Apr 12, 2019
By Nicole Bitette
The popular Nickelodeon sketch comedy series celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, just before a reboot of the series kicks off later this year.
Ready yet? Get set. It’s All That. “The show is All of That and yes we do it all time”— or did it all the time, beginning 25 years ago this week.
All That, a comedy series for kids that aired on Nickelodeon in the ‘90s and early 2000s, introduced an entire generation kids to sketch comedy. It was a Saturday Night Live for the pre-teen set, and gave a start to celebrities like Kenan Thompson, who has been a cast member of SNL for 13 years, and Amanda Bynes, who had her own All That spin-off, called The Amanda Show.
The show was a destination for hip hop and R&B performers, with appearances from Aaliyah, Coolio, Brandy, Usher, Run-DMC., Faith Evans, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, OutKast, P. Diddy, and Blackstreet. Its catchy theme song was even created by the iconic girl group TLC, with a lengthy rap solo by the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez.
Best yet? It’s returning to TV later this year thanks to now-Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins, who was co-creator of the original show.
“We think there’s a great opportunity to find the next pool of stars,” Robbins said to Variety in February. "We want to bring the show back in a real fun way. This summer, we are going to bring back a lot of the original cast and the cast through the years, and let them introduce the new cast of ‘All That’ to the world.” He also said that the show would feature some of the old well-known sketches—think Good Burger, The Spice Boys, Earboy, Loud Librarian, Vital Information, Superdude and more—as well as new skits.
Robbins, who has maintained a relationship with Thompson throughout the years, brought the funnyman on as an executive producer on the new series.
“It means everything to me,” Thompson told Variety of the original series. “It was my first job that I ever had. It gave me an opportunity.”
While Thompson isn’t leaving SNL for the gig, he did say he would be as involved as possible considering his busy schedule during the season.
“I think it should be a staple show for Nickelodeon,” he said.
Here’s a look at the other famous faces who got their start on All That, which aired from 1994-2005.
Kenan Thompson got his start on All That at the show’s inception in 1994 and remained on until 1999, with guest roles in the 2000s. He jumped from All That right into a spin-off series with co-star Kel Mitchell, called Kenan & Kel, which aired between 1996-2000. The Nick series also led to the popular 1997 film, Good Burger. Thompson joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2003 and is still a cast member, making him the longest-tenured cast member in the show’s history, slightly behind Darrell Hammond, who was on the show for 14 seasons. Thompson is returning as executive producer on the new All That and also has a voice role in the upcoming Paramount Pictures film Wonder Park. It was also announced in February that Thompson will serve as a judge on the comedy competition series Bring The Funny on NBC, which is set to premiere this summer.
“Who loves orange soda? Kel loves orange soda.” Kel Mitchell was Kenan Thompson’s right-hand man on All That—ultimately leading them to get their own series. Thompson reportedly got hired after his SNL audition ahead of the 2003 season, while Mitchell was turned down after his audition. In 2015, Mitchell and Thompson went on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon where they reprised their roles in Good Burger for a sketch that’s since been viewed more than 21 million times on YouTube. Most recently, Mitchell has starred on the Nick series Game Shakers as rap star, Double G.
Amanda Bynes was scouted by Nickelodeon while attending the comedy camp for kids, Los Angeles Laugh Factory, where she was then poached to star on All That for seasons three through six. After a number of popular skits on the show, she was offered her own sketch comedy series, The Amanda Show, which aired from 1999 to 2002. Between the two series, she also was a regular on the Nick game show, Figure It Out. She also starred on the WB sitcom What I Like About You from 2002 to 2006 alongside Jennie Garth. Bynes went on to have a movie career after her time on Nick, including hit films like Big Fat Liar, What A Girl Wants, She’s The Man and Easy A.
Nick Cannon, now a popular television host, got his start on All That in 1998. He then appeared on Thompson and Mitchell’s spin-off, Kenan & Kel, before creating the series Wild N’ Out, which he served as host, director and executive producer on from 2005 to 2007 until the show was brought back in 2013. It’s now a success on both linear and YouTube with a channel that has nearly 4.5 million subscribers. Cannon also hosts the TeenNick Top 10 and hosted one season of the new Lip Sync Battle spin-off, Lip Sync Battle Shorties for kids on Nick. One of his biggest hosting gigs is on America’s Got Talent.
Jamie Lynn Spears
Jamie Lynn Spears joined the cast of All That for its eighth season after there was a two year hiatus of the show. Her casting followed her acting debut in the Paramount Pictures film Crossroads, where she played a younger version of her sister, Britney Spears. She starred in her own Nick series called Zoey 101, which aired from 2005 to 2008 before the actress announced she was pregnant at age 16. In 2018, Spears made a guest appearance on Double Dare against fellow All That alum, Josh Server.
Comedian Gabriel Iglesias appeared in the sixth season of All That in 2000. Shortly after, he had his first 30-minute Comedy Central Presents stand-up special in 2003. He went on to compete in the reality comedic competition series, Last Comic Standing, in 2006, but was disqualified for using a Blackberry to communicate with family and friends. In 2011, Comedy Central debuted Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution, which was a stand-up showcase series that ran for three seasons. In addition to his stand-up specials—notably I’m Not Fat… I’m Fluffy—Iglesias appeared on an episode of Lip Sync Battle in 2016 and on the new Double Dare in 2018.
While not a cast member on the series, comedian Neal Brennan was a writer for the show from 1996 to 1997 before moving on as a writer for Kenan & Kel. He later made a name for himself as a co-writer on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show with Dave Chappelle. The pair also wrote the 1998 stoner comedy, Half Baked. Brennan has also written for a number of other comedians and for series like the MTV dating show, Singled Out in 1995, as well as toured doing his own stand-up.
Taran Killam also served as a writer and made several appearances on All That and later on The Amanda Show as Spaulding on the soap opera parody Moody’s Point. Killam remained a part of the Viacom family by joining Wild N’ Out for 29 episodes right after working as a writer and actor in MTV’s Nick Cannon Presents: Short Circuitz. Ultimately, he followed in Thompson’s footsteps and found a home on Saturday Night Live for six seasons before departing in 2016.