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This year, Kenan Thompson celebrates his 20th anniversary on Saturday Night Live, and in that time he's played many, many characters. Throughout his record-setting run on the show, Thompson has proven himself a reliable source of steady laughter even in sketches that aren't working, in part because he can slip easily into a persona and just milk it for all it's worth.
Thompson popped up on Late Night with Seth Meyers (streaming now on Peacock!) to celebrate the show's midseason return with host Aubrey Plaza this weekend, and during the interview Meyers -- himself an SNL veteran and close friend of Thompson's -- decided to take the opportunity to let the Saturday Night Live (also streaming now on Peacock!) legend just play around a bit with some character work. So, Thompson left the stage and came back in costume as Pernice Lafonk, a noted science fiction writer who happens to be Thompson's alter ego.
Sporting curly white hair, glasses, and a pipe, Thompson slipped into the loosely defined character of Lafonk to field questions about where he gets his ideas ("Oh, the cosmos provides") and to read an excerpt from his new book: Quinsley's Nebula. Check out the delightful weirdness in the video below:
Ever since he took over as host of Late Night, Meyers has gleefully used his platform as a kind of sandbox where his SNL friends can come to trot out previously rejected sketches and characters which didn't make it onto the Saturday show. And while we don't know where Pernice Lafonk came from exactly, this feels like another very fun example of that trend.
Thompson gets to goof his way through a quick bit, reminding us just how easy he makes it look to extract laughter from an audience. Meyers gets to laugh as well, and we all get a weird little character moment featuring a made-up sci-fi writer. Even if he is made up, though, Lafonk's idea of thunder that makes sounds like "Kerflank!," "Paloma!," and "Futhermucker!" on some distant planet is a good one. Here's hoping we get more live readings from the author soon.
Saturday Night Live is back Saturday at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Late Night with Seth Meyers is on weeknights at 12:35 a.m. ET. on NBC. Or catch up on Peacock, where Late Night with Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live are both streaming now!