Kenan Thompson wants you to know that it’s not his fault that megastar Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t appeared on Saturday Night Live in over a decade. “I don’t have the authority to do that,” Thompson said when appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show to counter the argument that Jackson was barred from SNL because of, well, Thompson.
Kenan has been a part of the cast since 2003, and he now holds the record for the longest-serving character on the show. Kenan has stated that he has no plans to leave Saturday Night Live anytime soon and that he would want to see the program surpass 20 seasons.
Thompson responds to Samuel L. Jackson’s claim
Jackson made a surprise appearance on Kenan’s popular sketch, “What’s Up with That?” on December 15, 2021, an episode presented by SNL alum Martin Short, where the host (Kenan) continually interrupts his guests with song and dance routines, much to their disgust. “Man, f—k!” Jackson yelled when it was time for him to get angry. “C’mon, Sam,” Kenan improvises after a little pause, to which Jackson answers, “This is some bullsh-t!” Kenan then does another improvisation, “C’mon, now. That costs money.” Following the event, Jackson claimed that he was fired from Saturday Night Live.
As you may remember, Jackson talked with Ellen guest host Leslie Jones in March, bringing up a 2012 sketch in which he co-starred with Thompson. “Kenan got me banned from Saturday Night Live… I shouted the banned word on television because he didn’t cut me off quickly enough,” Jackson, 73, claimed. “He was supposed to cut me off!”
During a Thursday Tonight Show interview, he was asked about these remarks. Thompson clarified that he does not “have the authority” to impose such a restriction on his own. He also asked Jackson to return to Saturday Night Live whenever he wanted.
“Hey, Sam. It’s all good, bro,” Thompson, 44, said. “You’re welcome any time, from what I’ve been hearing. Anyway, he dropped the f-bomb on the show but he says I was supposed to cut him off before that. But the cue card was just an ‘F’ on the cue card, it wasn’t like the whole word. I was thinking he was just gonna go, like, a fake move. … But he went full train at it because I guess he’s a method kind of guy.”
However, Samuel L. Jackson did mention that he recently ran into SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels, who told him that he isn’t banned, during an appearance with EW’s The Awardist podcast earlier this month.