Kel Mitchell shares journey from burgers, orange soda to ‘Prank Day,’ ‘Blessed Mode’

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Kel Mitchell (Part 1)

He made us laugh on Nickelodeon’s “All That,” “Kenan & Kel” and “Good Burger,” and on Tuesday, Kel Mitchell publishes his new illustrated children’s novel “Prank Day.”

“It is a fantasy fiction novel for kids,” Mitchell told WTOP. “It’s about a kid named Chase. On April Fools’ Day he does a bunch of pranks, but here’s the catch: the next day all the pranks come true! So now there’s clowns coming out the toilet, spiders flying around, a refrigerator running through his neighborhood. … It teaches kids about being themselves.”

It’s Mitchell’s latest book after “Blessed Mode: 90 Days to Level Up Your Faith,” as well as “Bedtime Bible Stories” for, including a reading of “The Sermon on the Mount.” It all ties into his role as youth pastor at Spirit Food Christian Center in Winnetka, California.

“I really wanted to put out a book to let people know they’re beautifully and wonderfully made by God,” Mitchell said. “I start you off with a Bible verse, then a short story about my life, how that verse connects, then I have them apply it to their life. I might have them forgive someone.” He says, “It works on your spiritual, mental and physical health.”

Born in Chicago in 1978, Mitchell was a “rambunctious kid” before discovering acting and modeling for Cap’n Crunch. He became a household name when he auditioned for Nickelodeon’s sketch-comedy show “All That” (1994-2000), creating a number of iconic characters from Coach Kreeton to Repairman-Man-Man-Man to Good Burger cashier Ed.

“Nothing like that had ever been on television … kids doing an ‘In Living Color’ and ‘SNL’ type of show,” Mitchell said. “Repairman was a wild guy! I love them all for different reasons because they all have a special place in my heart, but Coach Kreeton is just nuts. He was based on one of my coaches in Chicago who was mean about everything!”

Mitchell and co-star Kenan Thompson had such great chemistry that they got their own spinoff “Keenan and Kel” (1996-2000). “They would see Kenan and I on-set and off-set and said, ‘Yo, this needs to be a show,'” Mitchell said. “To this day, I can be at a five-star restaurant with my wife or a drive-thru and people will still go, ‘Who loves orange soda?'”

The pair even hit the big screen in “Good Burger” (1997). “Driving down Sunset Boulevard, seeing this huge billboard cutout of Kenan and I surfing on a pickle was a super big memory,” Mitchell said. “The big dancing scene in Demented Hills with George Clinton’s Parliament, Strawberry Jacuzzi, all that stuff. … Introducing it to my kids is awesome.”

He stays in touch with Thompson, who hosts the Emmy Awards next week after his success on “Saturday Night Live.” “We talk all the time, I was gonna be there when he got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but I was in Canada shooting a Christmas movie.”

We ended our conversation with the most important question of all: Could Kel stop Kenan’s iconic “knuckle-puck” hockey shot from “The Mighty Ducks 2?”

“I know him very well,” Mitchell said. “I think I could stop him. I know the tricks!”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Kel Mitchell (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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