Kenan Thompson: It’s ‘ridiculously exciting’ to host Emmys

Add this to Kenan Thompson’s ever-expanding repertoire of characters and impressions: Primetime Emmy Awards Host.

The comedy veteran, who is entering his 20th season on Saturday Night Live and is the show’s longest-running cast member, will host NBC’s 74th annual Emmy Awards on September 12, NBC announced Tuesday.

The ceremony and live broadcast will take place at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles and will be broadcast live for the first time on NBC streaming service Peacock.

“To be a part of this incredible evening where we honor the best in the television community is ridiculously exciting, and doing it on NBC — my longtime network family — makes it even more special,” Thompson, 44, said in a statement Tuesday. “Like all TV fans, I can’t wait to see the stars of my favorite shows.”

The ‘Kenan and Kel’ and ‘All That’ graduate takes on the often thankless entrance from last year’s host Cedric the Entertainer, who hosted the 2021 personal broadcast with a salute to TV and a tribute to late musician Biz Markie. “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Three-peat star and Emmys presenter Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony in 2020 when the show was forced to go semi-virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement comes just a month ahead of the scheduled ceremony. NBC reportedly conducted a lengthy search with TV Academy and Emmys producers Done + Dusted and Reginald Hudlin to find an A-lister who could shake up the ceremony, Variety reported.

Thompson’s hosting stint comes after his 2021 appearances as presenter of the 47th People’s Choice Awards and TV special Jonas Brothers Family Roast.

“Kenan is widely recognized as one of the funniest, most personable and accomplished artists of the past two decades, and his tenure on Saturday Night Live speaks for itself,” said Jen Neal, executive vice president of live events at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We know he will bring an excitement and professionalism to the Emmy Awards that a show of this magnitude deserves.”

The “Kenan” star and prolific voice actor is no stranger to the ceremony. He was nominated twice last year – as an actor on “Kenan” and “SNL” – and has been nominated a total of six times. He won an Emmy for Original Music and Lyrics for the SNL song “Come Back, Barack” in 2018.

He also put his stamp on the sketch comedy show, with unforgettable impressions of the Rev. Al Sharpton, former NBA star Charles Barkley and TV host Steve Harvey, and brought to life popular characters like Black Jeopardy host Darnell Hayes. Deep House Dish co-host DJ Dynasty Handbag and Weekend Update correspondent Jean K. Jean.

Thompson receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday. Kenan Thompson: It’s ‘ridiculously exciting’ to host Emmys

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