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Hey, everyone, today's guest is the brilliant actor and comedian Kenan Thompson, Kenan has been a cast member on Saturday Night Live longer than anyone and helped me survive hosting the show twice. I can't quite convey how incredibly stressful that experience was, but thanks to Kenan, I had a great time after talking with Kenan, award winning journalist, author and gender social policy expert Liz Plank joins me to help answer your questions. And please don't forget, I want to hear from you.
Visit unqualified dotcom and send us your questions, your answers and your stories. I really hope you enjoy this episode. Here's Kenan.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are listening to qualified with your host unfairest. Keenan, what's. Hey, how are you? I'm great, I'm so happy to be talking to you. How are you?
Oh, my God, I'm good. I'm happy to talk to you, too. Been a long time. I know. Thank you for doing this. My pleasure. Koening, congratulations.
Oh, my. Thank you. Thank you very much.
How do you feel about the whole thing? Are you bummed that it might be not like a full gala ceremony? I don't even know how it's going to work.
I don't know if I can really be bummed about anything. I just feel blessed to be alive. You know, my times are so crazy and so intense on so many different fronts and levels that I'm just trying to focus on keeping a family safe and making sure I can continue to provide in a healthy way, but at the same time try to fight the good fight, you know, as much as I can do from here.
So, Keenan, you won an Emmy. Was it two years? Yeah, we won with Chris. Me and Chris read what our enemies together because of that comeback. Barack's so incredible. It was awesome.
Yeah. It's a great sketch. Don't you think that if you had owned a home invader, you could use that Emmy as a full weapon?
I could, but it's in New York and I'm in Florida.
You don't travel with it? No. That would be kind of the best if you did, though.
I mean, out there on the trip home, I guess that's the thing you do is you travel with it out of the case home. That's like the tradition or whatever. So I did that and I was representing. But again, I think it's got like pretty pokey angel wings. So you could, like, really put some eyes out or like straight to the throated Game of Thrones it to what's going on with you guys over there.
What was your nominations? I'm sorry to read.
Oh, no, no, no. I don't think we got any this year. That's a robbery. I mean, I guess you guys are piling up at this point.
So I view it as totally lemonade because I'm like an award virgin. The one award I have is my High Times Tony Award for Best Actress, which I'm super proud of. It's a bong.
Right. But I think I would be happy, of course, to be nominated, I guess. But I think, you know, like in trying to suppress any, like, hope, I would want to put it out of my mind. And I think it would be really difficult to have, like especially those first few weeks when you have, like, your old team and your friends and everybody like you can't imagine not being emotionally invested after a couple of months of hearing, like the lead up.
At some point it would be like, fuck, I guess I do want to win this shit. And I probably won't.
I mean, yeah, you'd be lying to yourself if you tried to act like, oh, it doesn't matter. I mean, it's a huge deal. But if you're smart and you take the win at the nomination basically and leave it there, you know what I'm saying? And then whatever else comes, comes, I guess.
Yeah, but I do think there's all that dress stress for, like, women. Oh, man. There's dress stress for dudes. You know, it's like every single time you think you would have like a suit ready or something like that. But it's like no new event, new fucking procedure basically.
So like, all right, let's find what style tux who is in and hasn't been done yet and blah, blah, blah, down to the shoes and say it's a whole thing for events, you know, like when it's a, you know, a tux or black tie type of thing. It's it's a dressy stress for everybody.
The evil part too that I didn't know about is for ladies. Certain designers won't dress you.
You know, I can't even imagine the stress for four ladies. It's got to be insane. And why is that? You know what I mean? Like, what do you mean? You don't design for certain people? That's what you do. Yeah. You design clothes for people.
So can I want to, of course, talk to you about my experience with you on Saturday Night Live?
I was the best. It was so much fun. Like, you know, first I was already a huge fan. I just thought you were so funny and you were already just baptized in black culture through the winds like that, you know what I mean? But the way you played your character was just like very specific and different. And I was like, oh, she's special, you know? I mean, she's like, perfect for this the way she's doing it things because, you know, a lot of people can do sketch and do like, you know, exaggerated, you know, kind of performances or whatever.
But nobody can do stupidity.
Like, you know, I'm saying I'm just straightforward, just like maybe it wasn't an act. Is it, like, really amazing.
So I think I was excited when you were when you were hosting.
Oh, I think it definitely took at least ten years off my life. And I imagine that most hosts feel that way. I mean, you are like in the deep end immediately. Oh, yeah. And like sitting in Marcy's office trying to read like fifty.
It was Marcy's office. It's funny. Yeah. I was just like in that room alone and then we kind of barrels by but, you know, totally can.
Using way, just trying to understand the mechanics and being in Lorne's office and like that first pitch meeting, when everybody sits on the ground and they're telling your crazy ass ideas like I was a frog in a pool, and you're like, am I actually supposed to be giving input? I have no idea.
It's better if you don't. We're just trying to push through and, you know, those little, you know, subtle inside things that, you know, everybody knows about the show. You got to, like, hear the stories or else you won't know because it's a whirlwind and everybody is just trying to get through it.
Who do you miss caste wise you've been now? Well, this upcoming season be your 17th, this will be 18.
But I miss them all. Man, my guy, I'm the guy that gets along with everybody, you know, and I usually tend to have a good relationship with everybody. So, you know, I kind of miss everybody that wasn't there because I see the difference in their faces when they come back around like it's different. Like Jimmy and Tina and my and Rachel and Amy and and Seth and people that, like, come around often. You know what I mean?
