Kenan Thompson Says Kanye West Held Saturday Night Live ‘Hostage’ During His Pro-Trump Rant

Kenan Thompson and Seth Meyers
Kenan Thompson and Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers (via YouTube)

Kenan Thompson celebrated the beginning of his 16th season with Saturday Night Live this past weekend, an event that was marked by what he described as Kanye West holding “people hostage” as he gave his pro-Trump rant at the end of his guest appearance on the same night.


Thompson was chopping it up with former SNL cast member and current Late Night host Seth Meyers Monday night when the topic of West’s impromptu Trumpmasters speech came up.

Thompson said he was not in the season premiere episode much, but he did enjoy watching it, and he “got to watch the circus unfold,” referring to Kanye’s unaired speech.

Meyers said that West had asked the cast to come back on stage and join him before he gave the speech.

“There was a circus on Saturday—a Kanye West-led circus,” Meyers said. “For those who didn’t watch, he did a song at the end of the show, then the show ended, and then it turned out that he brought the cast back on stage while he gave a very political speech.”

“He voiced his opinion—very loudly,” Thompson said. “For a long time.”

“Not a guy who’s scared of his opinion and voicing it,” Meyers said.

“No, not at all,” Thompson agreed. “And you know, we’re all entitled to our opinion, but I don’t know if that’s the moment necessarily to hold people hostage like that.”


Thompson said he had already left the stage before Kanye began his rant because he thought it would be better to watch Ye’s musical performance on screen.

“So then, when you saw what happened, were you so happy with the choice you made?” Meyers asked.


“For sure,” Thompson said empathically. “As soon as he said, ‘Hey, join me up on stage everybody,’ I was like, ‘Oh, there goes the little cheese in the mousetrap.’ It’s going down.”

“I felt so bad for those guys,” Thompson continued, “because it’s hard to stand there and not be able to debate somebody who’s going so far against your personal opinion as well and just stand there and take it.”


Meyers and Thompson both agreed that the other side of it is that SNL cast and crew members go above and beyond to make the musical guests and hosts feel as comfortable as possible.

“We’re fair. We’re in a service business, you know what I mean? We try to cater to the host and make sure they have a good show and whatnot, and when musical guests come in and they’re a little bit crazy—maybe they’re a little bit crazy—we let them have that. We don’t judge. We’re not there to judge,” Thompson said.


Kanye obviously made his gracious hosts incredibly uncomfortable with his off the script speech, and his Trump Promotional Tour doesn’t seem anywhere close to stopping as of yet.

Fix it, Jesus.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.


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Watched this interview this morning, two things -

Still love that man, ever since Nick/Keenan&Kel. He’s just become one of the warmest, most endearing people in comedy.

Second, someone nominate him for another Emmy. He threaded the needle on the subject brilliantly, pointing out how unfair it was to the cast while avoiding a direct attack on Kanye. That's how you PR.