Kenan & Kel: 6 Thoughts I Had Rewatching The Nickelodeon Show On Netflix

We recently saw a treasure trove of classic Nickelodeon TV shows (that are also available on Paramount+) added to Netflix – including the sketch comedy series All That, the zany middle school sitcom Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, and the comparatively more grounded, but still quite hilarious, teen comedy Zoey 101. However, none of these titles had me more excited than Kenan & Kel. Created by In Loving Color writer Kim Bass and airing from 1996 to 2000, the sitcom starred future Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson and his All That co-star and real-life friend, Kel Mitchell, as a pair of teens who are constantly getting themselves into trouble. 

Because the series was a major highlight of my childhood, I immediately jumped on the chance to relive those memories by binging as many episodes as possible, which did not take long, since only the first two seasons are available on the platform at the moment. However, the binge still left me with a wonderful feeling of nostalgia and also inspired some unexpected thoughts and hard-pressing questions that had never crossed my adolescent mind. The following is an exploration of what my present-day adult mind conjured during my recent revisit of Kenan & Kel.

Kenan Thompson on Kenan & Kel

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Kenan Was Just As Hilarious Then As He Is Now

Few would argue against the belief that Kenan Thompson is one of the most talented performers on Saturday Night Live today (if not ever), with an Emmy Award and a record-breaking 19 seasons under his belt, so far, to prove it. The secret to his success is getting an early start as a founding member of the All That cast when he was just 16 and simultaneously headlining Kenan & Kel, which provides an equally plentiful display of his greatest talents. For instance, his character, Kenan Rockmore, also has a knack for funny impersonations (often to mock his peers) and dazzling facial expressions – such as when he cracks a potentially troublesome idea, much to Kel’s chagrin.  

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Kel Mitchell on Kenan & Kel

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

What Has Kel Been Up To Lately?

Speaking of which, I believe Kel Mitchell did, admittedly, upstage his co-star a number of times on Kenan & Kel and rewatching the show reminded me that he is an extraordinarily funny and versatile performer – which begs the question, Where the hell has he been? Despite past rumors that he was dead, Mitchell is alive and well and has even collaborated with Thompson a couple times, such as when they reprised All That characters, Good Burger cashier Ed and construction worker Lester Oaks, on The Tonight Show in 2015. Mitchell has also led a steady voice acting career for years, returned to Nickelodeon as a series regular on Game Shakers from 2015 to 2019, and more recently appeared on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show in 2022. 

Coolio on Kenan & Kel

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

What Has Coolio Been Up To Lately?

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