Kenan & Kel is an American sitcom which originally aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 until 2000. In the UK, as well as airing on Nickelodeon, it also aired on CBBC during Live & Kicking from 1997 until 2001. The series stars Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell who made a name of themselves on Nickelodeon sketch show, All That. Kenan & Kel is the second sitcom created by Dan Schneider, who went on to create 10 more sitcoms for Nickelodeon, The WB and UPN including Victorious, Drake & Josh and Game Shakers.
The series follows Thompson and Mitchell play fictionalised versions of themsevles (Kenan Rockmore and Kel Kimble) and their teenage adventures. Many of the episodes are set at the grocery store that Kenan works at, Rigby’s. Kenan and Kel’s characters are similar to legendary double act Martin and Lewis. Kenan is the straight man (like Martin) and Kel is the goofy friend (like Lewis).
Kenan and Kel were very popular after the success of All That and this was one of the first of many cases of Nickelodeon making spin-offs and cashing in on their popular programmes. Examples of these include The Amanda Show (which was also a spin-off of All That), All Grown Up and Sam and Cat.
Whilst the show doesn’t have the most original premise in the world, it definitely makes up for it with the execution. The slapstick used is pretty basic and has been used in other shows, but Kenan and Kel deliver it really well and you can tell they are friends outside of Kenan & Kel.
The success of Kenan & Kel sparked the release of their own feature film based on one of their most popular All That sketches, Good Burger. The film was released on July 25, 1997 and was a modest box office success, grossing $23.7 million on a $8.5 million budget. However, the critical respone wasn’t so positive. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 32% based on reviews from 32 critics. Which I feel is a shame because whilst I feel it definitely isn’t the greatest film in the world, it works as a really fun and light family film and I love it.
So, what are Kenan and Kel getting up to these days? Both reunited for a special Good Burger sketch on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in September 2015.
Kenan Thompson is currently a cast member on Saturday Night Live and has been since 2003 and will also star in the 2017 animated film, Rock Dog voicing Riff and starring with Luke Wilson and Eddie Izzard. Kel Mitchell is currently starring in Nickelodeon sitcom Game Shakers as Double G.