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Kenan Thompson Holds SNL's 'Scared Straight' Sketch Close To His Heart

Many people have grown up watching Kenan Thompson, whether in "Saturday Night Live" or back in the Nickelodeon comedy shows "All That" and "Kenan & Kel."  Since the actor joined the iconic NBC show in 2003, he's been involved in some of its most memorable sketches including "What's Up With That?" in which he plays Diondre Cole, a TV host who gets distracted by the show's opening theme song, "Family Feud" where he impersonates the game show's real host, Steve Harvey, and "Black Jeopardy!" as host Darnell Hayes.

Thompson has certainly established himself as a successful comedy writer and performer during his time on "Saturday Night Live," and he even refers to his sketches as "his babies," which makes sense because they are very unique and representative of his work and creative process. However, Thompson has revealed that there is one sketch in particular that he holds above the rest.

This is Thompson's favorite SNL skit

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly in September 2022 to coincide with his 20th anniversary on "SNL," Thompson reflected on the work he's contributed to the long-running comedy show. While he's been the mastermind behind quite a few, "Scared Straight" is his absolute favorite, saying it "has a special place in my heart."

The skit follows an officer (Jason Sudeikis) dealing with offenders who have been involved in petty crimes such as underage drinking or shoplifting. Wanting to teach them a lesson and warn them about the consequences if they don't change their ways, he enlists inmate Lorenzo McIntosh (played by Thompson), who will often be accompanied by a second prisoner, usually played by the guest host of that particular episode. Whether it be his grandmother Loretta (Betty White) or Skeet Devlin (Taylor Swift), the inmates work hard to scare the hoodlums onto the right path.

Thompson said the reason he's most proud of the sketch is that "it was the first kind of self-generated thing I got on the show." At that point in 2008, Thompson had been on "SNL" for five seasons, writing and pitching ideas, but this particular plot is strong and takes inspiration from the original 1978 documentary "Scared Straight!" and popular '80s and '90s films. Other notable names to appear with Thompson in the sketch include Tracy Morgan, Zach Galifianakis, and Lindsay Lohan.