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The Adrenaline Of SNL Makes It Difficult For Kenan Thompson To Fall Asleep After The Show

Kenan Thompson's two full decades on "Saturday Night Live" have made him the longest-running cast member on "SNL" by a pretty wide margin (via NBC.com). The next longest running is Darrell Hammond, and he was on the show for 14 seasons. Though Hammond's present tenure as "SNL" announcer since the 2014 death of the iconic Don Pardo might throw some qualifications in there, that still leaves Thompson on top as the cast member who has actually appeared on screen for the longest consistent stretch.

One would think then that the show has become fairly routine for Thompson then, albeit a fun and rewarding routine. But according to an interview he did with Entertainment Weekly, Thompson said that he still gets significantly psyched in the run-up to each week's show. Asked how long it takes to get to sleep after each show, he responded, "A while. It takes a while to wind down from that adrenaline because it's been kind of building all day on Saturday."

SNL is a demanding gig

Kenan Thompson elaborated further to Entertainment Weekly that the buildup to the show all day Saturday comes largely from the knowledge that nobody leaves until the show is finally finished. "So there's no getting off the roller coaster," he put it. "And yeah, it takes at least an hour or so, or two maybe to just calm down, settle down, either cry or pat yourself on the back, whatever it is, and then off to bed you go."

Indeed, the fact that "Saturday Night Live" is, well, filmed live for the most part, as well as the quick turnaround of each week's show, likely play a role in how amped -– or nervous -– cast members get in the lead-up to each cold open. Thompson's trouble falling asleep is far from the most extreme reaction to this demanding schedule. "SNL" alum Bill Hader shared on Sam Jones' "Off Camera" podcast that for his first few years on the show, his own anxiety would build to such a fever pitch that he would develop flu symptoms. Luckily, Hader sought out therapy and meditation techniques to help him curb his growing worries.