From All That to Good Burger, Here Are Kenan Thompson's Best (& Most Iconic) Roles

By Jake Thompson Nov 18, 2021 6:33 PMTags
December 6
Watch: Kenan Thompson to Host 2021 People's Choice Awards

Kenan Thompson has been making us LOL for nearly 30 years!

The 2021 People's Choice Awards host, comedian and actor got his big TV break as one of the original cast member's of Nickelodeon's sketch comedy series All That in 1994. Memorable characters like Superman-inspired Super Dude and French student Pierre Escargot made Kenan not only a fan favorite, but skyrocketed him into super stardom.

From a beloved Kenan & Kel spinoff series in 1996 co-starring Kel Mitchell, to nostalgic classics like Heavyweights, The Mighty Ducks: D2 and Good Burger, we owe the best parts of our childhood—and a pension for orange soda—to the Emmy-nominated actor.

When he's not making us laugh on TV, this year's PCAs host is popping up in movies like Barbershop 2: Back In Business and Snakes on a Plane.

In the past year alone, Kenan landed his own series on Feb. 17, 2021—aptly titled Kenanas well as started his 19th season of Saturday Night Live, making him the longest-running cast member.

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2021 People's Choice Awards: Game Changer Nominees

There's a reason he's nominated for two PCAs trophies at this year's show! Thompson is also nominated for The Comedy TV Star and The Male TV Star for his mainstay work on Saturday Night Live

While we anxiously await to see Kenan take the stage as host of this year's 2021 People's Choice Awards on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, let's relive his most beloved and iconic roles below.

Catch a special holiday episode of Kenan on Wednesday, Dec. 15 on NBC and check out all-new episodes when season 2 premieres on Monday, Jan. 3 on NBC.

(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family)

Good Burger

Every now and then, something iconic hits the theaters and stands the test of time. As slacker student turned burger joint hero Dexter Reed, Kenan Thompson became a household name with Good Burger. Fans of the adored All That sketch with Kel Mitchell were rewarded during the summer of 1997 when the characters expanded into a movie-sized version, catapulting the two to super stardom. 

Saturday Night Live

In a room of unanimously funny people, it's hard to stick out. But when Kenan Thompson joined the legendary Saturday Night Live cast in 2003, he shined bright all on his own. Over the years he has made us LOL every weekend with unforgettable characters. Whether he's doing uncanny impersonations of Al Sharpton, singing joyously as Diondre Cole or dressed up as a fancy lobster at a diner singing about his cruel fate, Thompson can make anything hilarious. He's also the show's longest-running actor.

The Mighty Ducks: D2

When lawyer Gordon Bombay (Emilio Esteves) gets arrested for drunk driving and sentenced to 500 community service hours with a local kid's hockey team, The Mighty Ducks, we knew a classic was in the making. Adored by fans around the world, Kenan Thompson starred along Joshua Jackson and All That co-star Danny Tamberelli in the sequel The Mighty Ducks: D2, as well as the third and fourth movies.

Kenan

Kenan Thompson gave us our new favorite series on Feb. 17, 2021—aptly titled Kenan—which follows his character of the same name, a widowed dad juggling a high-profile job as the host of an Atlanta morning show and raising two daughters. It's a family affair with Don Johnson playing Thompson's father-in-law and Saturday Night Live co-star Chris Reed playing his brother. Viewers tuned in every week to watch these three grown men attempt to raise two little girls under one roof. 

All That

Most know the Saturday Night Live legend from his comedy alma mater All That. It was during this time that the emerging comedian showed all his cards. Memorable characters like Superman-inspired Super Dude and French student Pierre Escargot made Kenan Thompson not only a fan favorite, but an instant hit. So much so, that his character work with Kel Mitchell in Good Burger became a summer blockbuster that has stood the test of time. 

Heavyweights

Summer camp sounds like a dream for most, unless of course it's strictly for plump kids being lured into quick weight loss methods at a posh camp for overweight youth. That, on top of a psycho ex-fitness instructor (Ben Stiller) would make any youngster run for the hills. Kenan plays a supporting role with fellow campers Aaron Schwartz, Allen Covert and Paul Feig.

The Magic of Belle Isle

Kenan Thompson made waves when he starred in the 2012 film The Magic of Belle Isle opposite the seminal Morgan Freeman. Thompson wowed audiences in this dramatic turn as Monte Wildhorn's (Freeman) patient nephew Henry, who takes his alcoholic writer uncle in for the summer. Their chemistry is both heartwarming and enchanting to watch, making this movie feel like a warm hug. 

Going In Style

Kenan Thompson lit up the screen in Going In Style as the grocery store manager who catches Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin shoplifting on his establishment. Although it's a smaller role, Thompson's comedy chops struck Hollywood gold opposite the three legends and the rest is history! Thompson later mentioned that he was offered the role the night before and majorly leaned into his improv skills, which worked in his favor in the end. 

Barbershop 2: Back In Business

It's hard to stand out when you're in a lineup with actress Queen Latifah, rapper Eve and comedy king Cedric the Entertainer. But Kenan Thompson delivered the funny goods in Barbershop 2: Back In Business, as Calvin's (Ice Cube) hilarious cousin and barber Kenard. Thompson, along with an all star cast, is up against urban developers that are trying to replace their family barbershop with name-brand chains. This movie covers current events, politics, relationships and love, but above all, family. 

They Came Together

Yes, Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd are adorable in the satirical rom com They Came Together, about a candy store owner and corporate shark falling head over heels for one another. But when Kenan Thompson, as Rudd's best friend Teddy, dresses up as a life-sized teddy bear, he steals the entire cute department for us. 

Snakes on a Plane

While most think of Samuel L. Jackson in the action-packed Snakes on a Plane, we also have a special soft spot for Kenan Thompson's Troy, the bodyguard. When he wasn't trying to protect Clarence (Flex Anderson) from snakes in the cockpit, he was saving the day, literally. In the final climax of the movie, and with little flying experience, Troy takes over piloting and makes an emergency landing on the terminal, rescuing all the survivors. We stan new pilot Troy!

Kenan and Kel

Orange soda owes a lot to comedians Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. The two All That alums graduated into their very own sitcom series —aptly titled Kenan & Kel—in 1996, that followed the two teens around Chicago and their misadventures together. When they weren't trying to devise a get-rich-quick scheme or avoid trouble with elders, the real heart of the show was their real-life friendship. Guest stars included basketball player Ron Harper and Britney Spears.

Watch the 2022 People's Choice Awards Tuesday, Dec. 6 on E! and NBC.