Step into the time machine, my friends, because we’re about to take a trip back to the glorious era of Kenan & Kel. Can you believe it’s been 27 years since this Nickelodeon gem graced our screens? Created by the brilliant mind of Kim Bass, this show became an instant fan favorite, airing for four unforgettable seasons from July 15, 1996, to July 15, 2000.
Now, let’s talk about the dynamic duo that stole our hearts: Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. These two comedic powerhouses had already dazzled us on All That, and when they joined forces for Kenan & Kel, magic happened. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Chicago, we followed the misadventures of the mischievous Kenan Rockmore, played by the incredibly talented Kenan Thompson, and his infectiously upbeat best buddy, Kel Kimble, brought to life by the one and only Kel Mitchell. Together, they whisked us away on a rollercoaster of laughter and wild escapades that had us on the edge of our seats.
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Of course, no sitcom is complete without an incredible ensemble cast. Kenan & Kel delivered in spades. We got to know Kenan’s family, with Ken Foree as his dad Roger, Teal Marchande as his mom Sheryl, and Vanessa Baden as his adorable little sister Kyra. And let’s not forget the comedic genius of Dan Frischman, who breathed life into the unforgettable character of Chris Potter, Kenan’s boss. These actors brought heart and humor to every scene, making us feel like part of the Rockmore family.
But wait, there’s more! Kenan & Kel knew how to turn up the star power. Throughout its run, the show welcomed a parade of famous faces. From the charming game show host Bob Eubanks to the basketball legend Ron Harper, and even the sensational Britney Spears herself, the guest stars added an extra sprinkle of excitement to an already electrifying series. They gave us moments we’ll never forget.
And let’s not overlook the ingenious running gags that became the show’s trademark. Those opening scenes, where Kenan and Kel playfully teased us with hints about the episode’s storyline, always left us eager for more. Remember when Kel rocked fishing gear in the opening of “The Tainting of the Screw”? It was like a wink from the writers, a playful foreshadowing of the hilarity to come. And then there were the closings, where Kenan’s scheming genius took center stage, roping Kel into wild adventures with his trademark catchphrase, “Aww, here it goes!” It’s a phrase etched into the very fabric of our nostalgia.
The show was an overall success and iconic in TV history so let’s check out all the Kenan and Kel facts you may or may not know.
Kenan & Kel was brought to life by the creative mind of Kim Bass, who developed the concept and served as the show’s creator. Before Kenan & Kel hit the airwaves, the dynamic duo first captivated audiences on the sketch comedy series All That. Mitchell and Thompson would frequently joke around on the set of All That, which caught the attention of producers, including Bass, who wished to package Thompson and Mitchell in a series. During a hiatus of All That, the producers kept Thompson and Mitchell so they could tape the pilot for Kenan & Kel. And eventually giving them their own sitcom, making Kenan & Kel one of three spin-offs from All That.
When Kenan & Kel premiered on July 15, 1996, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell became the first black stars of a Nickelodeon primetime sitcom. This groundbreaking achievement showcased the network’s commitment to diversity and representation, paving the way for more inclusive television programming.
Kim Fields, best known as Tootie on The Facts of Life, made her mark on Kenan & Kel by directing over 20 episodes of the show. Not only that, but her sister, Alexis Fields, joined the cast as Sharla Morrison, adding a family touch to the production.
If you’re a fan of catchy tunes, you’ll remember the infectious theme song of Kenan & Kel. But did you know that it was written and performed by none other than Coolio? The iconic rapper not only provided the vocals for “Aw Here It Goes,” but he also made his directorial debut with the show’s opening sequence.
Kenan’s father, Roger Rockmore, was portrayed by Ken Foree, who horror fans might recognize from George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), where he played the character Peter. The writers of Kenan & Kel were not only aware of Foree’s iconic role but were also big fans themselves. Foree had to audition in front of a panel of 25 people to secure the part, showcasing the show’s commitment to finding the perfect fit.
One of the distinctive features of Kenan & Kel was its interaction with the audience through a red curtain placed in front of the main set. In the opening and closing sequences, Kenan and Kel would address the viewers, often breaking the fourth wall with their humorous banter. These moments added an extra layer of fun and engagement to the show.
Kenan & Kel brought together familiar faces from the popular ABC series Head of the Class. Showrunner Dan Schneider, who portrayed Dennis Blunden in Head of the Class, helmed Kenan & Kel, while Brian Robbins, who played Eric Mardian on the same show, co-created All That and served as an executive producer for Kenan & Kel. Even Dan Frischman, known as Arvid Engen from Head of the Class, joined the Kenan & Kel cast as Chris Potter.
Remember when Kel famously declared his love for orange soda? Well, it turns out that scene was written by Dan Schneider himself. Originally scripted as “I do I do-oo-oo,” Kel added his own twist to the line, singing it with a unique twang that created the magic we all remember. Kel’s love for orange soda even inspired him to throw “orange parties” where guests donned orange attire and enjoyed the fizzy beverage together.
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