SNL Finally Gave Nick Kids A Kenan & Kel Reunion... With A Dark Twist
Saturday Night Live had an extra-special treat for every ’90s kid in its Dec. 3 episode. In its standout sketch, longtime SNL cast member Kenan Thompson reunited with his old comedy partner Kel Mitchell to reprise their Kenan & Kel roles over 25 years after the beloved Nickelodeon sitcom premiered. But this probably wasn’t the Kenan & Kel reunion episode fans were expecting. Thanks to a dramatic performance by Keke Palmer, Saturday Night Live’s Kenan & Kel reunion ended with a dark twist.
The “Kenan & Kelly” sketch was already a fun throwback surprise when SNL host Keke Palmer took over Kel’s part to reboot Kenan & Kel, but the real excitement came halfway through the scene when Mitchell showed up. If seeing the classic Rigby’s set and Thompson with his dreads wasn’t enough to hit every ’90s kid right in the nostalgia, then Mitchell declaring his love for orange soda and saying his catchphrase, “Aww, here it goes!,” again definitely did the trick.
But the reimagined Kenan & Kel had a drastically different ending than those old episodes. In the sketch, Palmer added some incredibly over-the-top drama to the show, launching into intense monologues about her upbringing and shocking Thompson by revealing her baby bump. Thompson jokes Palmer was hungry for an Emmy, and the most dramatic moment arrived at the end, when a robber shot Mitchell and Palmer wailed over his body.
For several years, Kenan & Kel fans didn’t think a reunion like this would ever happen. Shortly after Kenan & Kel ended in 2000, Thompson joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2003 and has been a mainstay on the show ever since. In those early years of Thompson’s SNL career, there were reports that he and Mitchell stopped getting along and didn’t want to work together again. However, they made it past those rough waters and have had quite a few fun reunions in recent years.
In 2015, Thompson and Mitchell brought their Good Burger characters back to life for a sketch on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and then in 2019 they both served as executive producers on Nickelodeon’s All That revival, in which they also appeared in a few sketches. Just a few months before their SNL reunion, Thompson and Mitchell got together once again at the 2022 Emmys for a short bit.
It may be over two decades since fans last got to grab an orange soda at Rigby’s, but clearly the magic of Kenan & Kel is still alive and well in 2022.