Because. They don't feel like, oh, man, you know, I really miss this place. I never get to, you know, that they don't have that bummer feeling on their face. But for everybody else that comes, like, really sporadically, you can just see it. And then I start to feel it, you know, like I really miss the times of just being reckless and, you know, working until whenever or just being up to whenever and like hanging out in a group of people or just hitting up the city and stuff like that.
So there's a giant bunch of them, you know, that I miss, you know, whatever goodness that they threw my way. Basically, a lot of them, you know, were very kind people. Most of all, I don't really know any assholes since I've been there.
I don't know if Lorne lets you be an asshole or. Yeah.
I mean, everybody so humble to be on the show, you know what I mean? And everybody is a fan of the show and a fan of the people that have done it.
So when I hosted, I felt like in hindsight we had a lot of sketches together. I mean, I think what maybe you do five that make it on air, maybe four, I can't quite remember. But I think that my favorite sketch was the boat.
Of course, it was the best and it was the best. It's such a great sketch. Did you write that?
That was Seth Meyers. So shout out Seth. That was incredible. He was you know, I want to be writing and tuning in basically to the different songs as I practiced what was in and out of my range, basically. Yeah.
And I was just reading about how Lorne knows he can, like, always cut to you if you're in a sketch, like you can be the channel, the audiences can be like, oh yeah, this is crazy because you're reacting with the acknowledgment. Yeah.
It's like holding up the last year poster basically. But this is where you need to be laughing at what just happened. Basically it's the best.
What do you think makes a great cast member for SNL stars their dedication man, you know, because it's hours and hours and years and years out of your life. So if you're not dedicated to that, you're going to be fighting against it and you're going to be miserable basically, because there's no getting around that, number one. So if you're trying to butt heads with, like, oh, I want to have a life or I want to do this or I want to do that, and you're not willing to just juggle the show must go on aspect of it all.
It's going to be hard for you because I think what you bring is that you're really strong actor. And so maybe one might think that an incredible standup would translate very easily into a great cast member, because even like from my perspective, doing the podcast, stand ups tend to be one way young actors and you know what I mean? Or like a writer, there tends to be almost different levels of guardedness. So anyway, I was thinking about a great cast member for SNL and how specific to me it's a little undefinable.
I wonder if it's like kind of openness of spirit a bit, you know, like someone like you or Kate McKinnon will everybody but the embracing of like being in the sketch, but also seeming to really enjoy the moment as well and being generous, I guess, like all that whole combination there. I imagine the audition process, which I know everybody talks a lot about because it's just seems incredibly intense.
But Lorne, being able to identify those other qualities, that it might not be the most hysterical stand up or or like what makes a good host?
I mean, those are two very different things.
Yeah. I mean, but I think the main thing that you're saying is like the embrace of it all, you know what I mean? Like the whole gamut of embracing, which means being free to play whatever character is given to you and perform the service of the writing, because that's basically what we're there to do. Are you wrote it or somebody else wrote it, like you're servicing that process, basically. So if you can remove yourself from that and give yourself to the service of it all, I think that's what makes any great cast member a great host, you know, any of that as far as like auditioning.
And if Lorne can see that, I think he can tell who's a good performer, regardless of material. You know, it would help if your material gets laughs because nobody's trying to like, you know, watch somebody do a great impression. They get to know laughs. That doesn't help the situation. It's just like, oh, that's an impressionist type of person. But they don't have, like, a comedy maturity that's ready for the show type of thing.
I definitely was horribly immature in my audition because I had to do standup because, like, I guess the majority of, you know, black performers at the time, especially males, were, you know, coming from the standup world. Basically, there were a few that came from improv houses. But all I know is everybody had to stand up at the comedy club first and then we got to the studio. And that's when I felt comfortable because I was in front of the camera and I was just free to be.
A little kid playing with voices and sketches and making no sense didn't work well at the comedy club because it's a false reality. You know what I mean? Like, you have to engage the people sitting in front of you. You can't just be up there just in your own mind making people watch you. That's ridiculous. Like, I didn't know that. But, you know, I learned that the hard way. But the callback was at the studio and I felt better.
But then a week went by and I didn't hear anything. And they were like, we want you to audition again. But this time at the Laugh Factory. So I was like back to stand up again.
I was fucking terrified and I was just.
Yeah, basically just doing sketches and voices and shit. And I guess they could see that that could work there. So they gave me a shot along with Jay Smooth and Finesse Mitchell, and they were both, you know, very straightforward stand ups or whatever. But they experienced there was much more difficult because I do come from theater and performing and stuff like that. So I'm used to like ensemble mentality. And, you know, I'm just ready to like especially when somebody gives you like an update feature on, like Gary Coleman.
It's not like I have a Gary Coleman impression, but I can dress and say these words, you know what I'm saying? And like, that's what really works there, I guess. Yeah. And it's harder for stand ups because it's an individual driven kind of craft, basically. So it's hard for them to make that adjustment, especially if they're getting to a place kind of in the middle of their lives, like after 30 or whatever. You know what I'm saying?
They've just been in that mode to make themselves famous enough to audition for SNL. It's hard to switch and be like, OK, give focus to everyone except yourself.
I think that Kenan, it goes back to even a great actor, to that there's the idea of sincerity, of character.
Thank you. You keep saying great actor. I really appreciate true Kenan. You approach each character with a lot of sincerity, which makes us believe it. And even if you're being, you know, somebody atrocious or somebody you usually don't, I don't think you play a lot of atrocious people. Your characters are pretty.
There's only been two who which are Kelly and OJ. They're like they like walk those lines, those two.
But you still made them lovable. Yeah, crazy. I would say that's my gift. I can make monsters.
He made the moment David Zucker used to talk about, like not winking at the audience, which involves like I mean, it sounds lofty, but an idea of kind of self-sacrifice. Like when I play really stupid characters, the idea of like, OK, there's a high likelihood that people are going to think I'm a fucking dingbat.
Yeah. I mean, but it's like you say this a sincerity in that character, you know what I mean? You never break out of that, like, whatever spacey type of, you know, performance.
It seems like it's going to be in that character. You don't break out of that. You know, I'm saying you're that in that in that in those moments. And then we get to know you in real life and it's like, no, she's a, you know, a mature woman who can perform. But you know what I'm saying? It's like it's cool to see your competitiveness even to that. It's real and it resonates with people. It really resonated with me.
There's also like all the technical things that with each different format, whether it's like multicam single camera or whatever, but with SNL in that boat sketch, you told me to not look you in the eyes to read the cue cards we were sitting across from each other. And of course, I kept wanting to, you know, like we were doing a scene. And I remember you told me that I just need to read the cue cards.
I didn't quite realize that it wouldn't look odd, you know, and that it's very necessary and that because everyone is doing it, it's important that you do it as well. It really is.
But I mean, it's hard to sell that. It doesn't look weird because sometimes it is. Too often it's like you got to really kind of be looking at the shot and trying to tell it to eyeliners, you know, right on or if it's too tall, too low or whatever. But that depends on the engagement of the house and how much they're able to kind of engage in the moment without being freaked out by the whole overall, you know, craziness of the week.
But you did a great job. And that's, you know, why they tell people that? Because everything changes at the last minute. And, you know, you just don't want any surprises, you know, just to be lost for the sake of two wonderful actors engaging with each other, you know? I mean, that's always cute. Lauren is quick to always shit on stuff like that is like, yeah, that's great. You did a nice performance, but if you don't get it right, we're fucked.
You know, this is live and it's like there's no get backs and stuff like that. And like I said, to service the brilliance of these writers. You know, Seth is obviously one of the most brilliant writers that I've ever come through our generation, basically, and any other generation, because he's just manic about it.
Writing like that, and it was just very humbling for him to, like, turn his attention towards me at any moment, you know what I mean? So I always wanted to make sure I did my part to make it not pick up in any sort of way. So I'm like, let me take any kind of distraction that I am out of it and just make sure that you're comfortable, you know what I mean? And then we can kind of do this dance basically for the audience without either, like, kind of insulting the acting ethic of two actors actually looking at each other and stuff like that, because we are thespian ish.
And that is the kind of respect that you give to one another, is to actually engage and listen and respond. And that's what acting is basically is being involved with each other. But at the same time, there's this other hurdle to get across, which is trying to get this comedy off. And comedy is very fragile because any kind of stutter or hiccup takes the audience out of it and then you lose your chance at nailing whatever reaction you were fishing for.
So that's the math of that. It is math.
You're right. I learned a lot more of that. Doing a multicam you know, being on mom. It is so much more technical.
You got to love those short weeks ago, man. Oh, God, I have been sweet. What season are you alone? We're about to start eight if it starts.
I know. And you have a show with Kenan. What's going on with your show?
Everything is on par with cocaine and we're just waiting to hear. We were going to try to start up and do a back and forth type thing, but it didn't really work out as far as everyone's comfortability for me to bounce back and forth between two environments right now, work environments, that is. So I think I'm I'll start with SNL and focus on that until after the elections and then start shooting my show in some sort of fashion.
Can I ask you a series of life questions, please? Yeah. How are you? I love this. All right. All right. What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
I'm going just based vanilla because you can always build from there. You can add whatever else. Yeah, go blue bell vanilla ice cream. And from there I can do whatever.
Yeah. Good base. All right. What's your favorite toy as a child. My big wheel was a big deal. I remember that. You know, big wheels. Yeah. I had an incredible Mach one.
I loved it. My freedom.
So, you know, I'm saying I'm out on my plastic tires. Totally piece.
Yeah. What did you want to be growing up? I mean, I guess you started really young. I did.
I was pretty obsessed with television, so I was drawn to it. I wanted to do something and I didn't know if I'd ever have the opportunity to actually get in front of a camera. As I remember I wanted in that box some kind of way. I didn't really know the business behind it all because you Atlanta, so far away from L.A., you don't know anything about catering or Grip's or any other department and stuff like that and all the people behind it.
I just knew I wanted involved in some sort of way. So I don't know what that was. But really, it started with like The Price is right and double decker and just wanted to be on those some kind of way.
And I have to tell you, I'm not quite sure I know exactly what a grip is to this day.
They're the bigger versions of the crew members. Just remember that they're usually the bigger guys.
They're a little grumpy. Those guys, they're quiet, they're big. And, yeah, they're very friendly monsters. But yeah, you don't want to mess with those guys, even the Grib gals. Yeah.
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If nature wins, we all win with all birds. Feel confident knowing you're wearing a product that's doing right by your feet and the planet. Learn more about their sustainable practices and find your pair at Albats Dotcom today. Keenan, what was your first boss like, first boss? I can remember I was on this commercial and I guess it was the director because I was the only person I was really engaging with and slightly demanding. It was a commercial for fried chicken restaurant.
And I was supposed to be fishing with, you know, my fake granddad. And my line was grandpa to the fish today. And many hands me a piece of chicken. I supposed to take a big bite of chicken and say, oh, I like this kind of bite.
So he just kept telling me to take a bigger, better chicken, like, just take a big bite. That was great, man, but it makes the big bite of chicken.
All right. Mean I'm a fucking babe, you know, like, it's just ridiculously racist. No one. But I also like, you know, I'm taking a good sized bite of chicken that I can do. I was like 10 years old. I remember that.
So I was thinking how I remember very distinctly like those lines from those first few jobs. Oh, yeah, I did an ice cream commercial and I was hired because I had a really round face.
So it looked like I was kind of chunky and happy. My mom, yeah, my mom off camera was like her line was, Amy, are you eating ice cream? And I said, not anymore. And ninth grade got like that. Freshman year of high school was so fucking brutal.
Not any more down the hallway. Oh my God. Not anymore. Yeah.
I was such a late bloomer too.
So as a freshman in high school, I looked like I was like nine years old, but like they were on you.
Oh, man. Hey, Hannah, you still get my boy.
Oh, God. I just want to go to class. Kids are horrible. They were awful.
Who has influenced your career the most? Lots of people, I would say. The biggest influence, I guess the voice in the back of my head when I want to start just being reckless or showing out or feeling like I want to start my stuff a little bit or something. As always, my mom like treat people like you want to be treated and blah, blah, blah, and then everything else kind of spills from that. But like Mentor Wise have a few people like Brian Robbins who, you know, used to produce the all that show and he's like the head of Nickelodeon.
Now, his big claim to fame was and was on head of the class with Robin Givens and Dan by the end, Brands was was a big mentor. Lorne obviously is an incredible mentor. My manager, Goldman, my one and only manager, you know, and my lawyer's my one and only lawyers and, you know, my accounting person. So just like my team, I guess, or really big guidance factors were. But my behavior, of course, is always my mom keen.
And so between the ages of eight and ten, what were your favorite TV shows?
It was price, right? Dukes of Hazzard, like, I guess the whole eighties Gambetta when I was eight was at eighty six. So whatever was out around then, I was like pretty young. So I feel like Dukes of Hazzard was around Nightrider ish eighteen. That kind of stuff. Yeah. Aaron Spelling Programming.
Who was your favorite character on the eighteen.
Always be Baracas man into the Mohawk. Mr T come on. Is the man all right. All that jewelry. Incredible.
I liked the bomb dude. What was his name.
Was that Murdock. Yeah. Yeah Murdock.
I found him sexy, weirdly sexy, like angel. You like work. I guess I wanted to learn how to blow it up.
That's why they always needed Murdock. Even though he seemed crazy. He would always come through whenever they all got locked up and saved the day, basically because he was the one guy off on some adventure that they weren't all, you know, meandering and then falling into the same trap, you know, I mean, and then Murdock would come back and be like, hey, would you guys go? And then they were like, we have fucking locked up where you're gone.
And oh, well, here's the key right here.
You got it down. You got all the flats down. Come on. Oh, OK. What's the best or worst advice you've been given or both?
I mean, best advice starting out I guess was not to listen to the word. No, this isn't like a behavior thing. This is just from auditions and stuff like that. Even in talking to your agents about what they kind of should be looking for you type stuff, you know what I mean? It was like I never wanted to be put into any specific kind of category, you know what I mean? I was always like, well, whatever roles are out there that are pivotal or whatever that can boost us, we should be paying attention to not just whatever's available for an African-American or an African-American in his twenties or in his teenage years or whatever, or chunky or African-American or any of that.
You know, I mean, it was just like good roles and good projects that are going to project my career forward just as an actor, period, basically.
And the words advice I got, I don't know, I probably didn't really listen to it, whatever it was keen and I read that you like at one point maybe in 2014, you decided to not play any more black women on SNL until they hired more. And that's remarkable.
Yeah, I mean, it was beyond time and it started to become a pattern of throw me in a dress and out of get a laugh as opposed to it being really motivated by stuff. So that's kind of where that came from.
There is something really archaic about the idea. Like I was watching some Real Housewives thing and you know, these men dressed up as women for some Halloween party and they just get the biggest kick out of it, which is thank you very much.
I really think that just shows you the segments of a man's mind. Maybe they get such a kick out of pretending to be a woman.
It seems like those are the most pent up dudes. They get zero action. You know what I mean? Like, the more you're around ladies and you really want to perform how they really are, it's never like that, you know, with these guys that are like constantly like reaching across the bar, trying to get to that one lady that is constantly rejecting them or whatever, they really start acting like that.
You're so right or they completely ignore them and they're kind of just Vikings in their in their life and world, you know what I mean? And they're very just I don't know. Piggish little piggies, I love that Vikings in your own world, Keenon, I love that.
Yeah, because there's always some superbia to do and puts on a dress and then he really starts just putting on the show and I'm like, OK, what cartoon's person are you emulating right now?
Totally. All right. So what's your favorite rainy day movie?
I mean, I play Groundhog Day on at any moment just because reputation is one of my favorite things. And that movie is a perfect encapsulation of that. Also, it's just brilliantly written. And Harold Ramis is just incredibly talented. He's like writer wise. I guess what John Hughes, Director Wise was for me growing up, just very pure, very funny, very straightforward, clean, awesome shit.
The structure of that movie is done so perfect and it's hard to find comedies that have like a pretty tight structure, perfect.
This big concept. It's hard to do a lot of big concepts. You know, there's really one God concept and stuff like that. So whenever they touch on it, they have to do it the right way. Like Bruce Almighty in Groundhog Day to just having a God complex of whatever. I got all these powers and stuff like that. So I don't know, man. I just I really dug that movie Chicago Dudes.
And the tension like sustains itself, you know, a lot of times in, like the third act of a comedy when they're trying to wrap everything up and it's kind of tedious. And they had the big moment attention by then. And like with Groundhog Day, they kept up the the tension of the dark.
Yeah. They as dark as possible. You started killing them. So, you know, I mean, like, real. Real.
Yeah, you're right. Embraced. OK, well, I can't go that route. And so I took a turn back towards like enjoyment and light and fun. And you're like that. That's really hard to do. Like you can lose an audience and doing standup with one Miss Reverenced, like I was listening to a comic and she made a reference to, like she's saying, like a fat something before she described the girl or something like that word fat through the audience off so hard they were quiet for like the next five minutes.
And you watch her running through her spiel, trying to get them back on board with the fact that she's delivering funny things. Man, it is. Not only did she feel it. Oh, yeah.
You could tell because she started speaking a lot faster, you know what I mean? It was like, OK, let me get to this point. We get to that point because I know these points lead to hopefully you reacting back to funny things or whatever. But, man, they were so thrown off.
That's interesting that and it's very true. Like, I think that a lot of my comedy is based in self humiliation. And while I think that I can be pretty cynical and dark, I'm too self obsessed to not come attempt to come from a place of kindness, I guess. And it's interesting when you talk about that woman in comics in general, to think maybe men can get away with it a little bit more. I'm not sure. But once you, I guess, lose the audience out of if they don't fundamentally like you as a person, how do you get them back?
I mean, you do that better than anybody, though.
Yeah, but I usually call it out, you know what I mean? Like, a bit of something that happened and I call it in different ways. It's usually in a laugh because I'm like laughing at holy shit, that whole shit just flopped on the floor, basically. Like, that's hilarious to me. So I have to try to show them that that was not intentional. But we can move on.
I think what I wanted to say is you have like an openness of spirit, you know, not knowing you all that well, but watching you perform. So I don't think you ever turn and you never turn an audience. At least I've never seen it. And I don't think it's possible.
Yeah, I feel like I definitely try not to come from a place of malice ever, you know what I mean? So I think, you know, the audience can recognize that. And, you know, we can all be happy together. And that's all I hear is like, man, as soon as you step on the screen, I get happy and stuff like that just because I know it's going to be joyful, blah, blah, blah.
But it's one of my main beliefs and that's what comedy is supposed to be, you know? I mean, there's fishing to be done in darker areas and stuff like that. But I never want to come from a place of attacking someone necessarily, you know, I mean, like there's something difference between pointing out something that's public knowledge. That's ridiculous. But attacking or, you know, just like name calling or, you know, certain adjectives and things like that, you have to, I think, be very careful with, you know, because that's all karma things, you know what I mean?
And, you know, those kind of things are going on, like recirculate in different forms. I don't know. I'm a big believer. And all that kind of energy circulation type stuff. But, yeah, I mean, like my biggest thing is when a joke does not land with an audience, that could be probably the more funnier thing. It's terrifying because it's silent when it should be a laugh. And I usually react with a laugh because it's like laughing out of nervousness or laughing at the fact that I think it's funny that that joke didn't work.
All right. Will be in the next show, basically.
So no worries because I get a kick out of the cup. Four time sketches that you can get on on YouTube. I would say 70 percent of the time they tend to be slightly more bizarre than what's in the show, which is probably why I love them. But maybe that's also why I maybe didn't work dress or something. What's your theory?
A lot of the time it depends on the audience or how green the people around the sketch are, whether it's green performers in it or green writers handling it. There's like different trust things or whatever, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, but also pent up things. You know, they might owe someone else an opportunity to do their thing. Got I cut a couple of weeks ago or whatever, and it's like they have something that really could be a good moment for them, you know what I mean, for this week.
And we can try anything and there's all kind of, you know, back kind of tax type stuff, too.
So Keenon for our listeners that maybe don't know and you can inform me as well. So Saturday night around, what, six? Maybe there's the dress rehearsal, 8:00, right?
Yeah. You start feeling it at six. Oh, gosh, you're kidding. Yeah. You feel that because it's like we're rehearsing and taking a meal break. So it's like, all right, so what's happening? And there's a show happening. When and where is everybody going and what time do I have to be back? Is there a music? If there's so much happening by Saturday, it's crazy.
Oh, my God. It's gut wrenching back.
It is, especially for our generation, I think, because we're aware of how large the moment is and we're aware of what that means to be alive, you know what I mean? And like also live to the entire East Coast Midwest or whatever, and in the West Coast later. But really, it feels like you're going out to the entire world like you think you're just in the living room of every single person in the world, because that's the kind of headlines that you read on Sunday.
It's like the immediate turn over, like, did you see this? Did you see that or whatever or this old post did. Great idea would be plus or she did terrible as it is as imams, that shit like the very next day and we just finished partying at five in the morning and like those stories are out by 11:00. So it's like this is no time in between to pat yourself on the back basically and be like, oh, that was an awesome show because it's got to start over.
It's a whirlwind. So yeah, it just starts at eight and it's a couple hours and there's a meeting in between where they pick what's going to make it. And then lifetime.
Is there a consistent difference between the dress rehearsal audience and the live audience? And is it frustrating if like the dress audience doesn't get something, there is a difference?
The Dresser's audience, I think, feels very lucky to be there in the live audience can feel kind of privileged because they're usually invited by someone who works there, basically. So they feel a little more inside and a little more hoity toity, like where the real audience and you know, they're not as party driven, like the fan type that happens at dress rehearsal.
So that was my memory. But I have no idea if it was accurate or not that the dress rehearsal was like the lit. Yeah, but the audience felt like really wired.
It's like doing a show for like an audience. And then that audience is parents comes in and you have to do the show for them. It's crazy.
When I hosted, I had this feeling that you were very much my buddy. I'm so happy about that because that was me and my mind.
But I totally felt like that you were like a safe space and a scary, scary environment. So thank you for that, though.
And of course, that's kind of what I'm going to do now. And it's been there for so long because it's kind of ridiculous. Like if you look at it, it's an old ass building, you know what I mean? They've done a billion shows. They're going to continue to do a billion shows. So it's just like don't overly pressure yourself. Like this is the end all be all even for the hoax that I mean, Mike, that was just such a pivotal moment.
If the show goes bad, is really on us, you know what I'm saying? Like, we failed them in the writing and the performing or whatever we came up with. It should never look bad on the house ever. Especially if you come to play.
That's a really generous philosophy. OK, what is a trait you dislike in others?
A trait that I don't like in others, I guess is I mean, just sneakiness, dishonesty. You know, Jim, I don't. I don't like any kind of shady shit. There's no time for it, you know what I'm saying? Like, it's like you wake up like, what are you afraid of? You know, I'm saying, like, I would much more prefer you be an asshole to my face than have me find out these things later on down the road.
Totally. It's not only insulting to like one's own strength if they can't absorb that. I love how you said we don't have time for it because it is like just tell me what you need and what you want.
I don't want to interpret all this fucking mumbo jumbo that you're circling around again, all of this like shit you're projecting on me, these insecurities or whatever it is hoping this goes right or I hope you respect my point of view. None of that is like out. Come on, man, speed this up.
All right. What's a trait you dislike in yourself?
I can talk myself out of the better things for me. So I'm always finding myself. I mean, that's probably in a lot of people that are going through painful situations like working out. There's pain involved in that or exhaustion or discomfort. So the inner voice, you know, starts going crazy early, especially if I know I'm committed to doing something like that. I will start as soon as I wake up. It's like, oh, well, you know, you can just go back to bed if you want, or kind of windy out there.
You sure you want to get on that bike today and be like all that kind of shit? So that's what I hate about my inner voice.
On what occasion do you lie at being a parent?
It happens more often than you would like them. Oh, great. Can we go to chiselers? I closed my eyes. Weren't there so many cars in the driveway just now? Yeah, I know, but someone just called me and said they were closed, so we just go home. But hopefully innocent things that don't really kind of butterfly effect out too far, I guess. Yeah.
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?
Positano. Man, I am obsessed with that little. Yes, I don't know man. It's an insanely picturesque town, but it's also like insta famous and limoncello comes from there. So they have these lemons that are like this big and the whole town just smells of lemon because they make limoncello candles and it's just lemon everything. And it's like one of my favorite scents. Also the cuisine. Yeah. So then so. Yeah, yeah. And also you can go to any country for like twenty bucks once you're over there you can like go to Europe on a flight for nothing basically.
So what has been the most stressful experience of your life. And it was our decision I would say. I would say auditioning for anything basically is always pretty stressful because you never get over the feeling of being judged, you know what I mean? Unless you're a person that's very comfortable walking around with no shirt on. I mean, you probably still have certain insecurities about things, even if you're that person, but. I don't know how it feels to me like that kind of confidence usually doesn't affect people when they're auditioning because they're probably maybe auditioning for what they look like and stuff like that.
I was thinking about standing up on the SNL stage for the first time, you know, and especially God, the intensity. I mean, you obviously like rehearsing the week or whatever, but standing behind that door while the band is playing it had to be so crazy for me.
It was like, just don't open it. Just don't go out there.
How about we just don't do it? Yeah. How about I can just turn around. No, no.
Turning around and you stand like, right at the edge of the stage, even on the second time you felt like that.
Yes. Crazy. Yeah. It's a big moment. It is.
And knowing though, too, that like Lorne is, he's out there somewhere and the lights are in your eyes. You're doing a monologue, which is crazy.
I mean, the whole thing had its very individual challenges. But the monologues are so, so difficult, don't you think?
Like, it's a tricky show. Very.
And it's like am I mean, it feels like being on a really intense version of a talk show where, like, I'm trying to not do it as much anymore. Well, I'm not going on it.
But, you know, like, I would do a weird thing where you play, like, this heightened character of myself that's like laughing too hard.
Like, I had to learn that lesson because I would want to go on talk shows and be myself and it would never work out. Well, it's always an extension of show business, you know what I mean? So there's some sort of a show that you got to put on, even though, you know, it's just Good Morning America or, you know, the Today Show, you know, and you're supposed to just be you know, you have the people's attention and they they want to be entertained as opposed to just, you know, let's cut over to to Larry and see what Larry's thinking.
You know, remaining Larry is just hanging out. And it's like, why are we watching this if there isn't a show aspect to it all? I had to learn that the hard way.
Yeah, no, I think that, of course, there's an intimacy to what we do.
This is the only medium where you could really, truly be closest to yourself. I think completely.
I fucked up so many talk shows. It's a freaky moment, you know, because despite my Darney, there's cameras, there's an audience and then there's hos there that's, you know, in the middle of putting on show. No whatever, Jillian for them. And then you think you're there to kind of just answer a couple questions and keep it and keep the cash.
But that's never the case. They never want me to keep because.
Hey, Keenan, I can't thank you enough, truly.
Thank you, man. And you have to return the favor and come on our part. I would love to thank you.
It's called you already know it's a shameless plug, but I had to do it before we go.
I love it. Keenan, thanks again.
But thank you so very much.
Hey, dear listeners, I would like to introduce author, journalist and gender studies expert Liz Plank. You might know Liz from her work with Fox Dotcom, her show Positive Spin with NBC News, or her book For The Love of Men, A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity. If you want more of Liz. Check out her podcast, Heart Homework. Liz, thank you so much for doing this with us. I am so excited to be here. OK, let's call Veronica.
Do it. I'm ready. Oh, hi, Veronica. Hi, you're here with Liz Plank and myself, thank you for calling in. Yes, thank you for having me. Will you tell us what's going on?
Yeah, my boyfriend and I have been together for about four years. It's actually a long distance relationship. But he recently bought us a house for me and my children and his children to move into. And he's amazing. He's the best man I've ever dated. He's kind and he's considerate and loving. And my kids adore him.
But the problem that we're having is that it's really like our only problem. The big one is that we have different political views, which is fine. I have a lot of friends and coworkers and people that I respect that have different political views. But our discussions turn into debates that turn into full blown arguments where we almost break up. So my question is, can you make a relationship work when you have different political views?
So how far is your distance? An hour and a half.
And we see each other probably every other week.
OK, and so then with this house that he just bought, when you guys moving in together, well, it's really whenever I pack up my stuff and move, wow, OK, OK.
I think my hesitation has been this issue.
What happens when you fight? Because the fight is never something that either brings you closer together because you learn more about each other and you're more vulnerable with each other and you share things about each other or it brings you further apart. So what is the repair look like after a fight or is there no repair?
It depends. Mostly the only things that we argue about at the moment are politics. And so it really depends on whatever political issue we're talking about.
And I think in most situations you try to avoid political talks. But when we're planning on moving in together and raising children together, I feel like these are things that are relevant to talk about. And so depending on what we're talking about, sometimes there's repair, sometimes there's apologies for lost tempers, and sometimes there's an understanding and an acknowledgement of what the other point of view is. And sometimes it's just such a touchy subject. And we've been so upset.
And because we live separately, we can just say, I'll talk to you tomorrow. But that's not going to happen when we live together.
And you're going to be in the house, by the way. Yeah, yes. That's what I'm worried about for you. It's not just moving in together. It's moving into a house that he is paying for. Right. That will certainly be even more difficult for you to, I think, maintain just independence and freedom in this relationship.
Veronica, I think that so many of us can completely relate to your experience right now, because a lot of us have coworkers or friends or family that believe in this very divisive time, opposite views than maybe what we have.
Well, yeah, and sometimes I get real courage because I feel like if the person that I know loves me and that I love, if we can't have a discussion where I can at least get him to understand or empathize with my point of view, like it's just really discouraging to me, like in a world sentence, you know, like this is the person that I know loves me and he still digs his heels. It's just like I sometimes feel like he's not even validating my point of view.
Because that's how we've been trained to communicate in this era right now in terms of how we talk about politics, it's hard to have a dialogue where you say like this is my emotional involvement with this political party because of this. And I hope you kind of understand that because everything is so loaded, that little thing, everyday life.
I mean, it seems like every day it's kind of hard to avoid.
And that's the thing to me that's really important here. So first of all, I think the personal is political and the political is personal. Right. I think we have to avoid politics as if politics was removed from relationships, which is actually how we understand and experience politics is through relationships. And so I actually think it's almost impossible to actually divorce the two.
And I would sort of ask you, does he listen to you? Does he try and understand you?
Because it seems like he takes really good care of you and in so many different ways he's been there for you. But why isn't he there for you when it comes to this?
You know, I can't answer that for him, but I feel like a lot of these political beliefs come down to, like, fundamental values, you know? And I've told him I was like, well, the fact that you believe that is an issue for me, because this is a fundamental value of who I am and I can't move on this issue. And then I feel like maybe I'm being not flexible enough, but those are things that I don't want to flexcel.
Yeah, I just think women especially I think we're like Gaslamp just our whole lives, like from the moment we are like out of our mothers. Out into the world, we are told, right, the US reacting to abuse is anger and that there's something wrong with the way that we say it, with the way that we started, with the way that we feel. And so I think, first of all, you're calling in with this question. I think that you already know what is true and you already know what you want to do.
You're just looking for a reason to do it, even though it's going to be difficult. We really. Liz, you think? I mean, I think she knows. I don't know. And the thing is, maybe this is the right relationship, but you have to set your standards and communicate them and see if he can live up to them. But until you do that and sort of chalk it up to this is just a difference of political opinion.
It's not he's not listening to you. You want a partner that listens. He's not trying to understand you. You want a partner that understands you, and you want a partner that's emotionally mature enough to be able to have conversations with you, whether it's about like a random domestic dispute or, you know, when it comes to really important values like empathy and how racism shows up in the world and the safety of your children, those are a really big deal in a relationship.
