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King Charles

Oscars I'm Just Ken Performance Goes Viral; Alabama Is Having A Moment; CNN Anchor Kaitlan Collins And Former Senator Doug Jones Weigh In On Some Political Issues; Comedian Kenan Thompson Shares His Wonderful Journey With "Saturday Night Live". Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 13, 2024 - 22:00   ET


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Newsy, I know that you will stay on this with your impeccable reporting skills.



COLLINS: Thank you so much, Olivia.

NUZZI: Thank You.

COLLINS: Thank also much for joining us.

Up next, a big new show on King Charles, they're going to be talking about my home state, the state of Alabama, also Charles Barkley's home state, and how it's been in news lately with Alabama Senator Katie Britt's Republican State of the Union response to President Biden. I will be joining them to talk about it. So, make sure you stick around.

Thanks for joining us here on The Source. King Charles starts right now.

GAYLE KING, CNN HOST: Welcome, welcome, welcome.


KING: Welcome, welcome, welcome. We have a lot to talk about tonight, but, first, I want to say something about flying. I fly a lot. You fly a lot. Are you starting to get nervous about flying?

BARKLEY: Once I got the 50 in a turbulence.

KING: Yes, me too.

BARKLEY: I'm white-knuckling it.

KING: Me too.

BARKLEY: I never used to bother -- I used about used to joke about it.

KING: Yes, me too.

BARKLEY: But now, once -- getting old, it's brutal because.

KING: Charles, we're not old, but it's more than just the turbulence.

BARKLEY: Gayle, we are over 60. We're old.

KING: We are not old.


KING: Age is just a number, right?

BARKLEY: That's what our old people say.

KING: But it's more than the turbulence I am very nervous, but it just seems to be one little accident after another. Fortunately, there hasn't been anything catastrophic. When the door flew off the plane on Alaska Airlines because the screws weren't in properly, there's been a couple of things.

BARKLEY: That unforgivable to me.

KING: Yes, somebody should lose their job about that. I think somebody will. But it just seems to one thing after another after another, but we're still getting on planes.

BARKLEY: Yes, but, listen, well, we got places to go. But having a plane, leaving screws off and things like that, that should be a fireable offense, easily a fireable offense.

KING: Flames shooting out of engines on the plane, wheels falling off of the plane. It's a very scary time. I'm just saying everybody be careful when you're out there flying. It's still the only way to go and I was still getting on a playing but I'm more nervous than I've ever been before.

BARKLEY: I agree.

KING: To think about.

But, anyway, we got a ton of show for you tonight. I'm worried because I am flying this week and that's why it's top of my mind. Former Senator Doug Jones and CNN's Kaitlan Collins, you've seen her, will join us to talk about their home state of Alabama, which you have been paying attention is having a bit of a moment right now. Charles is laughing because this is your state.

BARKLEY: This is my home state.

KING: This where you were born.

BARKLEY: Yes, Leeds, Alabama.

KING: Yes. Are you feeling proud? How are feeling about Alabama? We are going to get into a little bit.

BARKLEY: I'm not feeling great. I'm not feeling great at all, to be honest with you.

KING: Okay. Hold that thought. We're also minutes away from talking to a super producer. Mark Ronson is his name. He is the guy behind I'm Just Ken, you saw it, the moment we all remember from this weekend's Oscars. I swear I felt this performance through the screen. Didn't you?

BARKLEY: Listen, Ryan Gosling, I didn't know he could sing like that. But the choreography, it was amazing, as we saw a boy, Ben-Adir, in the background.

KING: Yes, Kingsley Ben-Adir, yes.

Now, this is a thing, you know, this movie, this song almost didn't make it into the movie. Let's see what Mark has to say about that.

And SNL's legendary Kenan Thompson is here.


KING: He's going to explain to us how his Charles Barkley is better than our Charles Barkley.

So, the first time you saw him, do you, were you offended? Did you think it was funny? Did you laugh?

BARKLEY: I laughed out loud.

KING: You did laugh out of loud?

BARKLEY: I think it's an awesome thing when people impersonate you.

KING: You do?

BARKLEY: And him and Frank Caliendo have done me. Frank obviously just does the boys. But I take it as a great compliment, and you got to laugh out loud.

KING: So, you weren't sitting there a little nervous, like I wonder how this is going to go? You didn't have that?

BARKLEY: No. Listen, can you -- I was a basketball player. People who are in the limelight do one thing that's really, really stupid.

KING: Which is?

BARKLEY: They take themselves way too serious.

KING: I agree.

BARKLEY: Way too serious, yes.

KING: They've done me a couple of times. And when you're sitting there, you're like, I hope it's going to be funny, but you are right, I think you have to laugh at yourself.

BARKLEY: You have too.

KING: You really do.

But I have think we have to start with an unexpected twist. It happened in the 2024 race, broke news yesterday, and Charles has been pretty vocal, you've been very vocal about your lack of enthusiasm for the candidates.


KING: You did mention last week that you are leaning towards Joe Biden, but I just want to say there may be another option for you, another option.


According to The New York Times, did you see this story? RFK Jr., noted conspiracy theorists and vaccine skeptic, says he's interested in former Governor Jesse the body Ventura or Aaron Rodgers as his running mate. So do you know either one of them?

BARKLEY: I know Jesse really well and I think he --

KING: Can you see him as a V.P.?

