‘Saturday Night Live’ is one of the great constants in American pop culture, occupying its 11:30 slot on Saturday nights on NBC since 1975. The show has survived constant cast turnover and navigated decades of changing political and cultural climates, to the point where many feel like it never has to end.
One person who disagrees with that assessment? Longtime cast member Kenan Thompson.
Appearing on “Hell of a Week with Charlemagne Tha God’ on Comedy Central, Thompson was asked about a rumor that the series could end after its 50th season, which would wrap up in 2025. He responded with a joke, saying “OK, well I need to start planning.” But the conversation quickly turned serious, as the comedian acknowledged that “there could be a lot of validity to that rumor because 50 is a good number to stop at.”
He clarified that he isn’t calling to end the show due to declining quality, but merely acknowledging the reality that “SNL” creator and longtime showrunner Lorne Michaels can’t keep the job forever. It appears that Thompson thinks ending the series might be a better idea than continuing without Michaels at the helm.
“[Lorne Michaels] will be close to 80 years old at that point,” he said. “He’s the one that’s had his touch on the whole thing so, if somebody tries to come into his shoes, it’s a good opportunity for NBC to save money as well. Maybe they might slash the budget, and at that point, you can’t really do the same kind of show, so that’s really unfair to just really watch it really go down in flames or whatever because of those restrictions. It’d just be a different thing.”
Thompson is the longest-tenured cast member in the history of the sketch show, having joined the cast nearly two decades ago in 2003. The show has seen dozens of popular comedians leave after several years to pursue film and TV careers during that time, but Thompson has been the show’s one constant. The idea of “SNL” without him sounds downright blasphemous to many fans, but if Thompson gets his way, that might never happen.
“Capping it at 50 might not be a bad idea,” he said. I don’t know.”