Kenan Thompson’s Sci-Fi Writer Character on Seth Meyers Is Just the Most Recent Proof That ‘Late Night’ Is ‘SNL Lite’

Kenan Thompson’s Sci-Fi Writer Character on Seth Meyers Is Just the Most Recent Proof That ‘Late Night’ Is ‘SNL Lite’

It’s a common occurrence for some Saturday Night Live fans to publicly request that Lorne Michaels finally give them a full-length, nightly version of Weekend Update. But we’re starting to realize that he sort of already did that when he started producing Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Obviously, the Late Night franchise existed for decades without direct involvement from SNL or its alumni, but this current iteration, hosted by the former first chair of Weekend Update, is completely enveloped in the culture and star power of SNL — it’s also shot in the same building as the iconic sketch show. The segment “Second Chance Theatre” should be evidence enough that the pipeline of content from SNL to Late Night is literally as long as an elevator ride between the floors of 30 Rock.

The reality that Late Night with Seth Meyers is effectively an example of vertical integration by Michaels was apparent last night when SNL’s longest-tenured cast member, Kenan Thompson, took a seat in the chair opposite the desk of his former colleague and workshopped a character that is clearly just an SNL sketch that hasn’t yet made the final cut. I defy anyone to claim that “Pernice Lafonk” wasn’t written for a sketch with Colin Jost and Michael Che instead of an interview with their forebearer.

The pair of past co-workers spent time lamenting how quickly the culture of Saturday Night Live can change as Aubrey Plaza, once an intern in the show’s set department while both Thompson and Meyers were in the cast, has returned to host the show this Saturday night. Meyers awkwardly transitioned the talk to Thompson’s supposed writing career, which opened the door for Pernice Lafonk to strut through.

The bit has all of the beats of a potential SNL sketch without the polish of one that makes it all the way to Saturday night. Thompson clearly has a giddy reverence for the quirks and idiosyncrasies of Isaac Asimov and his fantastical works of science fiction, he just needed an audience to work out the kinks in a character based on the iconic author.

It won’t be a surprise if Lafonk and his latest novel eventually make their way to the stage of Studio 8H, just with a little more focus and refinement than they had on Late Night. After all, time is a flat circle, and so is the greater SNL content community — Late Night included. 

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