Kenan Thompson Reveals That a Family Accountant Stole All of His Nickelodeon Money

The ‘Good Burger’ and ‘All That’ star lost $1.5 million to a ‘bad accountant’
Kenan Thompson Reveals That a Family Accountant Stole All of His Nickelodeon Money

As a teen actor, Kenan Thompson delivered some of the most iconic kids’ comedy performances of the 1990s. However, once the dust settled, Thompson was left with less cash than he would have made if he spent those years working at Good Burger.

It’s a story that’s depressingly common in entertainment — a young, starry-eyed performer shoots to the top of their field, but their family doesn’t know how to handle the newfound success, let alone the financial windfall. They turn to a moneyman whom they knew before the wunderkind hit it big for guidance, thinking that they can always trust someone close to them. Years later, the star comes to find that, despite his many career accomplishments and thrifty living, he’s flat broke, the IRS is at the door and his accountant isn’t picking up the phone. 

Sadly, this was the experience of the longest-tenured Saturday Night Live cast member, who revealed that, early in his career, his accountant stole $1.5 million from him, almost all the money he made during his Nickelodeon days. During an appearance on The Breakfast Club on Friday, Thompson described how the theft left him feeling worse than Kel when the SNL cast list went out.

“I had a bad accountant, and it came to light around ’99, around 2000,” Thompson explained, “which was really bad timing because that’s right when I left my consistent gig.” After leaving his roles on All That and Kenan & Kel in 2000, Thompson entered the most uncertain stage of his career without any savings, taking parts that were a “just money enough for rent kind of thing.” 

Thompson said that the accountant was able to embezzle such a sum because “we gave him power of attorney when we shouldn’t have,” Thompson explained. “I was a kid, and my mom was trying to protect me. He had helped her out of her tax situations. …  So she thought she could trust him. But she could trust him with, like, the $30 to $50 grand issues kind of thing.”

“When it’s like a million dollars on the table, you never know what people are going to turn into,” Thompson reflected. “Apparently, he turned into a demon.” Thompson only uncovered the scheme when the IRS came after him over unpaid taxes, leading Thompson to file a lawsuit against his former accountant that solved his tax crisis but failed to recoup his earnings.

However, instead of wallowing, Thompson said, “I ended up not letting that be the end-all, be-all of what my life is going to be.” He now sees the silver lining in the unfortunate story, telling his hosts, “If it wasn’t for that, I don’t know if my track would be the same.” Thompson said that the desperation of being left broke pushed him to dedicate himself even harder to his career, which led to him scoring the SNL spot three years later that he’s still enjoying to this day. Without the theft, Thompson argued, “I don’t think I would have been as hungry … or as dedicated, necessarily.”

He certainly wouldn’t have been as hungry — $1.5 million can buy a lot of burgers, extra sauce.


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