BARKLEY: I think he's an awesome guy. I knew him back in his wrestling days. I used to spend some time when he was governor of Minnesota. I think he's got a pure heart. I don't know a lot about Aaron Rodgers, but I'm a big Jesse Ventura fan.

KING: Well, just earlier this evening on CNN, Aaron Rodgers has also been a very noted vaccine skeptic. It was reported on Jake's show, Jake Tapper's show, that he also had some conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook.

Now, I feel very strongly about that. Sandy Hook, the school shooting in Connecticut, in Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, several children died, 26 people, 20 of them children. They were little six-year-olds, five six-year-olds, still had their baby teeth. The fact that he could say, he's told people, this is according to reporting earlier this evening, that he thought it was a government inside job and that those children were actors.

BARKLEY: That's insane.

KING: I think it's insane.

BARKLEY: And I also think, Charles, it's so painful and so hurtful. I interviewed many of those families. There is no way, no way anybody could believe that they were actors. And I hope that's not how Aaron feels today. But the fact that he even said that back then, I think, is very troubling.

BARKLEY: I think that other fool, Alex something --

KING: Alex Jones. BARKLEY: -- lost some money. First of all, that is just -- it's crazy. And anybody who thinks that, you hope nobody ever thinks that.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: And it's just painful for the parents.

KING: That's all I could think about is the pain that it causes.

BARKLEY: But anybody who would think that, I would think they would be insane. I'm not going to lie. You have to be insane to think that.

KING: And for the record, Aaron Rodgers declined comment tonight, which also says to me, if somebody said that about me, and I hadn't said anything like that --

BARKLEY: Well, I bet he didn't have.

KING: We have another conspiracy theory too. We're talking about drama and powerful families and those dynamics. Well, the story that has a lot of conspiracy theories has swept the globe, is actually happening right now in England. The big question is, where is Princess Kate? Where is Kate Middleton? We talked to some people on the street today.


KING: What do you think is happening with Kate Middleton?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay. So it's been a hot topic in my job today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little weird. It's very sus. And now I think people are kind of scared. She's like missing or something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I think something is really happening with her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's like all these cheating scandal, like controversy theories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's on The Masked Singer.

KING: You think she's on The Masked Singer?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do know that all the pictures look Photoshopped. People are like, there's our princess.


KING: So the last time the Princess of Wales made a public appearance, it was around Christmas time. And at the time, the palace announced that she was having abdominal surgery. And since then, we've heard nothing more. And the conspiracy theories are really getting crazy.

This weekend, Kensington Palace released this photo. They were trying to actually ease some of the worries, but that only made it worse. It backfired big time when it was discovered that the photo had been altered.

Now, I thought this was much to do about nothing. They were saying, when you zoom in, you can see Charlotte's sleeve, the daughter. You can see the sleeve isn't where it should be. When I'm looking at that picture, I'm not even sure what I'm looking at, to be honest with you. The zipper on Kate's sweater, they said, is misaligned.

In a post from the official social media account of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Kate apologized for the error. And she says this, like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.

And so this is the thing, Charles, they put it out there because they wanted to put it to rest. But when people felt that the photo had been doctored, they said, well, if everything is okay with her, even if she's recovering, and people think she's recovering, why would you doctor a photo? What do you say about that?

BARKLEY: I'm so disturbed by this whole situation and what I want to hope she's fine.

KING: Yes, I do too.

BARKLEY: I don't think she's fine though. That's the only reason you were sending out a fake picture. I mean, they're under so much stress, the royals are. Like every single thing they do every single day is news and that's unfortunate, but that goes with the job.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: And it obviously killed Princess Diana and Mr. Fayed.

KING: I know her family believes that being chased by the paparazzi, yes.

BARKLEY: There's no need for the paparazzi to be chasing you.

KING: Exactly right moving on from Kate. Let's turn now to the song and performance of the moment. You all saw it if you watched the Oscars. If you didn't watch the Oscars, I know you heard about it because it gets -- it's an earworm. I just heard a sound back there. I'm just Ken. Did you hear it?


KING: Are you ready to spring in action?

BARKLEY: Only where I know -- I'm just Ken and I'm a ten.

KING: I'm just Ken and he's a ten.

Anyway, that song brought down the house at the Oscars. Do you remember this moment?


All right, Ryan Gosling, I love this song so much, paying homage to Marilyn Monroe. Everyone's favorite Ken, that's Ryan Gosling, dazzled in a pink suit, surrounded by his fellow Ken from that blockbuster movie.

Right now, we have one of the masterminds behind this hit song, super uber producer, there he is Mark Ronson. Congratulations, Mark, welcome, welcome, welcome to King Charles.

MARK RONSON, AWARD-WINNING PRODUCER: Thanks so much. It's so great to be here. It really is.

KING: Yes. I wonder what you must be thinking because I saw Kingsley two nights before the performance at one of those Oscar parties and he said, wait until you see what we're going to do Sunday. He said, I can't even tell you anything about it, but we've been in rehearsals and you're not going to believe what's going to happen on that stage. And, Mark, he was right. He was right.

RONSON: He was absolutely right. And he had seen more than I did because I had only been in the music rehearsals and these guys have been dancing, rehearsing choreography. They were changing dance moves at like 11:00 A.M. on Sunday. Like the fact that this all came together and even the rehearsal was -- it was great but it had this sense of like, are we going to pull this off? Like there's so many moving parts and I couldn't believe it just that the way that it came out was just incredible.

