Watch Host Kenan Thompson’s Opening Monologue

Live from Los Angeles, it’s the 2022 Emmy Awards! Host Kenan Thompson opened the 74th annual awards show with a bang — and with a few references to some of TV’s biggest hits.

The Saturday Night Liveicon, 44 years old, gave his own twist on opening themes in television shows like Friends and Stranger ThingsAnd The Brady Bunch — even reuniting the original cast — at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Monday, September 12. Before showing off his moves with the help of some talented backup dancers, the Georgia native poked fun at his status as the unofficial “mayor” of TV while wearing a black suit and matching top hat.

“Well, it’s finally here, folks. TV’s most special night, where the biggest stars on television celebrate other stars on television while all of you watch at home — on television,” he said as he was met with a round of applause. “It’s the Emmy Awards! … For everyone in this room, TV is more than just how we make a living. It’s also how our agents make a living.”

He continued: “I mean, if it weren’t for TV, what would we do in our free time? Read books. No one in this room has ever read a book within the past 50 years. TikTok: Are you referring to tiny, vertical television? Or are you having sex? Gross!”

Thompson has been nominated for several Emmys over the years because of his work. SNL, winning Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics in 2018 for a digital sketch titled “Come Back Barack” with Chance the Rapper. Monday marked his first time hosting the ceremony — and he had some big plans in store.

“I feel [the pressure], for sure,” the Kenan & KelAlum spoke on the TodayShow one week prior to the Emmys. “I’m excited. I’m excited to get it done. … [I keep having dreams that I’m]You know what I mean, late or forgetting something Like, I don’t have a suit.”

Thompson stated that the first few minutes were the most important part of the show at the time. “For me, it’s mostly about the beginning of it and nailing the monologue and whatever the opening is going to be. Then throughout the rest of the night, the bits will play with other people.”


Kenan Thompson.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The Emmys viewers were also assured by the former Nickelodeon star that there will be no conflict. Will Smith‘s now-infamous outburst at the 2022 Oscars. Smith, 53 years old, stormed the stage and slapped Chris RockAfter the comedian, aged 57, made an absurd joke about, across the face Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head. The Bel-Air’s Fresh PrinceSince then, the alum has been banned from attending Oscars events over the next 10 years and his Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences membership has been rescinded.

“It kind of just threw the entire world off guard, basically, and that won’t happen again,” Thompson told the Associated Press days before Monday’s ceremony. “Even if I am roasting [someone], it shouldn’t come across as any sort of malice.”

The All That alum noted that he thinks hosting the Emmys is a “huge deal” for any performer — and revealed he initially was hesitant to take the gig. “It’s not necessarily something that I want to drop the ball on. So I was like, ‘Let me sit with this,’” he explained. “This should be a night of appreciating artistry and creativity and removing the stress of it all out. I get it — it sucks to lose, and everybody’s picking outfits and trying to do the red carpet thing. But at the same time, it’s an awesome thing to be in the room on Emmys night, and I don’t want that to get lost in the stress.”

Thompson isn’t the first SNLEmmys superstar to take the stage Colin JostAnd Michael CheThe hosts teamed up in 2018, as follows Andy SambergIn 2015, Seth Meyers2014. Jimmy FallonIn 2010, he was the ceremony’s emcee.

“Everyone’s got to do it once, and it’s his turn, he’s earned it,” Meyers, 48, told VarietyThompson in August. “The good news is Kenan, like I was, is lucky enough to be connected to a talented group of writers. The SNL writing staff, I’m sure, is going to show up for Kenan because he has been showing up for them and their sketches, getting laughs on looks and line reads for two decades.”

Thompson is also the host of the show. SNLCostars are nominated to Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.