Kenan Thompson opens up about the challenge of filming new NBC comedy and ‘SNL’ – Deadline

Kenan Thompson to rack up airline miles as he travels between his new NBC sitcom Kenan and Saturday Night Live.

Comedian and co-star Chris Redd will be traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and New York to film both shows.

During a virtual press conference, he told Deadline that he was only there once for the SNL Christmas show, but that he would see how he felt in the future. .

“We’ll see how exhausting it gets when it has to become some sort of rehearsal, but we did it for the Christmas show and Chris and I went there on Friday and showed up at the rehearsal tonight- there and ended up doing the show. then we had three weeks off before we had to take another job. It wasn’t that stressful but we’ll see how it changes when it’s only a day in between, but I’ll be rushing to my new family so as not to be too exhaustive as we’ll be standing tall. “

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Thompson added that “we live in a different time” with regard to SNL, where people “left the show and went into their careers,” but that’s no longer the case.

Chris Redd added that he loved doing scripted shows and skits, especially with one of his best friends. “I don’t want to see it as an exit strategy, I just see it as another way to create,” he said.

Lorne Michaels, who produces Kenan, previously said that one of the reasons Kenan was able to do both this show and Saturday Night Live was that shows like this are now ten episodes. “He’ll be going back and forth to Los Angeles. But Kenan can come the day before and everything will be fine; he knows the drill so well, ”he told New York magazine.

Thompson said the show, which launched on February 16, was the third iteration of the show. It was initially flown in 2019 with Jackie Clarke writing and Chris Rock directing, but was redeveloped with David Caspe joining as showrunner and Clarke co-writing. Don Johnson also replaced Andy Garcia in the series.

Thompson said developing the show outside of the traditional pilot process has helped. “It was going in a direction for the original pilot that we shot and Chris Rock was involved in which was great, and then we had a moment and an opportunity to sit down with it and flesh it out even more instead of being under pressure. of the pilot week, ”he says. “We’ve extended it to where it is now and I think we’re all very grateful that we’ve had the chance to live with the material for a while. The universe just unfolded in a way where we have the cast we’re dealing with right now.

The cast also talked about filming the show during the Covid-19 pandemic. The tabletop readings were originally taken on Zoom and Thompson said it made them “weird” and “jerky.”

Chris Redd’s internet was so bad the production sent him a Wi-Fi booster. “He only came out when he was about to hit a punchline,” Kimrie Lewis said.

Don Johnson added that the only times he saw the faces of his cast members was when they were in character.

“When we were able to get it in person, it all clicked and we were more than excited to be in a room together to finally get things done,” Thompson added.

Kenan follows a widowed father, Kenan (Thompson), who juggles a high-profile job as a host of a morning show in Atlanta and raises his two daughters. As Kenan tries to move on, his stepfather (Johnson), brother (Redd), and colleagues all have strong opinions on how best to live his life.

The show focuses on family relationships as Kenan tries to get his life back after his wife’s death. Kenan’s daughters are his world – overly smart Aubrey (Dani Lane) and stupid and unpredictable Birdie (Dannah Lane). He struggles to balance parents as a single dad and hosting his show, leading him to reluctantly accept his stepfather’s help. Rick was a gallant saxophonist when his daughter, Cori (Niccole Thurman), was young and missed out on much of her childhood, so he aims to make up for that with his granddaughters, although his old-fashioned parenting style doesn’t. either not. often match those of Kenan.

At work, Kenan excels at his job with the help of his motivated executive producer Mika (Lewis). Mika can be very hurt, especially when Gary, as Kenan’s not-so-managerial manager, tries to fit in, but Mika remains a confidant and ally of Kenan. They can be vulnerable with each other and connect as friends… and maybe something more.

Lorne Michaels, David Caspe, Jackie Clarke, Kenan Thompson, Ken Whittingham and Andrew Singer are the executive producers. Kenan is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Broadway Video.

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