Kenan Thompson

“That feeling of a rush and the adrenaline that you get from something really funny is like taking your vitamins, it sparks an idea in your mind.  It’s nature’s medicine, to get us through the ups and downs and unpredictability of life.”

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We may know him as the hilarious personality on SNL, but what we may not have known, is that Kenan Thompson’s comedic talent wasn’t something learned, but rather a gift he had since before he knew how to ride a bike.

This week on Small Talk, we sat down with Kenan Thompson, to chat laughter, family, and stepping into uncertainty.

“Comedy was always kind of tapping me on the shoulder my whole life, it was just something that was there, and I couldn’t really get away from it.”

Having realized this to be true, at the age of 5, Kenan’s mother enrolled him in acting classes, where he would be able to freely express his creative and comedic talent.  
The rest is history.
From that point forward, Kenan’s talent and humor continued to grow into what we now recognize as a light and a load of laughter unto the world.   


Private and Professional;

After long days in the spotlight, being a husband, a father, and watching basketball, is the perfect elixir for bringing Mr.Thompson back down to earth.  With a beautiful wife and two adorable daughters, Kenan says he likes spending his free time close to home, and we don’t blame him.  Kenan takes his role as a family man very seriously, stating that finding a balance between private and professional life is ‘critical’


“Importance in leaving space for family is critical. I don’t think anyone can call themselves a successful parent if they're not there.  I’m always trying to be there to wake up with them and put them to sleep as much as possible.” 

With a job as demanding as his, Kenan says that it’s not always easy, but he makes sure to the best of his abilities that the girls grow into a happy home with parents who are present.  

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“It also takes a village.  We’re so fortunate to have good friends and family around us who help out, and my wife is a superhero.”

Whether it be busy work schedules, social lives, or ‘us’ time, connecting back to the one’s we love and cherish, is vital.  We need love to grow, and to make ourselves loveable, we must first become loving, disciplined human beings.  Leading by example, Kenan shows us that in creating a balance between the busy and the beautiful, we leave space for what’s truly important to flourish.  


Personality and Profession;

There is a great deal of importance, in bringing personality into our professions.  Being able to create and cultivate self-expression in our careers, allows us to thrive in what we do while enjoying the time and effort that’s being invested in our craft.  When we do what we love, and we love what we do, our lives become our own personal playground of creativity and passion.  

 For Kenan, although he may be playing different roles on different occasions, he manages to find ways, allowing his humor and wit to shine through whomever he is portraying.  

 “I think that people’s real selves are always more prevalent, even when they’re playing a different role, you can end up getting a sense of their personality.” 

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Whether it be Fat Albert, Dexter Reed from Good Burger, or one of his countless hilarious SNL personalities, we can’t help but fall in love, or on the floor laughing, at his comedic characters. 


Strength in stumbling; 

Having worked non-stop for six years straight, to then transition into the role of actor for hire; Kenan says that leaving Nickelodeon and venturing into unknown territory, was an experience that granted him loads of fear, and lack of certainty.  

“From my very first job, up until I had left nickelodeon, I had never stopped working.  So, that was the first time I had experienced that lack of security and knowingness, along with being on my own and very far away from family.”

 For a couple of years, before joining the SNL team, Kenan says that uncertainty and vagueness took the place in which confidence and comfort had previously resided.  

“There were a few years before I had become a member of SNL, where it was really hit or miss as far as jobs went.  I had been blessed to work at Nickelodeon, going from job to job, and I had become used to that.” 

Having to now juggle the feelings of doubt and unpredictability, being far from home and submerged in fame; Kenan gives great gratitude to Saturday Night Live, and his position there, for bridging that gap.

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“Saturday Night Live helped me bridge that gap, so thank god for SNL.”

The World Needs Laughter; 

“It’s the Yin and Yang. We need rain to know what sunshine is.”  

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 In today's world, especially as of recently, when ample confusion, anger, and hatred are prominent; allowing light to shine in the dark places is essential.  Laughter, comedy, and humor take the burdens off of our shoulders, ease the tensions held in our palms, and soothe the worry lines across our faces.  

Kenan says that we all need to take our vitamins, become inspired, and go through the ups and downs, with the help of humor.  

“That feeling of a rush and the adrenaline that you get from something really funny is like taking your vitamins, it sparks an idea in your mind.  It’s nature’s medicine, to get us through the ups and downs and unpredictability of life.”

Laughter reminds us that we’re okay, that things don’t need to be so serious; the show will go on and so will life.  When we let the light of laughter seep through the cracks, that which was once dark and gloomy has the opportunity to become bright and brilliant.  

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With a work environment as joyous and hilarious as SNL, and cast members to go along with it, Kenan gets more than enough of nature’s medicine in a place where most of us experience the opposite, the office.  