BARKLEY: You know, this and Oppenheimer have been the two biggest movies of the year by far. Were you surprised by the success, number one, of the song, but also of the movie?

RONSON: I mean, when I read the script, I just -- it had so much heart. It had laughs. You know, Greta is such a great filmmaker. I thought it was going to be a good movie. I had no idea it would be so huge. And, you know, even going into it, when we first got the Dua Lipa to come in and sing Dance the Night, and we were just like, wow, if that's the only song we get, like this is going to be great.

You know, we have Dua Lipa, the superstar. And then when, you know, Billie Eilish and Finneas wrote their song, and Charli XCX and Sam Smith, and all these people started to bring Lizzo, these songs were like, this is a really great -- this soundtrack is going to be pretty special.

KING: You know what's so interesting, because Billie and Finneas, as you know, won the Oscar. But one of the critics says, when you lose the Oscar, but you win the show. I saw an interview with Billie Eilish, and she said, that performance gave me life. This is the Oscar winner talking about your show, talking about your song.

So, did Greta come to you to do the song, or did you go to Greta? How did he even come about? Because I heard it almost didn't make the movie. RONSON: Yes. Greta and I had a meeting. She was like, I'm doing this Barbie film and I need two songs. You know, in the beginning, there was just going to be two songs, this big dance number, which is what became Dance the Night with Dua, and we need a song from Ken's point of view. And there was never anything in the script that Ryan was going to sing. There was never a moment where we thought like maybe it will play over the end credits, a song about Ken and his pain or whatever.

And then, you know, I wrote this song with my partner and Greta loved it. She played it for Ryan. She's like, all right, we're going to put this in the film. Ryan is going to sing it. So, we were -- you know, this is -- they had already started filming. We couldn't believe that they were suddenly going to put this in. It was such a -- it was amazing. So, it was all very like -- yes, it was really unplanned.

KING: I know. But, Mark, tell me what that moment was like for you on stage. Number one, I got a kick out of you wearing pink. Let's just start with that. Everybody was wearing pink, but I got a kick out of you wearing pink. But how Ryan starts in the audience, and then it became an audience sing-along. That just gave me goosebumps watching that at home. It came through to the screen.

RONSON: He's so -- he's really smart. He has such a great comedic mind, Ryan. And he pretty much had the whole thing in his head when we first started talking about where we may be going to do this. He was like, yes, I'm thinking maybe I'll start in the audience and I'll walk through.

But I don't think even -- you know, even when in the last rehearsal, he was like, what if nobody gets up and stands up, like, you know, and then at that moment, a minute in, when he starts to walk towards the front and everybody just lifted up, I remember thinking like, oh, he's going to be okay.

Like -- and then when he went in the crowd and everybody was singing and Martin Scorsese dancing, it was just -- it was such a celebration, but it was all from his energy. Like he's just such a great -- sorry, I should have said Kenergy, but he's such a great singer, performer, and he's so well-loved. I feel like that's a lot of what has to do with it.

BARKLEY: You know Mark, with all the success you had with individual singers, you just named a bunch of people on the soundtrack and everything, but getting a song at the Oscars, it's got to be a different type of pressure. I mean, other than the Super Bowl, it's probably most watched event in the world.


Did you feel that type of pressure?

RONSON: I think so, definitely. I mean, I definitely felt it for Ryan, you know, because he's not a singer. He doesn't have to prove himself. He has sort of everything to lose and nothing to gain if it doesn't go well. You know, me, I'm just playing the bass. I'm pretty sure, you know, I'm confident about that. But I just thought, yes, the way that it -- yes, of course, it's such an honor to be nominated. You know, the Oscars is like one prize for songs, you know, the whole night. And then to perform on that stage was amazing. Because even when my songwriting partner and I, we wrote Shallow with Lady Gaga, you know, even though it was amazing that we got to win, we didn't perform that night. So, this was like a whole different kind of thing.

KING: Well, I say give yourself a round of applause. I know Meryl Streep is your mother-in-law. What did she say, Mark? What did she say?

RONSON: She thought -- I think she thought it was great. She sent me a little text afterwards saying, like that was so much fun. You know, they brought so much life into that room. And she loves Ryan and Greta and she was very supportive.

KING: Well, we love you, cheering you on, bravo. Congratulations. Thank you so much. I know you're working in L.A.. Thank you for taking the time.

BARKLEY: Continue your success.

KING: Yes, we appreciate it.

RONSON: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

KING: Yes, Mark Ronson is very busy. That was clearly one of the highlights of the show for me, but I also like the John Cena moment. Did you like that?

BARKLEY: I loved it. I'm a big John Cena fan. That was hilarious.

KING: Did you see yourself doing something like that?

BARKLEY: I don't take my shirt off in public anymore. Those days are over. Those days are over.

KING: Do you miss those days, dear?

BARKLEY: I miss those days. I miss those days when I can take my shirt off in public. I'm -- he's great with Bruno Mars also, Mark Ronson is.

KING: Yes, he is. Mark Ronson, we thank you, thank you, thank you, because he's working in L.A. Job well done.

So, the home state of Alabama, Charles Barkley, as you know, has been in the news for the last couple of weeks. And my guess is you've got a lot to say about this. We've got the perfect people to break it all down for us, sort it all out. Former Alabama Senator Doug Jones is here, and CNN Anchor and Alabama native, that would be our lovely Kaitlan Collins, they will both be with us next.

You're watching King Charles.



KING: So, you're aware, Alabama is having, how should we say, a bit of a moment right now. First, the state Supreme Court ruled that embryos are human beings, prompting IVF providers in the state to immediately pause on those services, causing a lot of pain and anguish for women, and men too.

Then Republican Senator Katie Britt, you saw this, delivered the GOP response to the State of the Union, and the late night host, well, they had a field day with this. Here's a look.


SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): We see you. We hear you. And we stand with you.

JON STEWART, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: If you're going to stand with me, would you stand a little bit further away?

I imagine one of her kids just came downstairs and was like, I'm sorry, mom, I just came down to get a bowl of cereal. I didn't realize you were losing your (BLEEP) mind.

BRITT: Never forget, we are steeped in the blood of patriots who overthrew the most powerful empire in the world.

STEWART: Two things. One, who smiles when they say the line, steeped in the blood of patriots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like I tell my kids every night we are steeped in the blood of patriots in a castle made of bones. Goodnight, kids.

And speaking of tea, my tea is ready.


KING: So, that's Scarlett Johansson on Saturday Night Live this past Saturday, and that was Kenan Thompson. It's a scene from Get Out, you remember that. We're going to talk with Kenan in just a second.

But, first, we are very excited about our next guest. Both are Alabama natives. That's former Democratic Senator Doug Jones and CNN's Kaitlan Collins. Welcome, guys.

You know, when I saw Senator Britt's response, I said, this is a Saturday Night Live skit waiting to happen.

BARKLEY: You knew it was going to be bad, number one, when some of the facts (ph) came out about things that happened 20, 30 years ago.

KING: Yes, yes.

BARKLEY: And I felt bad. I felt bad, because I knew she was going to -- listen, you know, no matter what you do now, the other party is going to kill you. I think the mistake, what happened bad to her, the Republicans (INAUDIBLE) her also.

KING: Yes, yes.

BARKLEY: But we got this thing going with, like I watched the hearings yesterday.

KING: It's very tit-for-tat.

BARKLEY: It was embarrassing. The Democrats said everything great about Mr. Hur. The Republicans said everything bad about him. And it's unfortunate. And, you know, obviously it's just your job, but you've been in there. What is it like when you're in one of those hearings?

FMR. SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): Well, I haven't been in a hearing that had a special counsel that had to do like that. We had some interesting hearings, but I've always enjoyed them. I'm an old trial lawyer, so I like to wait. I was down at the end of the dais, so I would listen to the testimony. And I would go -- and I would talk.


And I would stop. I'd interrupt Ben Carson one time. I tried to ask about the sewer sanitation issues that we've got in Alabama and he kept trying to tell me that they could clear all that up in the black belt with opportunity zones.

I said, wait a minute, are you telling me that you're going to get a hedge fund manager to invest in septic tanks in black belt, Alabama?

So, I always had fun at those hearings, but the house is a lot different. You got a lot more people limited amount of time and it's all speeches. It's just all speeches.

KING: You know what, Senator, I always find -- and I don't know about you, Kaitlan -- I always find politicians very difficult to interview because they're so used to sticking to their talking points. And it's very difficult -- I find it very hard to get them to have a real, real authentic conversation in many cases. But when you saw Senator Katie Britt, as I was watching it -- I don't know her, I've seen her, I was certainly aware of her. As I was watching her, I thought, is this really how she speaks? Is this really how she is? What was your response when you were -- what were you thinking?

COLLINS: I think that was kind of everyone's reaction in the sense of no one talks like that. And I know her, I mean, so does Senator Doug Jones, and she doesn't talk like that. That was kind of the first reaction. No, that is not her normal voice. If you watch her press conferences or you've heard her interviews, and she's very smart and she's very savvy, and there's a reason that she was on Trump's V.P. shortlist.

What I heard from sources.

KING: Do you think she's still on the list? COLLINS: What I heard from sources right after that, they were texting me as this was happening, people in Trump's world. And, obviously, all he cares about is optics and how things come across. And so he did defend her publicly after that, but there is no mention really of her being on that shortlist anymore.

Maybe that's good for her in the end. Maybe she doesn't want to be on that shortlist and wouldn't want to have to be in that position. But it's a thankless task. It never really goes over well, Democrats or Republicans. But I think a lot of people didn't think that she did herself any favors with it.

BARKLEY: Well, to get back on Gayle's point, you have to interview Democrats and Republicans. How frustrated do they always stick to talking points? And we're going to say everything pro-Republican or pro-Democratic. How frustrating is that for you?

COLLINS: Well, I mean, watching that hearing yesterday, because no one asks a question. And there are great questions to ask Rob Hur.

KING: A lot of grandstanding yesterday.

COLLINS: It's all grandstanding. Sometimes they won't even ask one question.

And so what I always try to get through the talking points, you know you're going to get them, but sometimes they're not always ready for the follow-up right after that. And I think if you kind of dig into those, and, I mean, Gayle, you know this too, they fall apart really quickly when you push on them, because I cannot stand a talking point.

KING: What did you think about Senator Britt's response?

JONES: It was painful. I mean, it was just painful to watch.

KING: Do you know her?

JONES: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, she was Senator Shelby's chief of staff. And I was up there, we worked a lot. Our staffs did. And it was just painful.

It was -- you know, Charles, it's just another and a long line, unfortunately, of embarrassment for Alabama. And that's -- and we've seen that. And we've seen a lot lately, the IVF ruling that you mentioned that, you know, some of the antics of Senator Tuberville. And that's the one thing nobody likes. And everybody had high hopes for that, that talk. It was a big deal for a freshman senator. And it was just not --

KING: Well, we were talking about the black population of the state. You want to talk about that, the population in Alabama?

BARKLEY: So, this is -- I want to ask you this, Doug, because this is heartbreaking for me. The population of Alabama is 65 percent white, 27 percent black. Black people make up 27 percent of the population, but almost half of those live below the poverty line. We're the seventh highest rate poverty nationwide. We rank 45th out of child well-being. We rank 44th in adult literacy, and only 28 percent of our kids read proficiently. It's heartbreaking when I see those stats, but they are factual.

What can we do? What can I do? What can you do? Because you still live there. I got a lot of family.

KING: Before you say what can you do, I want to know why is it happening? Why is it happening? We always hear the great state of Alabama.

You know, it was interesting when we were doing the man on the street and asked people, when you think of Alabama, what do you think? What was the number one answer we got up there, Charles, about Alabama?

BARKLEY: There's no chance. That's Kaitlan.

KING: They were saying, Roll Tide. Kaitlan, somebody said, pecans. Somebody said, Roll Tide. And there was a great football.

BARKLEY: First of all, everybody said, Roll -- oh.

KING: You can do it. You've done it before. They said, Roll Tide. Nobody talked --

BARKLEY: That was basketball, Doug.

KING: Yes, but nobody talked about any of this. No one talked about the poverty. Nobody talked about IVF.

COLLINS: Well, I think people don't like to talk about it. I mean, you know this better, because you know there is such pride in Alabama and I have pride -- I get people tweeting at me saying, please, we know you're from Alabama, you don't have to mention it every five minutes, because I am really proud to be from Alabama.

KING: Do they say that to you?

COLLINS: Yes. But I think you understand, I mean, when you live there, you know those numbers better than anyone else because you grew up with it and you see it.


And, you know, my mom is a public school teacher, and we were kind of having this conversation the other day that sometimes it feels like they're focused on the wrong thing, like the IVF ruling that caused so much heartache for families that want to have kids --

KING: Yes, yes.

COLLINS: --or -- or there's a book banning effort going on in my hometown, when really, you know --

KING: While you have literacy issues.

COLLINS: why don't you focus that effort on the schools, or literacy, or truancy, and all these other things that are really important.

DOUG JONES (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR FROM ALABAMA: You know, Kaitlan, those people have no political power, though, that are the ones that don't read, that can't read well, that are below the poverty. They don't have the political power.

Alabama's just like every other state. It's been so damn gerrymandered that folks in the Alabama legislature have to only react to a small percentage of their population. And it's not the percentage that's in poverty. It's not the percentage that doesn't have health care.

You know, we've got 170,000 people that could benefit from Medicaid expansion. You think our legislature and governor would do that? Absolutely not, because that's not who they answer to in the electorate, and that's a real problem, political power, and there are good people speaking up and standing up to do it.

But you just cannot break through that super majority in the Alabama legislature. You can't break through that, and that's why they're going to focus on Huntsville and Birmingham and Montgomery and Mobile.

KING: That said, do you have Kaitlan's Alabama pride?


KING: My dad was born and raised in Birmingham, so I spent many summers.

COLLINS: We have a lot of Alabama on this platform tonight.

KING: But do you still have pride in Alabama?

JONES: You know, yes, yes, and no. There are so many great things about Alabama, particularly our natural resources and the land. And the people are really good people. It's just that we get this bad rep. We've been embarrassed for years and years. You've said this before many times, Charles, about Alabama going back to the George Wallace days.

And it is one of those things that we can do better, but we've got to get the political will. We've got to get people out there to vote. We've got to get people thinking their vote matters and standing up and speaking out, and that's what happened with IVF, by the way.

COLLINS: And not to bring this all back to football, but in a way, you know, when I was watching Coach Saban on the Hill yesterday, and he was talking about the efforts with paying athletes and what it's done to college football, I was thinking there was a lot of criticism of him from people who don't know him or maybe just don't like him because he's such a winner.

And some of the criticism was about, you know, he's not interested in these players and their well-being because he doesn't want them to get paid. He is deeply interested in their well-being, and one of the testaments to Nick Saban is that every player that came to Alabama, he invested in them, not just for their four years there. He wanted their character to be developed.

He wanted them to be better off in life and to have these better positions. He cares more than a lot of people. And I think that speaks to, you know, his investment in Alabama and in the state and why there is such pride over football. It's not silly to us. It's everything.

KING: That sounds like a proud Alabama girl to me, Kaitlan Collins. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Senator.

BARKLEY: She's right about Coach Saban, though, 100 percent.

KING: Thank you. Thank you very much. Coming up, our next guest is a modern comedy legend. For 21 years, Kenan Thompson is his name. He's been a "Saturday Night Live" staple. He's played the likes of Steve Harvey, David Ortiz, and even Charles Barkley. That's not Charles there. Kenan joins us next.


KING: Do you have a favorite "Saturday Night Live" cast member?

UNKNOWN: I would say Kenan Thompson.

UNKNOWN: It's probably Kenan, right?

UNKNOWN: Kenan. I love how he tries to keep a straight face. He's got a cute smirk about him.

KING: Favorite Kenan skit that he does?

UNKNOWN: When he does Steve Harvey.

KING: Do you have a favorite?


KING: Chuck, of course.

UNKNOWN: "What's Up With That?" "What's Up With That?"

UNKNOWN: He's an OG.





UNKNOWN: And now, the CNN Trump Town Hall, live from Columbia, South Carolina.

BARKLEY (impersonator): Hello, everyone. Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to South Carolina. We are your hosts tonight. I'm Charles Barkley.

KING (impersonator): And I am Gayle King, and we're the co-hosts of a real CNN show that combines our two names, King Charles.

BARKLEY (impersonator): Yeah, I thought it should be "Gay Bar", but then I was told that that was terrible.

KING (impersonator): Yes.


KING: Terrible. Well, it goes without saying, we loved that sketch on "Saturday Night Live" when we saw it a few weeks ago, although we did have a few notes on that. Good thing, though, that Charles' alter ego is here.

We're very excited that Kenan Thompson is in the house. He's the longest-serving SNL cast member ever. "The Washington Post" -- I love this description of you, Kenan, called you a sketch comedy savant.


KING: He has been acting since he was a little kid on Nickelodeon's All That and Kenan and Kel, remember that, and the Good Burger movies. And if that isn't enough, he also wrote his first book. Do you mind if we mention the book?


KING: He also wrote his first book. It's called "When I Was Your Age". Welcome to you, Kenan Thompson.

THOMPSON: Thank you very much. What a pleasant intro. Thank you.

KING: Well, when it says the longest member standing -- 23 years, you were the longest-standing member of "Saturday Night Live".

THOMPSON: I'm in my 21st but yes. Yeah, it's a long time. I mean, I can't even imagine where all that time went, honestly, because I still feel young.

KING: And you still look young. But when you're sitting in front of somebody that you've done an imitation of them, do you get a little nervous? Do you think, I hope they're not angry. You know, clearly he's not. Do you get nervous about that?

THOMPSON: Yeah. Yeah. Because we're not out to offend. You know what I mean?


We just hang out.

KING: You're not out to offend?

THOMPSON: I'm not. Personally, no. But some people strike you funny. So, you know, you have a very specific tone.


THOMPSON: You know what I mean? And you're a big presence on T.V.

KING: What is --what is this tone? Yeah.

THOMPSON: It's just down in here, you know. It's just a very southern, baritonal. I'm a very tall person, so that's how I sound. That's how I sound.

BARKLEY: First of all, it's a tremendous compliment.


BARKLEY: First and foremost.

THOMPSON: Tremendous.

BARKLEY: But like, I've said this. I had a couple of people call me who were hosting "Saturday Night Live", and I said, it's the longest damn week of your life. And like --

THOMSON: Yeah, it is.

KING: Well, you've hosted it.

BARKLEY: I have. And it's the longest week of your life.

KING: Oh, okay.

BARKLEY: Girl, you're rehearsing 10 to 12 hours every single day.

KING: Really?

BARKLEY: How do you keep, like, because you're doing the same thing over and over. How do you keep your energy level and your focus up working that hard every day?

THOMPSON: Number one, it's a dream come true. You know what I mean?

KING: Oh, wait, wait. There's the two of you together.

THOMPSON: Yeah, yeah. That was a great one.

BARKLEY: That's a prison scene.

THOMPON: Yeah, that was a great one. Number two, it's different for the host. The host has a lot of responsibility. Like, we're there more in a supportive role. Third, I work with amazing people, brilliant people in the cast, in front of the camera, behind the camera. You know, it's a several hundred people family, you know what I mean, that are trying to build something new every single week. Yeah, man, you did such a great job that week.

KING: Did he do a good job? THOMPSON: He really did, because I remember when he came in day one,

he was like, I've never worked more than two hours my whole life.

KING: That's what he said?

THOMPSON: I'm not about to start now. I was like, I don't know about that. Like, you might have a little different of an experience.

BARKLEY: It's amazing.

THOMPSON: Because it is fun.

BARKLEY: Yeah, it is fun.

THOMPSON: It keeps changing. It's sketch comedy, so it's constantly refreshing. So, that's how, I think, 20 years goes by before you even realize like what's going on.

KING: Do you ever worry about hurting somebody's feelings when you're doing their impression?

THOMPSON: Yeah, yeah. I mean, kind of like any sort of like negative feedback I think that you get from doing, you know, an impression of somebody, I don't think is ideal. Not for me as a performer, or any of the performers that I've been around at the show since I've been there. You know, we're just not those kinds of people.

KING: I know, but I think Charles is right. I think you have to be able to laugh at yourself.

THOMPSON: You definitely do.

KING: The first time it pops up, though, Kenan, when you see yourself being imitated on Saturday Night Live, you do have that moment like, oh, God.

THOMPSON: Oh, yeah. Is that what they think of me?

KING: Yeah. I hope this is going to go well. But you do have to have a sense of humor.

THOMPSON: You do, and then also the responsibility on our end is to do it with, you know, a level of respect, as far as getting it right is concerned. Like, if we're mimicking something and we're just highly exaggerating, then that's a little egregious, you know what I mean? But a lot of the time, it's pretty close to what's actually happening, and that lets us laugh at it.

KING: That's the thing, especially when it comes to politics. Many people think SNL is dead on when it comes to politics, and their -- their take on political figures that are in the news right now.

THOMPSON: Some people, and then there's other -- there's other people that are like, shame on you all, and this is sad and --

BARKLEY: Is this the way both of these parties like just whatever you do to one party, they hate the other party.

KING: But they're equal opportunity offenders, though. You're equal opportunity offenders, I think.

BARKLEY: We try to be, yeah, we try to be, you know like, neutral and just, you know, I say this a lot, but like, really just hold the mirror up to society. That's our job.

BARKLEY: No, you always think about, like, you've done everybody. Wait, I thought somebody had some pictures when we were dressed up like women, because I've been a woman every time I've been on the show. I'm like, could I try anything?

KING: Will you try anything?

BARKELY: I will, because Gayle, when you sit down on Monday --

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: -- you sit with like 30 writers and they just throw ideas at you. And they have to have them written by Tuesday, then you start really rehearsing on Wednesday. And I always said, I've hosted it four times, I'm like, yeah, I dress up like a woman. I mean, I'm a good looking woman, but it's all --

KING: If you do say so yourself.

BARKLEY: Yeah, I'm just telling what the public says.

KING: Okay, okay.

BARKLEY: But this is probably the most nerve-wracking thing to me, Gayle.

THOMPSON: The monologue?

BARKLEY: The monologue.

KING: The monologue. Okay.

BARKLEY: I mean --

THOMPSON: Because it's just you.

BARKLEY: The monologue is the hardest part.

THOMPSON: Yeah, you've done it well. You've done it for, oh, look at this. Oh man, we've been buddy buddies every time we've been on.

BARKLEY: We've been talking for a long time.

THOMPSON: I love it. But you're so big.

KING: But Charles -- but Kenan, when you started though, you've been doing this since you were a little kid. You had a -- were you imitating a T.V. show, a CNN type show -- THOMPSON: We used to --

KING: -- when you were a little boy?

THOMPSON: Yeah, my brother and I grew up in the cable era when HBO first came out, you know what I mean? So, that was when we were able to see movies over and over and over again without having to pay for it, you know? And we would watch "Coming to America" a million times, "Three Amigos" a million times, you know what I mean? Like 48 hours, whatever, trading places. KING: We have a clip of young Kenan in action.



KING: Can you show that please?


THOMPSON: Yeah, you know, we would just recreate all those scenes. Oh, look at the little baby.

KING: Oh my gosh, Kenan.

THOMPSON: Didn't even go surfing, look at that. Just wasting everybody's time. That's so funny. What is that? Oh, that's "Real News for Kids".

KING: Yes, Kenan.

THOMPSON: Oh, that was my first little -- that was a CNN show.

KING: Yes, yes.



KING: What were your dreams back then? Did you want to be doing this?

THOMPSON: Yeah, or something, you know what I mean? I was obsessed with the television. I wanted to be, you know, inside of it, number one, just to figure out how that worked. But, you know, I always enjoyed, you know, the Hollywood or you know, kind of like, mystery of Hollywood or, you know, the magic and, you know like, I don't know, the fandom that you get when you watch certain shows or whatever, like, I don't know.

I just grew up being a fan of stuff and then wanting to kind of be involved in the industry once I learned that it was an industry, you know?

KING: Yeah.

THOMPSON: And then trying to figure out what was my service to that industry going to be and it always kind of was in the performance realm, you know? And luckily I was --

KING: You're very good at it.

THOMPSON: -- trained as I grew up.

BARKLEY: First of all, he has to be great at it because there's no way you can have this extended career unless you're very, very talented because

THOMPSON: Thank you.

BARKLEY: You've seen a lot of them gone.

KING: Yes, come and go.

BARKLEY: Yeah. So, to be -- to start out as a young kid and expand your career, that tells me, number one -- number one, you're a nice guy.

THOMPSON: I appreciate it.

BARKLEY: But you're talented. What's next for you? Have you directed anything?

BARKLEY: I've directed stuff in the past, but it's not my favorite thing. I like producing a lot, which is why I'm really excited for our company, Artists for Artists. Shout out to Johnny Ryan, he's in the building. He's my partner.

KING: Don't you have a production company?

THOMPSON: That's it, Artists for Artists.

KING: Artists for Artists, okay.

BARKLEY: So, what kind of stuff do you want to produce?

THOMPSON: Everything. We helped produce "Good Burger 2". That was a good one. That was one of our first, like, big, like we're here and we're actually doing stuff kind of moments, basically. And you know, anything under the sun. You know --

BARKLEY: You say you didn't like directing.

THOMPSON: No, because I can't be asked that many questions. You know what I'm saying? Every department is asking you about something. Do you approve of this dress? Do you approve of this look? Do you approve of this table? Do you approve of these lights? It's too much for me, because I'm like, y'all supposed to be professionals. Why are you asking me?


THOMPSON: You know what I'm saying? But directors have to be meticulous like that. And some people that are great directors are actually very controlling like that and good at it. I'm not very good at it.

