The Ohio native got his start on Nickelodeon’s All That in 1994. Throughout his time on the sketch series, Thompson often collaborated with costar Kel Mitchell. The duo’s fast friendship and comedic timing spawned their own spinoff — Kenan & Kel — and the beloved Good Burger movie.
“It’s a brotherhood. It’s really a brotherhood,” Mitchell exclusively told Us Weekly in March 2023 of his bond with Thompson.
At the time, the twosome had just announced the official — and highly anticipated — sequel to their 1997 film. “It’s surreal and we were emotional the whole time talking about it,” the Chicago native told Us of teaming up with Thompson again.
Mitchell got candid about the highs and lows he and his former costar experienced while growing up — and growing apart — in the spotlight as their careers took different turns in the 2000s. “You have to think about it, when you’re adulting within the limelight and you are just trying to find yourself within this business … we just went different ways,” he said. “[It’s like] when you’re in high school and your friends went to different colleges, but then you stayed in contact and now you’re experiencing life as adults now. It’s just such an awesome thing. And to still be friends after that entire journey is awesome.”
While he’s made many appearances on the silver screen over the years, Thompson is best known for his work on SNL. He joined the show in 2003 and was a featured player for two years before being promoted to the main cast at the start of season 31.
“I don’t feel pressure to stay,” the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alum confessed to E! News in January 2023 after two decades on the late-night series. “I don’t feel pressure to go either. If Lorne [Michaels] says he wants me to be there, I should be there.”
Thompson has been an SNL constant, but his personal life has experienced a few changes. Us confirmed in April 2022 that he split from wife Christina Evangeline, whom he wed in November 2011. The former couple welcomed daughters Georgia and Gianna in 2014 and 2018, respectively.
“Kenan and Christina are completely amicable,” a source exclusively told Us of the duo’s separation, which occurred in November 2020. “They remain close as coparents and have remained very close throughout the separation.”
The insider said the breakup was a “mutual decision,” adding, “Being married for 11 years, together for 14, changes a lot of things. They really just grew apart and wanted different things.”
Scroll down for a look back at Thompson’s most memorable career moments: