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Can SNL Fans Expect to See Kenan Thompson Retire Soon?

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Like our good sis Lauryn Hill once said, “How sad that all things come to an end,” and for SNL’s longest-running star Kenan Thompson, the end may just be closer than we think. On a recent episode of Charlamagne Tha God’s Comedy Central show, “Hell of a Week,” Thompson was asked to speak on the possibility of the end of Saturday Night Live following showrunner Lorne Michaels departure.

“Is that the rumor?” Thompson asked Charlamagne. “All right, well, I need to start planning.”

Lorne Michaels who created the sketch comedy show in 1975 announced last December that he could soon be making his exit, while sharing that he’s “committed to doing the show until its 50th anniversary.” Thompson joined the cast in 2003 after years as a child and teen sketch comedy icon in his own right, starring in shows we all fondly recall like “Kenan and Kel” and “All That.”

When asked if there could be any truth behind talk of the end of SNL once Michaels retires, Thompson seemed to cosign.

“There could be a lot of validity to that rumor,” he said. “Because 50 is a good number to stop at, you know what I’m saying? That’s an incredible package. He will be, probably, close to 80 years old at that point, and you know, he’s the one who’s had his touch on the whole thing.”

Thompson also noted that this could be an opportunity for NBC to save big bucks, a savings that won’t pan out well for show fans.

“If somebody tries to come into his shoes … you know it’s a good opportunity for NBC to save money, as well, you know what I’m saying? So they might slash the budget and then at that point, you can’t really do the same kind of show.”

Despite SNL’s record breaking season of Emmy nominations this year, fans have voiced their complaints for years about the show losing its appeal. Thompson additionally voiced concerns about the show’s caliber dropping upon Michaels’ retirement and inevitable budget cuts.

“[It would be] unfair to watch it just really go down kind of in flames, like, for real for real, because of those restrictions. So capping it at 50 might not be a bad idea, I don’t know.”

The 50th season of Saturday Night Live will air between 2024 and wrap in 2025. After that, who knows what lies ahead, but it looks like Kenan is making a downpayment on his beachside villa, ASAP. 

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