It seems perfectly natural that when Saturday Night Live's longest-serving cast member finally got a sitcom, it would simply be called Kenan, but on Friday's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Kenan Thompson reminded us all that when the show was first greenlit (way back when), it had a very different name.
"It was called like four different things," Thompson said. "It was called Saving Larry at first. I was going to be Larry Biskowitz, and that was going to be a stretch for people to kind of go along with, I guess." Fallon was delighted enough by the name that he volunteered to play him as Thompson's neighbor in Season 2.
Fallon then asked how Thompson's real-life wife felt when she found out he'd be playing a widowed father on the show. "She didn't love it," Thompson replied. "She was like, 'oh, so I'm DEAD?' But she was just giving me a hard time. I was like 'yeah, I mean it's not you, you know what I mean? It's a show. It's a different thing. Yeah, it reflects my life a little bit, like being a father of two girls and stuff like that, but it's totally different. I'm the host of Atlanta's #2 morning show, and just trying to balance that work-life relationship and raising my girls without my best friend and partner. I hadn't really seen that explored in a sitcom before, so that's why we're doing it."
Kenan premieres on NBC Tuesday February 16 at 8:30 PM ET.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.