Monday, December 05, 2022

Kenan Thompson and Keke Palmer Reboot 'Kenan & Kel' on 'SNL'

Kenan Thompson threw it back to his Nickelodeon roots this weekend on Saturday Night Live!

Saturday Night Live

The Emmy Award winner, 44, gave a gritty reboot of his beloved '90s sitcom Kenan & Kel with help from host fellow Nickelodeon alum Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) in a hilarious sketch, titled Kenan & Kelly, which also featured a cameo from Thompson's original partner-in-crime, Kel Mitchell.

After Keke, 29, pitched him the reboot, Kenan said in a documentary-style confessional: "I should have asked questions. I thought it was gonna be a Jordan Peele-produced streaming series. I would have said yes to Kenan & Kel, but now it's just Kelly."

In Kenan & Kelly, the duo recreated the show's theme song, originally performed by late rapper Coolio, with new cast member Devon Walker, before returning to Rigby's grocery store, with Mikey Day playing Chris Rigby.

Hilarity ensued as Keke channeled Kel's whimsical character, stocking the store with piranhas instead of salmon and revealing her head-scratching new catchphrase: "Uh-oh, here comes the bus!"

Saturday Night Live

Keke also added some drama to the sketch by incorporating her pregnancy news, revealing her character's pregnancy with Kenan's baby, before delivering a scenery-chewing monologue that ended with her catchphrase.

"Keke was gunning for an Emmy Award, so she wanted gritty and dramatic moments in it. I thought, 'That won't work.' And I was right!" Kenan said.

Keke had confirmed rumors she is expecting her first child with her boyfriend Darius Jackson with a bare baby bump reveal during her SNL monologue.

Devon, 31, then showed Kenan his pretty spot-on impression of Kel as Ed the Good Burger Guy in the duo's hit 1997 comedy Good Burger, based on their All That sketch. "Well thank you, Devon. But I think we already found someone," Kenan told him.

Kel, 44, then entered to applause from the live audience, making a beeline straight to the orange soda. But his reunion was Kenan was quickly cut short when an armed robber (played by James Austin Johnson) entered the store.

Saturday Night Live

Revealing he'd been gone because he was "learning the art of karate," Kel started showing off his moves, before the thief shot him in the chest.

"Don't die on me Kel, no! My baby needs his father," Keke said before cutting her eyes back at Kenan. "You heard that right, Kenan. Kel is the father! I slept with him just to hurt you. Why do I hurt the ones I love most? Here comes the bus!"

Before taking his last breath, Kel uttered his iconic catchphrase one last time: "Aw, here it goes!"

"The show is not good," Kenan then admitted in his confessional. "But Jordan Peele called us."

Saturday Night Live

"He wants us to do a sequel to Nope," Kel added, before fist-bumping Kenan and revealing the poster for the fictional film Yep.

Watch Kenan and Kel reunite on SNL below!

After the episode aired, Keke went on Instagram to talk about how meaningful it was for her to be in the sketch. She called it the “highlight of (her) life” and shared how “influential” the two were on her development. Here’s the full quote from her Instagram story

"Highlight of my life. You two have been so influential in so many ways and especially in comedy. So much of what I think is good or funny or want to BE is because of you BOTH! Kenan and Kel being from Illinois only made it even more real for me as a fellow Illinois-er haha. And the fact that Kel’s birthday is just a day before makes me feel like it was just meant to be. But seriously. So grateful to be apart of this reunion."

Saturday Night Live

Kenan and Kel starred together on Kenan & Kel, a spin-off from All That, for four years until the series ended in 2000. They last appeared onscreen together at the 2022 Emmy Awards just this past September. Kenan, who hosted the ceremony, performed in a short sketch in which Kel was revealed to be a guest at one of the event's bars, with Kumail Nanjiani as the bartender.

In 2015, Kenan and Kel reunited to co-star in a Good Burger sketch on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In 2018, they competed against each other on a revival of the classic Nickelodeon game show Double Dare. The two later became co-executive producers of a 2019 reboot of All That, the '0s Nickelodeon sketch comedy series that made them famous.

While Kel has never appeared on SNL before his recent onscreen reunion with Kenan, the actor actually auditioned for the show in 2003, the same year his former co-star tried out for the series and was chosen to join the cast.

"I think it's hilarious now thinking about it, but now doing standup and being good at it now, i realize now what I did was not good," Kel said in a 2015 Reddit iAMA session about his SNL audition. "But basically I did this joke about DMX - if DMX was in TOY STORY. It was so bad, it was good, to me."

He continued, "And I remember Tina Fey was there, and I remember afterwards she was like 'Good job!' but I think it was a little too crazy for SNL."

Kel said he also performed a Michael Jackson parody during his audition. "I did a song about Michael Jackson if he was allergic to trees, hahahaha!" he wrote. "I starting dancing, I think my energy was so crazy, I did like a moonwalk move and actually stepped on one of the tables right in front of the stage, and flipped the table with someone's drink on it over, it was a MESS! It was SO funny."

Kel added, "But I wasn't upset about it. I was in a good class of guys who went for SNL and didn't get it." He also said, "So I'll be a guest on the show."

In an April 2022 interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Kel recalled how Kenan got callbacks after he did not. "He went through, I wanna say, four or five more auditions before he actually got in," he said, adding, "And I love Kenan. I love watching him on there."

Kel continued, "We talk all the time. It's more about us being dads now and talking about the kids and things like that."

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Originally published: December 04, 2022 at 20:53 GMT.

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