What Kenan loves most about his job?


 “It’s the people, on all ends of it.  The people that help us get our crazy ideas off the ground, the people that come up with those crazy ideas, and the people I get to perform those crazy ideas with, it’s just a big giant family.”

 If only all workplaces could have this sort of positive energy; the energy to create, craft, and be the cause of countless smiles, perhaps the world would be a better, and more cheerful place.  

“I wish I could high-five them all and hug them all like we used to do, just be around each other and go through the ups and downs of trying to get a live show right.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to get back to that and get the show rolling.”  


 What a Small World;

 “I definitely believe that the universe vibrates around similar people.” 

 People attract like-minded individuals all the time; just look at the SNL crew, all goofy, giddy, and hardworking individuals.  When we express ourselves authentically, we can’t help but have our expressions mirrored back to us by the people and circumstances that come into our lives.  
To this, Kenan says that we need to be aware as to who is coming into our lives, and why they’ve made an appearance.  

“We say it’s a small world all the time, but we should really look at it as a sign of, ‘why am I bumping into these people’, or ‘why is this small world conversation even happening.’  Maybe more attention needs to be paid to these circles of people and circumstances.”

What we sow, we reap.  What we give, we get.  The adage, “Birds of a feather flock together”, holds deeper significance than we may realize.  

“Do you wish for kindness?
Be kind. Do you wish for truth?  Be true. 
What you give of yourself, you find; the world is a reflex of you.”- James Allen

“If things start aligning, and you start having those types of ‘coincidences’, you might want to pay attention.” 


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It’s curious how when we do what we love, we find others doing similar things with the same love, passion, and vigor that we possess.  

We agree with Mr. Thompson that;
“It’s almost like that saying should change to, ‘It’s funny that we’re all doing the same thing.”


Best Advice; 

“Don’t listen to the word no.  Besides when it comes to auditioning and stuff like that.”

Oftentimes in our lives, we hear the word ‘no.’  Whether it be a particular position that isn’t suitable for us at that time, a dream we have that others don’t believe in, or someone encouraging us not to get our hopes up; no becomes society's favorite one-syllable response.  
Kenan says, that specific to auditioning, you’re going to hear the word ‘no’ a lot, but never let it discourage you.  

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“Hearing ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with you per se, it just implies that you weren’t right for the part, or that part wasn’t made for you at that moment in time.  It’s all about establishing yourself, and starting to put what you CAN do well, in the minds of those people that can give you those jobs.”


No Longer Pursue; 

“I was very passionate about wanting people to respect me.”

Upon starting his acting career, Kenan says that he wanted nothing more than for people to take him seriously.  Not necessarily chasing fame, but chasing validation that others were acknowledging his foothold and initial accomplishments in the industry, was something that Kenan pursued.  

 “It wasn’t necessarily chasing the spotlight, but rather wanting to prove my place in the industry and confirm my contribution.”

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 Having stayed off of social media, with a ‘let the work speak for itself’ attitude, Kenan says that he has now accepted that people do appreciate what he’s already put out there, no longer viewing social platforms as a means to promote himself, but rather a tool to connect with his fans and express himself.  

“I was never really big on self-promotion or social media because I saw it from a perspective of not letting the work speak for itself.  But now I know that I don’t have to look at it that way, people appreciate what I’ve already put out there and the work is speaking for itself.”

100% True;

We asked Kenan Thompson what he knows 100% to be true, his answer; 

“What I know one hundred percent to be true is that we don’t really know anything.  Everything we think that we know is still dependent on this giant unknown thing that’s hovering over everyone’s head.  That’s the one thing that I do know.”


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Nothing is certain, everything can change in the blink of an eye.  What was once considered true by science only years ago, has been proven incorrect years later.  

When we allow ourselves to be open, eager to learn, and flexible in our decisions, we leave space for growth and development to take place.  When we allow ourselves to be willing to receive the beliefs and opinions of others, we move towards positive action, lasting change, and the creation of community. 


 “Nobody has the ultimate answers, so in my opinion, no one can necessarily be ultimately wrong.  Everyone has the freedom to be, depending on their belief system.  I’m not talking about the freedom to be negative; I’m talking about those who are looking towards the light, those looking towards the positive and looking for change towards justice.  
I think we need to embrace everyone’s different opinions, all the while marching forward together.”

 At TrooMe, we believe that openness is a necessity for living a good life.  We believe that the world and everyone in it has something beautiful to offer if we choose to be willing to receive it.  
May we follow in Kenan’s footsteps, remaining open to new possibilities and open to life’s lessons; marching forward in an inclusive direction, and always leaving the door open just a crack, to let the light shine in.  


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