OOOOO......EEEEEE! As Kenan Thompson approaches Darrell Hammond's record-setting SNL tenure, what's up with that?
“What Up With That” gave Thompson confidence, and it gave SNL writers an understanding of his greatest strength: his ability to act as an on-stage director, calmly and selflessly pulling the most out of the people around him amid confusion.
“He’d make me look funny,” said Hader, who would return as the always-silent Buckingham many more times. It was a generosity multiple cast members mentioned.
But Thompson, Hader said, had another weapon. Unlike most of the show’s actors who might have pre-performance jitters, Thompson was never nervous. Instead he’d mess with other actors seconds before they went on air, sending them onstage with a laugh and an air of confidence. He watched sketches when he had free time, offering words of encouragement when something fell flat. And onstage, Thompson didn’t compete. He facilitated.