Kel Mitchell has been serving up laughs for years, but it hasn’t always been fun for him.
he was just a sophomore in high academy when he landed a part on the first season of Nickelodeon sketch show All That, where he and the other youthful cast members clicked. And what a cast his close friend Kenan Thompson, of course, but also Nick Cannon, Jamie Lynn Spears and Amanda Bynes, to name a many. He has good recollections of them all, especially Thompson.
“They put us in every sketch together, because Kenan and I would always, like, hang out after a sketch, after a show, “Mitchell says. “We were just hanging out, joking around and doing practical jokes, all kinds of stuff, on set.”
They were also getting plenitude of laughs. The network decided to give them their own show, Kenan and Kel, which began in 1996. By 1997, they starred in a Good Burger movie, and got their own billboard. They drove down Sunset Boulevard to blink at the definition of them probing on pickles.
Some of his other recollections of the show include Bynes.
“What was cool about Amanda was that she was just intrepid, that is what I loved, “Mitchell says. “Because I am a physical jester as well.”
He recalled that the actress and her dad, Rick Bynes, stopped him in the parking lot one day.
“They were like, ‘Hey Kel, could you, like, show Amanda physical comedy and just, like, give her some advice and effects like that? And this girl … I am talking about like a sponger. Like, heeded to everything.”
As for Spears, her aged family Britney was on the show several times indeed before Jamie Lynn joined the cast. Formerly, Britney indeed invited everyone to one of her concerts, an offer they happily accepted.
“I cannot remember which album it was, “Mitchell says, “but I think it was the one with the snake.”
After Mitchell left the original show in 1999 — however he appeared several times in the 2019 reanimation — there were rumors that he and Thompson, who left at the same time, had a falling out, because both buddies had auditioned for Saturday Night Live. Only Thompson was named. None of that was true, and Mitchell finds the false narrative funny.
“I love Kenan, and I love watching him on there. We talk all the time. It’s more about us both being dads now and talking about the kids and things like that.”
Unfortunately, Mitchell actually did have a rough time post-Kenan and Kel, but it was not because of Thompson. In the early 2000s, his first marriage was ending, and he was having trouble landing movie places. On his blog, he wrote that he was “suicidal” and ” deep in sin,” floundering with” medicine and alcohol operation “and” the lost of love bones to gang violence, debt, hurt, pain, vanity, lust (and) heartache.”
“I felt like I’d hit a wall, “he told People in October 2015.”I was like, ‘OK. I need to figure out what I need to do in my life.'”
The grandson of a pastor, Mitchell established himself turning to his faith. He began working as the stage director for a nondenominational church in Los Angeles.
“I was trying to figure it all out on my own, “he said. “But what I needed to do was turn to Him. Once I found that clarity with Christ, I knew everything would work out.”
Still, it was not easy.
“As a young actor there are ups and downs. And when you get to that down part, there are times you feel like no one can relate to you, “he recounted. “When Britney Spears shaved her head, I understood that.”
presently, Mitchell is 43 years old and married to Asia Lee, his woman since 2012. He is the father of four children two from his first marriage who are now grown-ups, as well as a 4- time-old son and a son, who is 1, with Lee. And he is OK with them going into show business.
“I feel that you should definitely let your kid do what they’re passionate about. You got ta have a love for this thing because, within it, like I said, there are a lot of ups and downs, “he says.” There are things that you are gonna have to figure out and navigate through. But the cool thing about it’s that their dad has been through it and can really show them and give my testimony and help them and let them know about certain things. It’s like, if you really wanna do this, and you are serious about it, of course I am gonna support you.”
Professionally, Mitchell is a youth pastor and a co-host of MTV’s Deliciousness. He likens his meetings with the entire All That cast — who is still in touch — to a high school reunion.