Kenan Thompson Hopes to Stay at SNL for at Least 20 Seasons: 'Why Should I Ever Have to Leave?'
Thompson, 43, opened up about his record-breaking SNL tenure during an interview with Entertainment Weekly on Monday, making it clear that he doesn't have plans to depart the long-running sketch comedy show any time soon.
"It would seem like a hindrance in your career or something, like you're stuck," he said of spending 18 seasons with SNL. "But, for me, it's the exact opposite. It's always been a thing that makes people want to have me when I'm unattainable. So it's worked in my favor to be busy 10 months of the year."
Thompson joined SNL in 2003 and holds the record for the longest-tenured cast member in the show's history. He has been nominated five times for his work on SNL at the Emmy Awards, and took home a statue in 2018 for co-writing the sketch "Come Back, Barack."
Thompson told EW that he's got at least a few more seasons in him before he calls it quits.
"I keep saying I'm trying to get to 20 [seasons]," Thompson said. "So if they don't throw me out of there before, I'm trying to get to 20. And then, I don't know if it makes sense for me to leave even after that point. As long as the show keeps going and they want me to be there and I don't feel like I'm in the way of somebody else's opportunity, should I just oblige? I don't really know what to do at this point, as far as leaving is concerned. Like, why should I ever have to leave?"
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Thompson said in January that it has "always been like, a goal to stay busy working."
"And, you know, just stay focused on whatever goals I had as far as being an actor or goals as far as one to produce things and, you know, put my adult hat on and stuff like that," he added.
Though he admitted he "couldn't have pictured it necessarily being the way it is," he said that he is "definitely enjoying the ride because I have just been blessed to have a front row seat to such God gifted people in so many different ways."
In September, Thompson told PEOPLE that it's an "honor" to still be on the show.
"Lorne [Michaels] keeps me coming back," he said of the show's creator and producer. "It's an honor to keep being asked back. I just look at it like that. It's a one-of-a-kind show. Pretty much everyone I've seen that's left, when they come back, it's just a different feeling for them. They feel kind of lost, they miss it, they're outside of the inside jokes type of feeling. I never really was overly excited to be on the other side of that fence."