Kenan Thompson Teases the ‘Kenan’ Holiday Episode, Dating in Season 2 & More

Kenan Thompson as Kenan
Q&A
Jordin Althaus/NBC

If you loved laughing while watching the first season of Kenan, then you’re going to love how much you’re going to get in the next few weeks.

First, the NBC comedy returns with a holiday-themed episode on December 15, as the morning show’s team prepares for the annual Holiday Spectacular. But Kenan (Kenan Thompson, who is also an executive producer) is upset when his brother Gary (Chris Redd) pursues a new client. Plus, Kenan’s father-in-law, Rick (Don Johnson) tries to unseat Tami (Taylor Louderman) as the leader of the band, and executive producer Mika (Kimrie Lewis) feels her work is unappreciated. Then, Season 2 officially kicks off with back-to-back episodes on Monday, January 3

Thompson teases what’s coming up.

How’s the family celebrating the holidays?

Kenan Thompson: A lot of people have their own little traditions or whatever, but [there are also] the basic themes of love and not really forgetting to appreciate those around you and exactly how much they really do for you in your life. I know that’s a real life lesson for my character in that episode. And of course all the lights and costumes of Santa and elves. It’s good times.

Preview the morning show’s Holiday Spectacular, because that is so much fun.

Yeah, it’s so much fun. Just doing a morning show period, you know you’re gonna have a bunch of wacky little quirks and traditions and bits and segments, so of course all the holidays have to get covered. This is the first time we’re diving into the history of a holiday celebration for the station, I think. And starting with Christmas is always very jolly and easy for — when you have jolly, you can have melancholy play very well at the same time. You can have the extremes ups and downs and that makes for a good rollercoaster episode.

Dani Lockett as Aubrey, Chris Redd as Gary, Dannah Lockett as Birdie, Don Johnson as Rick, Kenan Thompson as Kenan

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

What’s not so jolly is Kenan’s relationship with Gary in this episode. There’s a bit of conflict there.

Yeah, that’s what I mean about not really appreciating what people do around you and kind of overlooking what seem like little mundane things, but they really mean a lot. If that person wasn’t there to do them for you, you almost would fall apart or you would just have a very empty kind of a feeling, especially for a brother that’s missing. So it’s nice to see a little emotion and a little realness with his character kind of maturing and not just running behind me and happy to go lucky about everything that I’m doing.

How’d that reboot of Kenan’s show in LA go?

[Laughs] Not well, I don’t think, but that doesn’t mean that it is the end of the road. But yeah, there’s definitely some jokes about it.

Chris Redd as Gary, Kenan Thompson as Kenan

Casey Durkin/NBC

Kenan’s going to start dating this season. Why does he think he’s ready?

It’s just a way, I guess, of trying to move on and trying to find happiness in something. He has his home life pretty much locked in as far as his brother and father-in-law living with him and stuff like that. And then his work side is pretty locked in, too. Everybody’s kind of around him for the kids’ sake. Now he feels like it’s time for him to try to focus on what might make him happy. And it’s not necessarily just about dating, but it might be about having an adult conversation with somebody that’s not a workplace person or a family member or something like that.

How does dating go?

He doesn’t do it well. [Laughs] He stumbles across it for a good bit in the beginning and then he kind of figures it out and then he realizes maybe there’s somebody better out there or something that he wasn’t paying attention to in the beginning. No spoilers.

Kimrie Lewis as Mika, Kenan Thompson as Kenan

Casey Durkin/NBC

I was going to say, there’s the matter of Kenan and Mika, because they are such a good team. What’s coming up?

They’re a great team. They’ve definitely moved on from the incident. She’s definitely moved on from I think the sting of that and she’s starting to kind of definitely sting me back, but we have such a strong bond in our friendship, in the workplace that we argue and fuss and fight or whatever, but at the end of the day we still get the job done and are still family. It’s a lot of fun actually. She’s the only one that doesn’t tolerate my s**t.

How is Kenan going to be handling his daughters growing up?

That’s another trying to figure it out on the fly type thing for a single dad basically just overdoing it, especially when you’re talking about a maturing young lady.

What’s coming up on the morning show?

It’s not necessarily a whole lot on the morning show. There’s a whole lot going on in the lives of the characters. The morning show people kind of come into real life a little more. And then we do a few segments where I end up thinking that maybe I don’t need Mika for certain things or whatever and end up trying to produce a segment and it goes left. And then she, of course, saves the day and I have to apologize and realize that she is my confidant and my rock and stuff like that. [Laughs] But yeah, it’s really starting to get into life now, which is cool.

NBC to Kick Off Its Midseason Comedies Early for the Holidays (PHOTOS)See Also

NBC to Kick Off Its Midseason Comedies Early for the Holidays (PHOTOS)

Network is airing previews of new comedies and special holiday episodes of three returning ones.

So no more big changes, like trying to add another hour like last season?

There’s little things like that in there for sure. There’s certain interviews that are gonna go left and right and stuff. I always just look forward to that.

Are there any guest stars coming up that you can talk about?

We had Vanessa Bell Calloway back playing my mom. Jack McBrayer did an episode. That was awesome.

What’s the mother-son relationship like this season?

It’s good. It’s kind of “move on” season. I think that might be the overall theme of the season basically. Everybody’s trying to get out of the mud or whatever or bring upon change from where they were in the first season in a lot of different ways, for every character. So it’s definitely get the train moving basically for everybody. So mom is moving on with her life and somebody, I’m not gonna mention who — Chris Redd’s character — is not happy about it. [Laughs]

Kenan, Holiday Episode, Wednesday, December 15, 8:30/7:30c, NBC (Season 2 Premiere, Monday, January 3, 8/7c)