As the NBC comedy's longest-running cast member in history, the actor and comedian has seen his fair share of co-stars come and go over the years.
Since season 47 ended in May, seven SNL stars—Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat and Aristotle Athari—announced their exits from the sketch show. So how does Thompson feel about this year's massive turnover?
"You miss your friends when they leave," he exclusively told E! News ahead of season 48. "It just becomes a different place, but still the same weirdly enough."
Thompson continued, "Hopefully we'll give new people that are just as friendly and just as talented and give them a chance to develop a career. That's the beauty of SNL—it's launched so many careers and given an opportunity to so many. So when others leave I guess we just have to look at it as an opportunity for someone else and hope to celebrate in that."
Heading into his 20th season, Thompson isn't thinking about walking away from SNL any time soon.
"I'm a performer—whatever people write I can perform it," he said. "So as long as people continue to write and I can continue to find things and it's just not annoying because I'm the guy that's always been there. Like if I'm still finding new, awesome things, nobody pays attention to how long I've been there."
"I gotta keep finding something that they haven't necessarily heard before because what we want is big laughs," he added. "I don't want gratitude laughs, I wanna try things that really tumble you over with laughter. That's the point."
Still, Thompson says the last two decades on the series have been one big happy blur.
"I don't really know how to gauge 19 years," he said with a laugh, "I don't know where that s--t went."
Thompson's 20th season of Saturday Night Live premieres Oct. 1 at 11:30 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family)