The Saturday Night Live star also opens up about filming the NBC sketch series from home: "I had to elevate my fun-at-home game"

By Mary Green
August 28, 2020 04:17 PM
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Filming Saturday Night Live during the pandemic has had its challenges. Just ask longtime cast member Kenan Thompson, who has been with the show for 17 seasons.

“I had never really done a lot of funny videos around the house type stuff,” says Thompson, 42, an Emmy nominee for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, in the new issue of PEOPLE. “So this was my first step into opening my home to the world and also just kind of going through my closet and seeing what I have for props and wardrobe. I didn't even have any wigs and stuff like that. So, I had to elevate my fun-at-home game.”

  • For more from Kenan Thompson, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

The best part of filming from home during quarantine? “Being able to actually be at home and watch the show when it was a brand new show,” says Thompson. “I've never been able to do that. It's always been a rerun. So, that was my first time having that family viewing moment on the show that I love and cherish.”

Kenan Thompson
Christina Polito

He adds, “I got it. I got why it's nice to huddle around the TV and experience things as a family, something so positive, something that gives you so much joy and laughter and stuff like that. And it was just a beautiful experience all the way into the dream sketch. And we were all crying together. So, that was a very big moment from the beginning of this. And it just made me kind of sit back and count my blessings just to be here, to be able to witness something like that.”

Thompson is prepared for this year’s unusual virtual awards show, which will air Sept. 20 on ABC. “I'm going to have my wife join me for the Emmys telecast at home, if she'll have me,” he says. “I think it would be nice for us to just dress up and sit on the couch together and be slobs.”

Kenan Thompson on SNL
Will Heath/NBC/Getty

It will be like a casual date night for the couple. “We're going to have popcorn for sure,” he says.

“I'm going on the sweet side. I think I need a little treat here and there, so I might have some Sour Patches or something like that. And lots of water, so much water, lots and lots of water," says Thompson, who shares daughters Georgia Marie, 6, and Gianna Michelle, 2, with wife Christina Evangeline. "And hopefully, the kids will be running around on the ground or they'll be sleeping.”