This week’s “Saturday Night Live” used the shared Nickelodeon experience of host Keke Palmer and cast member Kenan Thompson to create an homage to one of the network’s most iconic shows: “Kenan & Kel.”
In a pre-taped sketch set up like a documentary, we see Palmer approach Thompson and pitch him on the idea of doing a project together. Little does he know, the project Palmer has in mind is a reboot of “Kenan & Kel” – the sitcom that ran from 1996 to 2000 – with Palmer starring opposite Thompson instead of Kel Mitchell.
“I thought it was gonna be a Jordan Peele-produced streaming series,” Thompson says in the sketch. “I wouldn’t have said yes to ‘Kenan & Kel’ but now it’s just Kelly.”
Cut to Palmer telling the camera this was all part of a grand plan: “I had already sold the show before I even met Kenan. I told the producers we wrote it together.”
The sketch then shows a faithfully recreated “Kenan & Kel” set, with Thompson even back in his Kenan wardrobe, and all is well until Palmer reveals a baby bump (which was real) and shockingly announces that she’s pregnant with Kenan’s baby.
“Keke was gunning for an Emmy award, so she wanted gritty and dramatic moments, and I thought, ‘That won’t work,’” Thompson tells the camera. “And I was right.”
This gritty take on “Kenan & Kel” was funny enough, but the sketch goes for the full Millennial Nostalgia with the surprise appearance of Kel Mitchell, who shows up in the “Kenan & Kelly” show in his full Kel wardrobe and runs straight to a 2-liter of orange soda, spouting his familiar catchphrases from the series.
Of course, then Kel gets caught up in Palmer’s quest for grittiness and, well, we won’t spoil it here but there’s a pretty terrific joke that ends the sketch.
Palmer is a natural fit here, having starred on the Nickelodeon sitcom “True Jackson, VP” from 2008 to 2011 and then voicing a character in Nick’s “Winx Club” revival from 2011 to 2014.
Needless to say, the “Nope” star was a natural for her first “Saturday Night Live” hosting stint.
You can watch the full “SNL” sketch in the video above.