Kenan Thompson Tells Incredible Story Of Recruiting Robin Williams For An ‘SNL’ Sketch

robin williams robert de niro snl


Saturday Night Live veteran Kenan Thompson recently told an excellent story about recruiting the legendary Robin Williams for a sketch.

As Thompson tells it, back in 2010, Williams appeared in an SNL sketch titled “What Up With That?” in which he barely said a word, which is obviously strange considering Williams’ iconic comedic talents.

According to Thompson, after an unnamed celebrity dropped out of making a cameo appearance in the sketch, SNL creator Lorne Michaels suggested that Kenan ask Robin Williams, who was in town for the weekend

“He was like, ‘You should ask Robin,’” [Thompson] said. “I was like, ‘I should ask Robin? I should just go ask Robin Williams to just sit in my sketch and not say a word? Like, seriously?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah.’ I was like, ‘S—.’”

But Thompson need not worry, because Williams instantly accepted the role. “I went and talked — I didn’t even finish my sentence — he was just like, ‘Absolutely,’” he said. “He was just an angel. That was crazy.” [via Entertainment Weekly]

The resulting sketch not only featured Williams but fellow acting icon Robert De Niro, as well.

That story for Thompson is just one of many that highlights Williams’ famed generosity. Recently, for example, we brought you the story of Nathan Lane detailing how Williams protected him from being outed as a gay man while appearing on the Oprah show.

Lane said Williams — who he called a “beautiful, sensitive soul” — “sort of swooped in and diverts Oprah, goes off on a tangent, and protects me because he was a saint.”

Williams, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting, tragically passed away back in 2014 after committing suicide. In addition to Good Will Hunting, Williams was also known for his work in films such Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin, and more.

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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him