Kenan And Kel Reunited On SNL, And Host Keke Palmer Later Explained Why It Meant So Much To Her

Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell at the 2022 Emmys
(Image credit: Chris Polk/NBC)

Given their big success as child stars, many Saturday Night Live fans hoped Keke Palmer and Kenan Thompson would do a Nickelodeon sketch together when she hosted the sketch comedy show this weekend. It’s difficult to predict how much an SNL host might reference their past with specific sketches. In this case, she helped to reference Kenan’s past in the form of a reboot of 90s favorite Kenan & Kel.

Retitled Kenan & Kelly, the reboot saw the two working in a convenience store and blended the goofy and irreverent humor of the original show with a gritty and hardened inner city realism in an attempt to win an Emmy for Keke Palmer. The result is a really fun sketch that just so happens to feature 90s Nickelodeon legend Kel Mitchell in a big role. Check it out…

For those of you who didn’t grow up a 90s kid, Kel Mitchell was essentially Kenan Thompson’s sketch comedy partner before SNL. As teenagers, the two starred together on the shows All That and Kenan & Kel, as well as in the movie Good Burger before they grew up and went their separate ways. Thompson joined Saturday Night Live, where he’s been a regular for two decades, while Mitchell starred in Mystery Men and other projects. 

Those wanting to see the two together have had a lot of reasons for optimism so far this year. Mitchell made a cameo in a sketch when Thompson hosted the Emmy Awards, and there has been some positive momentum on the long awaited Good Burger sequel, which sounds like it could actually happen. How much fun would that be?

For now though, the surprise Saturday Night Live reunion will have to do. Thankfully, fans cannot get enough of it. Tons hit up Twitter to gush about how excited they were to see the two back together. The tweet below has over 4,000 likes as an example…

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That’s far from the only one too. Numerous fans took to Twitter to talk about how much they loved Kenan & Kel as kids and how many feelings it brought back to see the two together again. For Palmer, the sketch was really special too. After the episode aired, she went on Instagram to talk about how meaningful it was for her to be in the bit. 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.

Keke Palmer wasn’t yet acting during Kenan and Kel’s run, but she, of course, played the lead role in her own Nickelodeon show True Jackson, VP for three seasons. Since she departed the show in 2011, her career has steadily picked up momentum. Most recently, she earned rave reviews for her performance in Jordan Peele’s Nope. It turns out she’s also pregnant, which she revealed in epic fashion during her monologue.

Given her soon to be expanding family, I’m not sure what Palmer’s schedule is going to look like over the next year, but if Good Burger 2 gets off the ground, something tells me she’d be a perfect fit for at least a cameo. Fingers crossed it happens!

As for SNL, it's hard to imagine many hosts outperforming Keke Palmer, who was excellent throughout her episode, but thankfully, the show is bringing in some ringers as upcoming SNL hosts. Returning favorites Steve Martin and Martin Short from Only Murders In The Building are pulling double duty next week, and breakout star Austin Butler from Elvis will be there on December 17th. 

Mack Rawden
Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.