Kenan Thompson entertains students with stories during fall comedy show

| News Editor

Sharing the story of his acting career and encounters with big-name celebrities, Kenan Thompson entertained a massive crowd at Social Programming Board’s fall comedy show.

Students arrived as early as 4:15 p.m. to get front-row seats for the performance, and by the time the doors opened at 6:30 p.m., the line stretched from the doors of Graham Chapel to the west side of the Danforth University Center.

Comedian Kenan Thompson speaks Thursday as part of Social Programming Board’s fall comedy show. Thompson, the senior member of the cast of “Saturday Night Life,” spoke to and answered questions from a packed Graham Chapel.Claire Komyati | Student Life

Comedian Kenan Thompson speaks Thursday as part of Social Programming Board’s fall comedy show. Thompson, the senior member of the cast of “Saturday Night Life,” spoke to and answered questions from a packed Graham Chapel.

Although his performance was rife with jokes about his acting experience and co-workers, Thompson also touched on heavier topics like Chris Rock’s recent charged “Saturday Night Live” monologue and protests in Ferguson.

Thompson started with a prayer in recognition of the show’s location in the chapel, referring back to the space as a church whenever his routine became too raunchy.

“This is a nice church. Let us pray. Dear Father, let us have a good evening tonight. Let us enjoy each others’ company, and let everything be understood from the right-on to the right-on. And so it is. Amen, amen, to the Amen. That being said, we can start cursing now,” Thompson said.

Before beginning his comedy routine, Thompson asked the audience about its involvement with the events in Ferguson and St. Louis, noting that it was important to pay attention to such issues as students are able to effect change by interacting with others from different backgrounds.

“I see we have security in the house tonight; that’s a good thing, you guys are big on that in Missouri. I just want to make sure you guys are aware of what’s going on—I don’t want you to be worried. If you see somebody you don’t know, talk to them. See somebody of a different background, give them a hug. Walk right up to them; don’t be afraid,” Thompson said. “You guys are right here in the mix of it. I know it’s a tense situation, but you guys are in college—you guys have the power to change things.”

Thompson shared the story of his acting career, from his time with Disney in the “Mighty Ducks” movies through the present with his time with “Saturday Night Live,” before a lengthy Q-and-A session. When on the subject of his time with Nickelodeon, Thompson led the audience in singing along to the “All That” theme song.

 Comedian Kenan Thompson answers a question at the fall comedy event. Thompson shared stories of his acting career in addition to touching on heavier topics such as Ferguson. Claire Komyati | Student Life


Comedian Kenan Thompson answers a question at the fall comedy event. Thompson shared stories of his acting career in addition to touching on heavier topics such as Ferguson.

Several of his stories surrounded the use of marijuana with his current and former co-stars, including Mike Tyson.

“We’ve been having fun this season [of “SNL”]…We’re chilling. We smoke so much weed. I’ve had awesome weed buddies. I remember Mike Tyson came to do a ‘What’s Up With That’ and I didn’t know he smoked like that, but he asked where he could find good places to smoke weed and I was like, ‘Come with me, Mike Tyson!’” Thompson said.

Thompson also commented on the opening monologue by Chris Rock from the most recent episode of “SNL,” which was viewed as very controversial because of Rock’s jokes about the Boston Marathon bombings and 9/11.

“Chris Rock lost his mind in his monologue. Yeah sure, talk about the Boston Marathon and 9/11 all at once. That’s bold. But ‘SNL’’s like the last place you can do that. Chris Rock is probably the last person to try it,” Thompson said.

In the Q-and-A session, almost a dozen students asked Thompson questions ranging from requests for selfies to questions about the hardest hosts to work with on “SNL.”

Sophomore David Gumins thoroughly enjoyed the show, even getting a chance to play Rock, Paper, Scissors with Thompson during the Q-and-A period.

“I was in line for about 45 minutes, and it was worth every minute, except for the fact that I lost in Rock, Paper, Scissors,” Gumins said.

Senior Lucy Kessler waited even longer and was happy with the way the show turned out.

“I got here at 4:15, 4:30-ish, so I waited in line for about two hours,” Kessler said. “There’s no one else who can really make you feel like you’re having a great time, and then you take a minute to step back and ask why you’re having such a great time, and you can’t even put your finger on it, it’s so entertaining.”