Yes, but Liz, isn't there a way for a potentially great relationship with two people that have different backgrounds and opposing views politically? They can work. It's just incredibly difficult at this time, Veronica. Sounds like you really love him.
I love him. Yeah. I plan on having a life with him. Like, I have three children and I was single for, gosh, like a decade because I would not introduce men to my children unless it was serious. And so my children never met anyone. And he has met my children and he has become a part of my life. And I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think the relationship was going to last.
Veronica, we got to follow Michelle Obama. We got to go. Hi.
Yeah, you both do it. Well, yes. It's both of your problems. Right? There is. He is you are to try and resolve this.
He might not be, Liz, because there is a mentality. I know I've been with a couple of people like this. The mentality of I don't understand why you perceive yourself as a victim with your passionate views. It's like things are not bad for you. What are you talking about? And I don't perceive myself as a victim, but I do believe in things that I feel very strongly about. And why won't you hear me on this? Right.
And I do think that there is a way to have this life.
And what sucks, though, Veronica, I think it's timing when you want to talk about important issues in patients, if you want this relationship, because it's almost like when these discussions get brought up, make sure that you're not frustrated about some other minutia in the day. Yeah, it should come from a place when you both are calm, you want to have a discussion about your fundamental beliefs, but it can't come from the minor frustrations of the day because that will only lead to the minor bickering manifesting itself into like the bigger snowball.
Right. And it sounds like you want to be in this relationship and that you love him. And that doesn't mean that your voice can't be heard at all. Fuck it should be. And you guys have this looming, moving in together. That's coming up. And so, of course, the channeling of different anxiety will be projected, you know, sometimes through politics and when really some of the other practical issues are like, well, what kid is going to get the better bedroom?
Who is going to do like the laundry, who hasn't been doing their homework, like all the other things? And then it kind of can boil down easily into a sweet reduction of politics in America. Yeah, because I think all of us are going through versions of this to Veronica.
And that's why I'm really grateful for your call, because I think for sure you're not alone. Does that make any sense?
It does. And it helps because like you're right, I think the timing of it makes a difference. And I think, you know, I might have just saw the news or read an article or he has and he'll make a call about something and then I'll make a comment. But it's typically at the end of the day, when we do talk and we're both frustrated, you know, politics are always in our lives, but it just seems like it's like daily, constantly something.
And it's frustrating. And it's I think probably a lot of it also is my own frustrations with things that are going on. And probably a lot whenever I feel like I'm not heard from what he's saying or validated from my opinion, it just becomes like like I said, the full representation of. Everybody that feels that way, how about as a practical advice experiment, like next time you guys talk after work, if the timing is right, what if you said something along the lines of, God, I cannot wait to be in bed with you naked watching stupid show, you know?
You know what I mean?
Yeah, it puts the work on you, Veronica, unfortunately. But it might just work if happiness is the ultimate goal between you two. Yeah. It might be like starting off the conversation when you guys do have your, you know, routine talk, assuming that it's like you said, maybe it's the end of the day that it can start off with a place of not sort of the daily burden, but of the future fantasy.
Yeah, that makes sense. And that's totally doable.
Oh, good God. Nobody ever says that, Veronica. But most of us can be easily distracted, whether it's towards things that delight us or things that nurture our frustration with the current environment.
And maybe if your communication since you guys are communicating long distance, if you can set the tone of how you see your future, if you are excited to move into the house with him, then I would start not to see to avoid. I don't mean that or certainly not abandon any of your political views. But if this is something you want, maybe trying to read pattern how you guys and how and when you talk about things, maybe you can help guide him as he may be cemented, as we all are to some degree in our views right now to be slightly more compassionate with what you've experienced, which is the goal, which, you know, we all need to strive for compassion.
Yeah. And you guys are right, I think is the most crucial, which is like when you're in these arguments, is there one person trying to resolve them? Are you both being like, we're both on the team of like, let's not get into fights? Right. Let's make this relationship work? Because I think when we're in relationships, especially these conversations, you just want to be right. But this is not a relationship. If you're just focused on being right is probably not going to work out.
You have to focus on listening and trying to understand. And so the sort of reminding yourself of what the preferred outcome for the both of you is. I remember you're both you know, you're on the same team here, Veronica.
We've all been part of this hellacious environment for too long. You guys are missing each other. Yeah, that makes me really happy that you sound really giddy and happy to be with him.
Yeah, definitely. Oh, that makes me really happy. OK, Veronica, I have really high hopes for this.
I really do feel better. Yeah, it's really nice, actually, the end of the call to be like Veronica is going to make this. I think. I think she's got this. She's strong. Yeah.
I mean he is actually really amazing and he has been great about the new house. Like he's letting me pick out all the furniture. He will pick out what to pay.
He was like, whatever, whatever you want, you tell me we'll do it. And so he's like, this is your home, too, is like do not refer to it as my house. This is our house. So he's been really great about trying to welcome me. I've just been hesitant.
I think that if we can sort of get through some of this with as much sort of love and I know that sounds a little sunny right now, but with understanding as we can and you sound happy and I love it that you started like kind of giggling when you talked about him, then I think that you guys can, you know, change each other and grow together and understand each other. That's like the microcosm of what we all need right now.
So, Veronica, this is all on you.
You change the world, Veronica. The fate of our nation is in have one boyfriend at a time.
Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. And I think than helpful.
Veronica, thank you. Thanks, Liz. Thank you again. Thank you.