Field Guide to Kenan Thompson

Oh, Kenan Thompson. You are, without a doubt, the most successful alum of Nickelodeon’s All That. (Amanda Bynes was climbing up that ladder, but then. You know.) As a proud kid born in the ’80s, I’ve followed your career since you had one. You might have helped spawn my love of sketch comedy shows – and your co-star Josh Server might have spawned my love for brunettes. But forget about him – this is about you.

Name: Kenan Thompson. Aliases may include “Fat Albert” (circa 2004), Dexter (circa Good Burger) Russ Tyler (circa D2: The Mighty Ducks) and – well, about a billion people on Saturday Night Live. We’ll get there.

Relationship: Married to Christina Evangeline on November 11, 2011.

Personally, my biggest question regarding Kenan and “relationships” in the recent years was whether or not he still talked to All That and Kenan and Kel co-star, Kel Mitchell. Unfortunately, the two seemed to have a falling out. “I respect his choice of wanting to make a name for himself solo,” Kel said to TMZ in 2012.

Oh well. At least we’ll always have this animated gif, to commemorate their once-partnership.

Natural Habitat: I would have said Good Burger (Home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?) but the most accurate description these days would be at 30 Rockefeller Center. This year marks Kenan’s tenth year on SNL. Pretty good, for a kid who started off on a TBS children’s show as a movie critic.

Identifying Characteristics (personality): The camera pretty much loves Kenan. In fact, a quick shot to his facial expression can often turn a sub-par SNL skit into a laugh out loud moment.

Also, he’s a natural. He always seems to have a fun time on stage, and rarely flubs his lines. In fact – an ad-lib to his What Up With That? sketch with Samuel L. Jackson, where Jackson just might have thrown out the F-Bomb towards the end of the segment, proved that he’s quick on his feet and can handle the unpredictability of live television.

Even better, Kenan – despite being a child star – seems to have a level head. Such a rarity! He still recognizes his roots (as in, he’s not cursing Nickelodeon or giving the finger to anyone who might ask him if Kel STILL loves orange soda), and seems to be extremely close with his family.

More On SNL: For those who are casual viewers, here’s just a small range of characters that Kenan has portrayed on the big stage: Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Reba McEntire, DeAndre Cole (his What Up With That? host), Charles Barkley, Lorenzo Macintosh (a “Scared Straight” imprisoned convict), Randy Jackson, Star Jones, Steve Harvey, Cee Lo Green, and Jean K. Jean – a French rapper featured on Weekend Update.

Identifying Characteristics (appearance): Kenan pretty much looks like the everyman. When he’s not in character, he kind of looks like that guy in your 10th grade Chemistry class that made everyone crack up. He’s approachable, and isn’t above silly costuming, bald caps, or the ridiculous Fat Albert fat costume to carry a joke.

Kenan – we salute you. You are seriously the King of Sketch Comedy. Not many people perfect a craft during childhood and manage to continue being hilarious throughout adulthood.

And as a pretty big Mighty Ducks fan, you brought us The Knuckle Puck. Sure – this movie might not be too high on your resume, but it’s sadly still a big part of my life.

Image Credits: Shuttershock (Kenan main image) (SNL Millionaire), (Jean K. Jean)

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