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Emmys host Kenan Thompson hosts monologue fodder (slap!) and pre-show ceremony

Of course, aside from hosting the Emmys, what are some of the most memorable moments of your career?

I’m lucky to have a few. Open Emmys with Kate McKinnon at 2018, Be Longest Tenured SNL Actor and Book All That [see page 112] — I don’t take that for granted. I still remember the days before I achieved anything and shit seemed kind of bleak.

What was your rehearsal ceremony?

I pray or something, but it’s not like if I don’t do this then my whole show will be ruined. I do have habits like reciting my first few lines in my head. And I don’t like eating before a big show; eating late at night isn’t the best habit, but you don’t want an upset stomach on those butterflies.

This is the first major awards show since the Oscars; do you feel pressured to talk about The Slap in your monologue?

I guess my job is to figure this out. Slap was part of my recent monologue at the NHL awards, so I don’t think I’ll be repeating that joke. And there’s the pandemic — but it might disappoint the people in the room too much.

Do you depend on any of themSNL Colleagues ask for advice?

No, just because I don’t think you’ll ever be able to satisfy people’s suggestions. I just want to share the credit with the writers and producers, not anyone outside the group – I want to prove to myself that I can do it.

What will you celebrate when it’s done?

I will continue to celebrate after the ceremony. This will be a special night. Especially if all goes well, I don’t even know how I’m going to sleep afterwards. The first thing I will do is migrate to my star [on the Hollywood Walk of Fame] and possibly live on Instagram.

Tell us your favoriteSNL Forever party.

This could be the finale of the most recent season, when Maya Rudolph performed with her Prince cover band. I love her so much and I owe her my whole life. I’ve acted with her a million times, but have never seen her in full rock star mode. It’s incredible, incredible, incredible. Enter three times!

This story first appeared in the September 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

Interview edited for length and clarity.




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