NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Late Night

SNL's "Kenan & Kelly" Sketch Was a "Product of Keke Palmer's Brilliant Mind"

The Password Host pitched the sketch to Kenan Thompson—and couldn't believe Kel agreed to cameo, she told Jimmy Fallon.

By Christopher Rudolph

When Keke Palmer hosted Saturday Night Live, she lived the dream of countless Nickelodeon fans — by placing herself in an episode of Kenan & Kel, the classic teen series that ran from 1996 to 2001.

How to Watch

Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC weeknights at 11:35/10:35c and next day on Peacock

Palmer hosted SNL on December 3, 2022, and "Kenan & Kelly" was one of most buzzed-about moments (aside from her monologue's exciting baby bump reveal, confirming rumors that she was pregnant with her son Leo). The sketch found SNL cast member Kenan Thompson reuniting with his Kenan & Kel co-star, Kel Mitchell.

During a visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on January 26, 2023, Palmer told Jimmy Fallon what making the iconic TV reunion was like. 

"I grew up on Kenan & Kel. I've always loved that show," said the Password Host. "I'm a huge fan of multi-cam sitcoms which we don't see a ton of anymore, right? I miss it so much. Just the satire and the drama, but also the heart of it all. It's so funny, because nowadays whenever they bring something back it becomes this deep-seated drama."

"So I loved that when I came to Kenan with the idea, I was like, 'Man, we should do something like Kenan & Kel, but Kenan & Kelly, you know what I mean? So I could be Kelly," she continued. "He immediately got on it, wrote this great sketch with his writing partner over at SNL, and they came up with this really funny sketch which is what you guys saw."

Keke Palmer during sketch with Kenan Thompson and Devon Walker on Saturday Night Live Episode 1833

Keke Palmer was shocked when Kel agreed to cameo in SNL's "Kenan & Kelly" sketch

"Thanks to Keke's brilliant mind, we did a recreation of the Kenan and Kel show," Thompson himself recounted in a "Behind the Sketch" video that showed how the art team made the set come together in just 48 hours. 

"The Keke of it all! The mastermind," Thompson raved later in the clip.

Per Palmer's interview with Fallon, she "didn't mention Kel" when pitching her idea, presumably not assuming he'd be game to join.

RELATED: Angela Bassett Reacts to Keke Palmer's Tonight Show Impression of Her: "That's My Baby"

"That was a surprise to me. When I actually read the sketch I'm like, 'You got Kel?!' Because Kel is it!," Palmer said. "I was so excited to get the opportunity to work with Kel. I was actually in the real throwback story. It was a dream come true for me."

After hosting SNL, Palmer posted on her Instagram, thanking everyone for a wonderful week, and Thompson and Mitchell in particular.

"Who could’ve told little me that I’d be on stage with Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell for a Kenan and Kel/Kelly reunion 🤪 — I would’ve passed out," Palmer wrote. "These brothers are ICONS. Talent like theirs is hard to come by, there’s a reason why we loved that show and it’s cause they knew what they were doing. Even as kids!"

RELATED: Where to Watch Season 2 of Password Hosted by Keke Palmer

Watch the "Kenan & Kelly sketch below.

Kenan & Kelly

In the "Behind the Sketch" video, Thompson talked about how "Kenan & Kelly" came to life, and said it wasn't until seeing the recreated Rigby's set that the reunion felt real to him.

"Seeing that grocery store it brought it all home. When I stepped on set that's when it was really like, 'This is going to be special,'" Thompson recalled. "I literally could not be more proud of how it turned out."

Behind the Sketch: Kenan & Kelly

Being part of a Thompson and Mitchell reunion is something Palmer and Fallon have in common. In 2015, Fallon co-starred in a "Good Burger" sketch with the duo, which featured The Tonight Show Host wearing a blond wig and working a shift at the infamous fast food restaurant.

Thompson and Mitchell teamed up once again in 2023 for Good Burger 2 — proving that decades later, they're still All That.