Kenan Thompson's Exciting New Project Could Mean He'll Be Leaving 'Saturday Night Live' Soon
Saturday Night Live's longest-tenured cast member could be gone before too long. It's true that Kenan Thompson might be leaving SNL, but don't worry, he's not really going anywhere. On September 21, Deadline broke the news that NBC is developing a primetime series for the comedian, and if it gets picked up, it likely means Thompson will leave the iconic sketch comedy series. Per Deadline, the series is called Saving Larry, and is a comedy centered on a single dad to be played by Thompson. It's a single-camera comedy (think more 30 Rock than Will & Grace) and, unsurprisingly, will be executive produced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels. Comedy writer and producer Jackie Clarke, who currently produces the underrated NBC comedy Superstore, wrote the pilot and is set to produce. Basically, the project is being shepherded by an NBC dream team.
Here's how Deadline describes the series:
"Written by Clarke, Saving Larry centers on a dad (Thompson) who, after his wife dies, has to be both mother and father to his kids. And he has to do it all with his father-in-law hovering over him."
With so much NBC-approved comedic talent behind Saving Larry, all signs point to it being picked up.
If that happens, it would be Thompson's first primetime show since Nickelodeon sitcom Kenan & Kel. It's almost a surprise that Thompson has been on Saturday Night Live for 15 years, and that was after the success of Kenan & Kel, which was borne from his and Kel Mitchell's comedic chemistry on All That. Would you believe Thompson is a grown dude who is married with two kids, and says cute dad stuff about them in the press? It's so much easier to think of him as Pierre Escargot or the host of "What Up With That," but he's also a writer and Emmy-winning comedian that's probably more than ready to try out a new job.
Thompson recently mentioned to Deadline that he would stay on Saturday Night Live "forever" if he could, but it's still probable that he won't be a full-time cast member for much longer.
If he does leave SNL, in any capacity, his absence will be felt. Fortunately, the series just announced the addition of brand new writers and cast members that are sure to make their own mark on the long-running series. Per Vulture, comedian and actor Ego Nwodim is being added to the cast as a a featured player. As of Sept. 22, she's the only new performer SNL has added ahead of its upcoming season, but they're bringing on four new writers: Alan Linic, Alison Gates, Eli Mandel, and Bowen Yang. If at least one of those names sounds familiar, it's probably Yang's, as his absolutely genius lip-syncing videos have gone viral on Twitter and beyond.
In the end, if Thompson decides to leave SNL, he'll do it as the longest-running cast member ever. (Darrell Hammond left after 14 years, but he's stayed on to do the introductions since Don Pardo's passing.) Still, until Saving Larry is picked up and Thompson or Michaels make announcements, the SNL great isn't going anywhere just yet.