‘Bring the Funny’ brings Kenan Thompson as a judge

‘Saturday Night Live’ regular helps with NBC comedy competition

Kenan Thompson

Kenan Thompson will bring a lot of the funny to NBC in the coming months.

While he continues as the longest-tenured member of the current cast of “Saturday Night Live,” he’s also launching two new series: Premiering Tuesday, July 9, the comedy contest “Bring the Funny” sees him judge 40 acts competing for a grand prize worth $250,000 and a spot in next year’s Just for Laughs Festival; and next season, “The Kenan Show” will cast him as a single father dealing with work, his two young daughters and his father-in-law (Andy Garcia).

“It’s not necessarily a better version of ‘Last Comic Standing,’ but a more inclusive version,” the agreeable Thompson says of “Bring the Funny,” on which Jeff Foxworthy and Chrissy Teigen also are judges (with comedian Amanda Seales as host). “We were trying to figure out who would be our Simon (Cowell), the antagonist or whatever, but we realized the show has so much heart that it doesn’t necessarily need that.”

“Bring the Funny” features not only traditional stand-up comics, but also those who work such elements as magic and puppetry into their acts. “It seemed like people needed to be missing that format a little bit for it to come back with a strong buzz,” reasons Thompson. “(NBC) wanted to try something new, and I’m glad they came to me to help.”

Also executive-producing Nickelodeon’s revival of his 1990s series “All That,” Thompson surely isn’t lacking for work. “It’s a lot to tackle,” he allows, “but ‘Saturday Night Live’ is my oasis in a crazy kind of way, since I know where I’ll be then. It’s kind of a stressful getaway.”

Birthdate: May 10, 1978

Birthplace: Atlanta

Current residences: New York and Florida

Marital status: Married to model Christina Evangeline; they have two daughters

Other television credits include: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Wonder Pets!” (voice only), “Nature Cat” (voice only), “Psych,” “The Nick Cannon Show,” “Felicity,” “All That,” “Kenan & Kel,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “Sister, Sister”

Movie credits include: “Wonder Park” (voice only), “The Grinch” (voice only), “Going in Style,” “The Opposite Sex,” “The Smurfs” (voice only), “The Smurfs 2” (voice only), “The Magic of Belle Isle,” “Space Chimps,” “Snakes on a Plane,” “Fat Albert,” “Barbershop 2: Back in Business,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “My Boss’s Daughter,” “The Master of Disguise,” “Big Fat Liar,” “Good Burger,” “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” “D3: The Mighty Ducks,” “Heavyweights”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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