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Kenan tells 'All That' at Jorgensen

Thompson dishes about ‘SNL’ and his career’s start in the 1990s

By Zach Lederman
On November 27, 2012

  • Kenan Thompson, a comedian who has been a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live’ for ten seasons, spoke about his experiences with both ‘SNL’ and his early career, where he acted on Nickelodeon television shows including ‘All That’ and ‘Kenan and Kel.’. KEVIN SCHELLER/The Daily Campus


Actor and comedian Kenan Thompson held a comedy-themed lecture at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday night.  The first half of the show focused on his life and career in film and TV, before inviting audience members to come up to the stage and ask any questions they might have about him or his work.

Thompson's lecture about his career was the main focus of the show.  He started by describing how he originally made his way into entertainment through commercials, and other smaller roles, before finally getting into movies and TV in films such as "The Mighty Ducks" and "Heavyweights."

Of particular note was his time on "All That," a Nickelodeon comedy sketch show that Thompson preformed on from 1994 to 1999.  As Thompson said, "It was great...we were just a bunch of kids, running around a huge studio...everything about my time there is a memory."  He seemed to believe that All That would fetch the largest applause among an audience primarily composed of students who would have been watching the show in the early 90s, and spent a significant amount of time discussing it.  

Following that, Thompson moved onto discussing "Saturday Night Live," which he has been on for ten seasons; he's still currently a member of the cast.  Thompson gave a full description of his history with the program, starting with the initial audition and made mention of the many celebrities he's met.  He also did some quick performances of some of his most famous characters on the show such as Jean K. Jean, an African-American comedian signed by Def Jam France, and Deandre Cole, the host of the fictional show "What Up With That," right before he did some celebrity impersonations for Bill Cosby and Al Sharpton.  Thompson is most notable on SNL for his impressions. 

Katie McWilliams, a third semester English and history double major and staff writer for The Daily Campus, said, "This guy is absolutely hysterical.  I've never watched Saturday Night Live, and I never really watched All That when I was a kid, but now I think I have to start, even if it means I only get to see him on TV once in a while."

Following the lecture, Thompson allowed the audience to come up to the microphones near by the stage and ask questions regarding Thompson's career or his personal life.  The questions and comments ranged from the serious, to the complimentary, to the just plain weird.  Thompson seemed willing to answer just about any question, even questions regarding offers to smoke marijuana, take photos, or shake hands, although most questions regarded Thompson's career during the 90s or on "SNL."  After the show, Thompson was true to his word, taking photos with audience members who asked.

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