5 lesser-known facts about Emmys 2022 host Kenan Thompson

Kenan Thompson (Image via The Statesman)
Kenan Thompson (Image via The Statesman)

Kenan Thompson has been one of the most popular faces on Saturday Night Live since 2003.

Considering the fact that SNL has been the face of American comedy for decades now, Thompson grew to become a prominent figure in the world of comedy. Among other things, he is popular for his celebrity impressions with the people he impersonated, ranging from Bill Cosby to Steve Harvey.

Kenan Thompson has been announced as the host and fans are predicting that many of the SNL characters may appear on the big night.

The 74th Primetime Emmys ceremony is scheduled to be held and aired live on September 12, 2022.

Succession, Ted Lasso and The White Lotus have received the most number of nominations for this year's Emmys, while Euphoria and Squid Game are others in the list.

Things to know about the SNL star Kenan Thompson

1) Thompson experienced a difficult childhood

Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell (Image via NickALive!)
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell (Image via NickALive!)

Kenan Thompson was one of the stars who began training to be a performer from a very young age. He is supposed to have been attending acting classes since the age of five. However, none of his achievements throughout his career came easily to Thompson.

Kenan Thompson was born into a low-income family that struggled to keep things going. Throughout Thompson's childhood and teenage years, he saw his mother working extremely hard to feed him and his two siblings. Nevertheless, his mother was always supportive of his acting career and encouraged him to take training to be an actor.

A role in CNN's Real News for Kids was one of his earliest jobs. He has grown into a pop-culture phenomenon and has even transformed the comedy scene in the United States, ever since.

2) He's the longest tenured cast member on SNL


Kenan Thompson is the first SNL cast member to have been born after the show's premiere in 1975. This marked the kind of longevity that SNL as a show enjoyed.

He first joined the show in 2003 and has talked about how he sent numerous audition tapes only to get rejected prior to 2003. Thompson was a huge fan of the show and being cast on it was a massive step in his comedy career.

What makes Thompson a prominent face on SNL, though, is the fact that he is the longest tenured member on the show. He has now been on the show for 19 long years, breaking all previous records.

His longevity is also owed to the kind of diversity he portrays in his abilities as a comic. From celebrity impressions to sketch comedies, Thompson has mastered them all over time.

3) Nickelodeon shows and other projects

Kenan & Kel (Image via Amazon)
Kenan & Kel (Image via Amazon)

Kenan Thompson's first major role was that of Kenan Rockmore on the Nickelodeon show Kenan & Kel which aired from 1996 to 2000. He was working on Kenan & Kel while simultaneously starring on All That.

Even during his early days, Thompson was a hustler and always had multiple projects at hand. He further went on to work with his co-star Kel Mitchell outside of Kenan & Kel too.

Although this isn't very well known, Thompson has been a part of several films too. He was featured in the 1997 comedy film Good Burger and lent his voice to the animated character of Gus in Wonder Park.

As an actor too, Thompson always leaned more towards the genre of comedy. He then went on to build a career in hosting after he hosted the second season of Oh Yeah! Cartoons.

4) He was in a commercial for a fried chicken restaurant

Kenan Thompson's very first gig was a commercial for a fried chicken restaurant. It was at a very young age of 12 that he decided to star in a fried chicken ad for money.

Thompson expressed great pride in his first gig that he apparently never watched because it never aired in Atlanta. The restaurant wasn't in Atlanta, so the advertisement aired in all the neighboring states.

Thompson didn't get to see his first piece of work as a performer but is still proud of what he did. Being as young as twelve years old and deciding to do a commercial really shows the kind of experience Thompson has gathered in the show business over the many years.

5) He briefly refused to play a black woman until SNL hired a woman of color


Quite a long controversy, including Kenan Thompson and SNL's relationship with black women, was on the news in 2013. Thompson was by then, popular for dressing up as a woman and impersonating other characters on the show. Thompson was one of the very few actors of color on the show, alongside Jay Pharaoh and Nasim Pedrad.

In 2013, Thompson openly expressed his reluctance towards playing female characters and the need to cast more female comics of color on the show. However, he did face some backlash for his opinion that the female comics who are already on the comedy scene aren't quite up to the mark. His action was also met with appreciation from around the world for standing his ground and demanding representation.

.@kenanthompson makes a surprise appearance in Can You Feel It? w/ @ddlovato. #FallonTonight

Kenan Thompson will host the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 12, 2022.

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Edited by Madhur Dave
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