Kenan Thompson Says All-Time Best Sketch Character Isn’t From ‘Saturday Night Live’
In Kenan Thompson’s long-running sketch comedy career, he’s shared the screen with some iconic characters: Bill Hader’s Stefon, Kate McKinnon’s Colleen Rafferty, Bobby Moynihan’s Drunk Uncle, the slack-jawed idiots from the Californians, even his own Diondre Cole from the “What Up With That?” sketches. He’s also been a part of the Kids in the Hall revival, The Amanda Show, and That Damn Michael Che. But when the longest-tenured SNL star showed up for ‘90s Con last week, he chose an all-time favorite sketch character that wasn’t featured on any of those shows.
Kenan was a surprise addition to the All That panel, a show he starred in as a kid. So maybe it’s not all that shocking that his choice for best all-time sketch character was that show’s Coach Kreeton, the raspy-voiced, child-hating educator brought to life by pal Kel Mitchell.
“I was just saying backstage that Coach Kreeton might be the greatest sketch comedy character in the history of sketch comedy,” Thompson told the assembled crowd of All That fans. “All based on (Kel Mitchell’s) talent. Like, physical silliness, volume, you know what I'm saying?”
Thompson and Mitchell have been on an old-school tour of sorts lately, with their Kenan and Kel reunion on Saturday Night Live and the recent announcement of Good Burger 2. Thompson kept it rolling at ‘90s Con, making sure his former and future co-star was feeling the love: “Bro, you're a beast, man, and you still have us in tears. I always felt so lucky that he was kind of just giving this away for free, you know? You're like television right now.”
Two of Kenan and Kel’s old All That castmates, Lori Beth Denberg and Danny Tamberelli, took that moment to complain about having to pay for Kel’s comedy services. Joking, man, they were joking.
You can’t accuse many All That characters of subtlety. Like Mitchell’s screaming Coach Kreeton, Denberg had her own yelling regular in the Loud Librarian. Her trick for not going hoarse? Playing the character at half-volume for rehearsals and only going full-banshee for the live show recordings.
Mitchell, on the other hand, fried his vocal cords every time he pulled a Coach Kreeton. “I didn't like to save my voice,” he admitted. “I was just straight 100 percent all the time. I had no choice for Coach Kreeton. I had to just keep going, screaming the entire time. ‘Go on, ya crazy kids! Shut up! Listen to what I'm sayin'!'”
We’d take Kenan’s own Steve Harvey over the deafening Coach Kreeton, player, but what do we know? The guy who’s done SNL longer than anybody gets a weighted vote.