Saturday Night Live: Kenan Thompson Clears Up Samuel L. Jackson "Ban"

Well, if you're a fan of NBC's Saturday Night Live then we're pretty sure you're preparing for the emotional gut-punch heading our way tonight. It's tough enough knowing that after Natasha Lyonne (Poker Face, Russian Doll) hosts and Japanese Breakfast performs, we'll be saying goodbye to the late-night institution until the fall. Then we have to dial that up another four notches now that it looks like Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney (so far?) will be part of a big group farewell before the credits roll. So instead, we're going to focus on what appears to be a happy ending to a story we reported on back in March. That was when Secret Invasion star Samuel L. Jackson checked in with guest host & SNL alum Leslie Jones on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to (jokingly) pointed an accusatory finger at Kenan Thompson for being the reason why he's been "banned" SNL. "Kenan got me banned from 'Saturday Night Live.' He didn't cut me off soon enough and I said the forbidden word on television," Jackson explained. "He was supposed to cut me off!" But Thompson is adding a few more important details that change the story quite a bit… as well as letting Jackson know there wasn't a ban and that Jackson's "welcome back anytime."

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Image: Screencap

The recurring sketch in question was "What's Up With That?", airing during the Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building)-hosted December 2021 episode. Thompson's Diondre Cole is a host who routinely interrupts his guests to break into song (with bonus points to Jason Sudeikis for his "'Running Man' Man"), with Jackson, Carrie Brownstein, Bill Hader's Lindsey Buckingham, and Short's Jackie Rogers Jr. guests on the Christmas special. At one point, Jackson began to drop the F-bomb with the expectation that he would be interrupted. But guess what? He wasn't. So that F-bomb got dropped on live television. But as Thompson tells The Tonight Show host & SNL alum Jimmy Fallon, not only did the cue card read just "F" and not "f**k" but Jackson dropped the F-bomb twice (starting around the 3:30 mark in the clip below). Thompson not only discusses Jackson's "ban" but also how it feels having appeared in over 1500 SNL sketches, his first time messing up a line during a sketch, launching his production company Artists For Artists & more:

Now here's a look back at the 2012 sketch in question, followed by Jackson discussing the sketch with Jones on Ellen:

saturday night live
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — Season 47 Cast Shot — Pictured: (l-r) Aristotle Athari, Colin Jost, Chris Redd, Kenan Thompson, Andrew Dismukes, Pete Davidson, Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim, Alex Moffat, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang, Michael Che, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Aidy Bryant, Sarah Sherman, Cecily Strong, James Austin Johnson, Melissa Villaseñor, and Punkie Johnson — (Photo by: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC)

NBC's Saturday Night Live Season 47 cast includes Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, and Bowen Yang; feature players include the returning Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson, as well as new players Aristotle Athari (Future Man, All Rise), James Austin Johnson (Silicon Valley), and Sarah Sherman (The Eric Andre Show).

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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