Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd Talk Staying on ‘Saturday Night Live’ While Shooting ‘Kenan’

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Danielle Turchiano
·3 min read
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Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd may be branching out into the sitcom world for NBC but that doesn’t mean they are closing the door on their late-night sketch series work.

“I haven’t decided to leave,” Redd said of “SNL” during a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday. “I’m just having fun being able to create with one of my best friends and also be able to still go and and do sketch. I love sketch. I don’t want to see it as an exit strategy; I just see it as it another way to create.”

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The duo will soon be seen double the amount on the Peacock network, as they star in “Kenan,” which is set to premiere on Feb. 16. Thompson is the self-titled character, a widow, father of two and morning news show host who is trying to figure out how to move on with his life after the loss of his wife, while Redd plays his brother and manager.

So far the actors have only had to go back and forth between the shows once, while shooting the Christmas episode of “SNL,” Thompson shared. “Me and Chris went out there on Friday and showed up at rehearsal that night and ended up doing the show, and then we had three weeks off before we had to be on another job, basically, so it wan’t that stressful.”

Thompson also added that they “hold each other up” when things do get tiring, but the ability to move between multiple projects simultaneously is a sign of the current entertainment landscape.

“There used to be a time when people would leave the show and go into their careers,” he said, “but I think you can do both as long as you can.”

The process to bring “Kenan” to the small screen has been a long one, with Thompson noting that this is actually his “third go-around with it” but that the “third time’s a charm.” What he was excited about was that this show has a premise “we hadn’t seen before.”

After the death of his character’s wife (who was also his co-star on sitcom in the 1990s, which will come up in flashbacks and show-within-the-show footage from time to time), his brother and her father (Don Johnson) rally around him to help with his day-to-day at home. But while it is one-part family sitcom, it is also one-part workplace sitcom, and the characters there, including his producer (Kimrie Lewis) are just as colorful.

“I’ve seen divorced houses and things like that but I’ve never seen, in a sitcom, anybody deal with a situation like this,” he said. “When good people come together, for the purpose of raising some good, positive kids, it can be a beautiful thing to explore.”

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