BARKLEY: So, you've been on the show a long -- I mean, obviously, I'm not going to ask you --

KING: Twenty-three years.

THOMPSON: Twenty-one. Yes.

KING: Twenty-one. Okay.

BARKLEY: I'm not going to ask you who's your favorite. Give me a short list of the funniest people not in character that you've worked with.

THOMPSON: Fred Armisen is one of the greats. He's one of the great backstage, we'll just keep a bit going, like J.B. Smoove.


THOMPSON: J.B. Smoove is a beast. But yeah, there's been a lot of them. I mean, Jimmy Fallon is high energy like how he is on T.V. is how he is in real life, just high energy, really, really funny. But you know, Maya's the greatest. Like, Amy, Tina, Rachel, really, really, funny people over the years, like Sandberg Bill.

Bill is so reserved and then he turns it up so much when he performs -- Bill Hader. You know, it's like night and day from who he is as a person and then when he's performing, similar to myself because I'm kind of like mellow.

KING: Do you marvel, Kenan, that you've been on since 2003, you now have two daughters --


KING: Like two young daughters.

THOMPSON: I marvel because I can't name them all. I've had the blessing of working with a whole lot of really talented people.

KING: You're going to say I can't name my daughters.

THOMPSON: No, I can't name them daughters, no. I don't know them all.

BARKLEY: So, for me, for basketball, my daughter got to see me at the end when I was nobody.

THOMSPON: Right, right. You're still doing your thing. Your kids, you said 10, almost 10.


BARKLEY: So, they've seen you like in your prime.

KING: Yeah.

THOMPSON: Yeah. BARKLEY: What do your kids think of you?

THOMPSON: They think it's funny because nowadays on SNL, I play a lot of old characters, you know what I mean? So, anytime they show a clip, they'll see me in old hair or gray hair or something, dressed in sweaters and glasses, and they're like, why were you such an old person on that thing?

And I'm like, I tend to do that a lot because, you know, it's a funny, blank, performance zone for me and the audience. Like the audience likes to see me, you know, when I'm in character and stuff like that.

KING: Do you have a favorite character? Because it was interesting asking people on the street, this one. Is that your favorite character, too?

THOMPSON: It was my favorite sketch, yeah. "What's Up With That" was real strong, you know, and I really loved it because it was personal. Like, I had an idea and then like

BARKLEY: "Black Jeopardy" and "Family Feud".

KING: I love "Black Jeopardy".

THOMPSON: Yeah. "Black Jeopardy" is incredible. Shout out to Chadwick Boseman. That was the greatest one that we ever did, I think, besides like, Tom Hanks' one. Those two were like the strongest "Black Jeopardies". You know, "Black Jeopardy" had Drake. "Black Jeopardy" had Elizabeth Banks. You know, it was a great, great sketch.

BARKLEY: How many fools walk up to you and say, make me laugh?


THOMPSON: Over the years, a lot, and I've let a lot of them down because, like, I don't know. As you see, I'm very just kind of chill. I'm not a joke teller, but I like to laugh and have a good time when, you know, there's a moment that's funny, but you know, I'm not the joke teller. My dad told me a joke today. You know what I mean? He was like, I got a joke for you.

KING: Is your dad funny?

THOMPSON: He's a joke teller.

KING: Yeah?

THOMPSON: He's really funny.

KING: And now Lorne is approaching 50 years.


KING: There's all sorts of speculation, what will happen, what will happen.


KING: Do you have thoughts about that?

THOMPSON: I mean, personally, kind of, but I see how hands-on he is and it's his baby --

'KING: I can t imagine.

THOMPSON: -you know what I mean? So, I can't really imagine.

KING: Yes, I feel that too.

THOMPSON: I don't really know, but yeah, it's his baby.

KING: Yes, it's his baby and his baby is doing very well.


KING: Thank you so much, Kenan.

THOMPSON: You want to hear my dad's joke real quick?

KING: Okay, go ahead.

THOMPSON: What was it?

KING: Kenan, you sound like an old man.

THOMPSON: How far can you run in the woods?

KING: Okay, how far?

THOMPSON: Halfway, because then you start running out. I mean, it's more of like a riddle. That's a pretty good joke. That's old school.

KING: You okay?

THOMPSON: That's old school. I'm great. Yeah, he thought that was really funny to share at eight in the morning this morning.

KING: Thank you, Kenan's dad. SNL returns on March 30th with the host Ramy Youssef.

THOMPSON: Yeah, Ramy Youssef's coming.

KING: And Youssef and musical guest, oh, Travis Scott coming back live on NBC. Kristen Wiig is coming. Ryan Gosling is coming.

KING: Yes, Ryan Gosling's coming, yes.

THOMPSON: It's about to be cracking over there.

KING: Yes. All seasons of SNL, you should know, are streaming right now on Peacock, so you can see Kenan anytime you want. King Charles will be right back.

THOMPSON: Thank you.



KING: That'll do it for us. We're still talking about how great we thought Kenan was.

BARKLEY: Yes. And Doug and Kaitlan were awesome.

KING: Yeah.

BARKLEY: And Mark -- Mark Ronson.

KING: Yes. Thank you so much for joining us. We'll be back next Wednesday, same time, same place. Once again, we're matching.

BARKLEY: Yes, exactly right. Hey, you can catch Gayle tomorrow morning on CBS Morning at 7 A.M. Good night.

KING: Good night.