By Elise Schoening
Kel Mitchell stepped onto the Mayo Concert Hall stage accessorized with his Nickelodeon backpack and “All That” jacket.
The accomplished actor, writer and director got his start on the hit ’90s television series “All That” and “Kenan and Kel.” Years later, Mitchell can still be found working for Nickelodeon with a lead role in the television series “Game Shakers.”
“I love family entertainment. I can go to sleep at night knowing I didn’t play something that I’m going to feel weird about later,” Mitchell said in an interview with The Signal. “I’m still the guy to go home and watch cartoons. Me and my wife are into that, so I think it’s just awesome to be in that work and doing something positive for the next generation.”
On Thursday, Nov. 19, Mitchell took a break from his packed schedule to perform a free comedy show for students at the College.
Mayo Concert Hall filled to capacity with students eager to relive their childhood days, but students at the College aren’t Mitchell’s only fans.
“I love my ‘Good Burger’ fans, but some of y’all get a little crazy. Even gangsters like ‘Good Burger’,” Mitchell said before launching into a story about gang members in Los Angeles who asked Mitchell to review their mixtape.
During the stand-up comedy show, Mitchell also told tales about the death of chivalry and his experience growing up in the South Side of Chicago.
“I grew up in Chicago and we had these kids who used to always try to beat me up. They tried to punk me,” Mitchell said. “But I was good, though, because I had a cousin who always had my back, who always looked out for me and everybody was scared of her.”
Mitchell told The Signal that his challenging childhood is the reason he now dedicates much of his time to giving back to those in inner cities across the country.
“I got into drama at a young age,” Mitchell said. “It kind of saved me from going down the wrong path, so I wanted to give that back to a lot of different kids however I could. Through my speaking and through the different events that I put on, I always try to do that.”
In between acting and producing, Mitchell visits inner cities to perform for at-risk youth. Mitchell told The Signal he has been doing it for so long that some of the kids are now in college.
“We still stay in contact,” Mitchell said. “They hit me up on Instagram or they come on set. It’s just awesome to see them grow up.”
Mitchell’s youthful enthusiasm shined through in his routine at the College. While onstage, Mitchell showcased his moonwalking skills and danced to the Nae Nae and Cat Daddy. It was a comedy show unlike any other.
“You work out? Come up here and do butt kicks,” Mitchell told one audience member. “This is going to be an interactive show.”
Throughout the night, the comedian called several students onstage to act out old bits and catchphrases from “Good Burger.”
Selected students were unable to mask their excitement and could be seen
bouncing up and down onstage or pulling out their phones to capture their moment with Mitchell on Snapchat.
The show ended with a question and answer segment, followed by a meet-and-greet with Mitchell.
When asked if he has kept in contact with his old co-star, Kenan Thompson, Mitchell reassured students that they have remained close in the decade and a half since their television show, “Kenan and Kel,” ended.
“Me and Kenan hang out all the time,” Mitchell said. “That’s my home boy, and my wife and his wife are really good friends. Ain’t no ‘Good Burger’ beef.”