Kenan Thompson returned to sketch comedy when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2003, becoming the first SNL cast member to be born after SNL’s premiere in 1975 and the first SNL cast member to have been a cast member on children’s shows (All That and Kenan and Kel). His comedy partner and friend, Kel Mitchell also auditioned to be on SNL, but only Kenan Thompson made it. Thompson was a feature player until 2005 (spanning the 29th and 30th seasons), and was promoted to repertory player at the beginning of season 31 (the 2005-2006 season).
As of September 2013, Kenan has spent ten years in the cast of Saturday Night Live, breaking the record for longest running African-American cast member once held by Tim Meadows. With Fred Armisen off the show and Seth Meyers planning to leave at the end of the year, Thompson will be the senior cast member. He will also be the third oldest after Michael Patrick O’Brien (born 1976) and Bobby Moynihan (born 1977).