Kenan Thompson Says Ending “Saturday Night Live” at 50 “Might Not Be a Bad Idea”

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Kenan Thompson is “Saturday Night Live”‘s longest-running cast member, having joined the show in 2003. But nearly 20 years after joining the cast, he’s thinking of leaving — and he also thinks it might be time for the show to end during the 2024-25 season.

In a July 29 interview with Charlamagne tha God on Comedy Central’s “Hell of a Week,” Thompson discussed the show’s potential end. “Fifty is a good number to stop at,” he said. “That’s an incredible package.”

Back in December 2021, showrunner Lorne Michaels discussed leaving when the show turns 50. “Well, I think I’m committed to doing the show until its 50th anniversary, which is three years from now,” Michaels told CBS Morning. “And I feel like that would be a really good time to leave.”

Thompson addressed the idea that Michaels might exit the show in the interview, expressing his fears about what might happen if or when the show’s creator departs. “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,” he said. “So, 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? [NBC] might slash the budget, and then at that point, you can’t really do the same kind of show. So that’s unfair to watch it just really go down kind of in flames for real because of those restrictions . . . Capping it at 50 might not be a bad idea.”

By that logic, “Saturday Night Live” would have three seasons left. The show’s 48th season returns in the fall of 2022, though its cast will look a bit differentKate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant all departed after the 47th season. Thompson, of course, is still there — for now.





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