throughout his 18 years with Saturday Night Live, Thompson earned five Emmy nominations, including three for Supporting Actor. In 2018, he and co-star Chris Redd won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for Come Back Barack. Although rumors swirled earlier this year that Thompson was leaving Saturday Night Live, the actor doesn’t see himself departing anything soon. “I keep saying I’m trying to get to 20 seasons,’ Thompson told Entertainment Weekly.

Kenan Thompson will return for Kenan’s second season

Thompson’s other show Kenan premiered on NBC in February 2021. Thompson stars as the title character, who’s talk show host and widowed father of two kids. Rounding out the cast is former Miami Vice star Don Johnson, who plays Thompson’s father-in-law.


Is Kenan Thompson Leaving ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 2021?

Kenan received mostly positive reviews, NBC was quick to renew the show for another season. Although no premiere date has been revealed, fans are happy to see more of Thompson. For Thompson, this is a huge milestone given how much work he put into developing the series. When reflecting on his successful year, Thompson said, “I just want to continue going upwards.”