Former Atlantan Kenan Thompson said when he joined “Saturday Night Live” six years ago, he never imagined he’d still be around in 2009 starting his seventh season.
But his versatility aping everyone from Bill Cosby to Colin Powell to RNC’s Michael Steele has kept him viable. He also does the occasional woman, such as Serena Williams.
“This job is weird,” he said. “It fits some people and really doesn’t for others. It does fit for me.”
He also has a few notable original characers including the “fix it” expert and the “scared straight” dude. He said it’s tough to come up with good original black characters nowadays. “Post-Chappelle, every character seems like it’s been done,” he noted.
Kenan said he didn’t feel remotely comfortable until he was partway through season two. And even now, he doesn’t feel like a big star. “It’s tough to have that kind of ego,” he said, “especially on a show that has spawned so many success stories. I don’t have that.”
The only time TMZ has chased after him wasn’t flattering. They (and Us magazine) construed a comment he made after the Chris Brown-Rihanna deal as supporting Brown although it doesn’t really sound like it to any great degree:
“I don’t know the whole story, but I know how women can get when you get a text message from another female, so I’m just saying, you have to learn that you can’t put your hands on a female.”
He feels he has more to be done at SNL. “I’m always looking for new voices to do to keep it current,” he said. He does wish the show had been around over the summer because he would have loved to have played esteemed Harvard academic Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested after a verbal tussle with a cop. He was having trouble getting into his home and got angry when the officer thought he might be breaking into the home. But he said the story is now too old.
Kenan spent the summer in Los Angeles pitching TV shows as a producer. But he was going through a cold streak with his girlfriend. “Long distance is tough,” he said. “I hadn’t spoken to her in a week and a half.”
He does spend time in Atlanta, where much of his family still is. He often goes clubbing. He loves the clubs Alex Gidewon runs such as the Velvet Room. And his friends and family keep him busy while he. “Some folks who knew me as a kid here I’m around and call me or call my mom and ask if if I can do this or that. I will do what I can. If I can’t, I can’t.”
His next flim is “Stan Helsing,” another one of htose dopey spoof films. He’s one of four kids on their way to a party. “It smells like Oscar,” he joked. “Golden Globes. BET Awards. NAACP Image Awards. Seriously, it’s just a funny little quirky movie. We had fun doing it.” Does he ever get asked to do action films? “No. But I’d love to do a Bad Boys. Fast cars, shoot ‘em ups, Explosions!”
Thompson is also dabbling with standup comedy at colleges. “I’m getting better,” he said. “I’ve now got about a half hour of material.”
As for the rumor that former castmate Casey Wilson was cut for her weight, he said, “it’s not like we haven’t had large people. I’m a large dude myself.” He can’t imagine such weight-ism on the part of his boss Lorne Michaels. “I don’t believe in that at all. And not every cast member has been drop dead sexy skinny blondes. We’ve had all backgrounds.”
“Saturday Night Live,” 35th season debut, Megan Fox host, U2 musical performer